ATA is always looking for ways to grow our support for Andean textile communities. Over the years, we have been successful at raising funds through textile tours and direct donations. But with plans to expand our programs from Peru to Bolivia and Ecuador, we need to grow donations. Online “crowdfunding” sites and social media offer nonprofits a powerful new tool in the quest to expand their fundraising and their impact. Many nonprofits begin their end-of-year fundraising on Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping promotions). So, in November 2018, we launched a Giving Tuesday campaign to raise money for the Young Weavers Groups program and to learn more about online fundraising.
We set up a fundraising page called Education for Young Andean Weavers on the nonprofit crowdfunding website MightyCause (formerly called Razoo), with a goal of raising $5,000 for the Young Weavers program, and asked some of our board members to donate matching funds for the campaign. Then we promoted the campaign twice weekly through our Andean Textile Arts Facebook page. By the end of December, we had raised $4,575 for the Young Weavers program—not quite our goal amount, but the campaign helped Andean Textile Arts achieve our highest annual fundraising level ever through social media, and it brought in some new people to our donor community.
We learned a lot from last year’s Giving Tuesday fundraising, so we’re already planning this year’s campaign. We’ll take donations directly on our new website, enabling even more of the funds to go directly to the Andean weaving communities. We’ll start communicating earlier, in our October and November newsletters and on social media, so new donors can include us in their holiday giving plans. We’ll have more matching funds and, we hope, some nice donor gifts lined up to give people an extra reason to support ATA programs. We’ll also be asking for your help in getting the word out:
- The words of our donors and volunteers send a strong message. If you’d be willing to write a few words about why you support ATA, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Once we announce this year’s campaign on our Facebook page, please share the news and occasional updates on your own social media.
- If you wanted to, you could even make a donation and then invite friends on social media to join you in supporting the program.
Whether you’ve visited with Andean weavers in person, attended a class or event in the US, or just follow ATA on social media, you know what an impact donors can have. With your help, we can make an even bigger difference in the coming year!
Anita Osterhaug is former editor of Handwoven magazine and the Vice President of Andean Textile Arts. She is a writer and journalist who has been devoted to textiles since her first embroidery project at age eight, though her writing skills have also taken her into the high-tech world. She studied history and anthropology at Reed College, and participated in the 2013 Tinkuy international weaving conference in Cusco.