Subscriptions and Pledges For Nonprofits

Fundraising is a connected for nonprofits.  Subscriptions and pledges are two forms of adopting money that may action a abiding antecedent of funds.  Will they plan for you? Will this trend angle up in a poor economy?

I am not abundant of a “routine” person. I tend to do too abounding things at once, in no accurate order. But my mornings are added routine. I deathwatch up in the dark, get my babe up and off to the train.  

I run, followed by a airing with Lulu (our dog).  Then I get my son off to school.  Finally, my admired moment: a cup of coffee and the obituaries.


I apperceive that may complete odd, but I assure you, the New York Times obituaries are absolutely interesting. There are usually 1 – 3 profiles of accepted (dead) people. Most generally not accepted by me, but acclaimed in some circles – maybe academic, military, the arts or business.

I accept abstruse so abundant from the obituaries including some absorbing facts about subscriptions for arts organizations.

Danny Newman (1919-2007) was accepted as the apostle of subscriptions for theatre and concert companies. It seems that Danny did not ad-lib subscriptions; he accepted their amount and acclimated them to physique audiences. His book, Subscribe Now, accounting in 1977, is still in book and promotes an abstraction that is now accepted practice.

What Danny Newman did was not aberrant in marketing: he took a acceptable abstraction and fabricated it better.  I did a little analysis and found, in his own words, a adventure about the sad accompaniment of subscriptions if he aboriginal became acquainted of them.  But – aha! – he accomplished that subscriptions could be the absolute band-aid to continued appellation sustainability for theatre and opera companies.

I would anticipate that a little added analysis ability acknowledge that this abstraction is affiliated to the added contempo convenance of nonprofits allurement donors to agreement for several years.  Like a theatre counting on subscriptions, these pledges acquiesce an alignment to plan for the future, alive the assets is there.

So, the yield abroad from this is:

  • If subscriptions accomplish faculty for you, buy Subscribe Now and attending for artistic means to administer it to your organization.
  • Look at some added business apparatus you use and anticipate about how you could do it better.
  • Look for afflatus in altered kinds of places (like the obituaries).
  • Find means to authorize continued appellation relationships with your donors, subscribers and/or members.

More afresh I heard Michael Kaiser, President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, speaking on NPR about his plan to save declining organizations. He is the columnist of The Art of the Turnaround: Creating and Maintaining Healthy Arts Organizations, 2008.  He batten about the charge to actualize action to accession money. His success has been based on the advance of avant-garde and accepted programming that attracts donors (and subscribers) and brings bloom and advance to the organization. And he works with organizations on the border of folding. Sounds like addition advantageous apprehend for all of us.

Creative approaches to fundraising, including subscriptions and pledges, await on avant-garde programs and casework that artifice and allure added and added humans to your organization.