Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 8: The Neon Man (Slash Coleman & PBS): Fundraising Tips

I had a long conversation with Jane Crouse today. She's a storyteller, a librarian, and a full-time student of fundraising (from what I can gather, she's enrolled in fundraising classes at Life University which I think is where most of us take classes to learn about things we feel we missed in regular school) and she passed a long a wealth of information to me.

First, in selling the 3 underwriting spots, I decided to target drug companies that deal with depression drugs, and also funeral and bereavement associations. As a librarian I figured she would have access to lists and databases that I wouldn't. Sure enough, she confirmed that hunch. She said she would start with the PDR (The Physicians Desk Reference) and once she located the correct drugs, she'd go on to find the companies. I could then pass this along to Elli who's going to be making the sales calls.

Although I put an ad out on Craigslist the other day for temporary Salespeople, I'm still on the fence about hiring more people. Part of me feels like I need a team, but Elli wanted to see how hard it would be first before I called in others. The Feb 19 deadline for the sales makes me kind of nervous, so I'm just going to trust my intuition on it.

She had a lot to say in terms of my ongoing dilemma of what to put in my "Gross Impression Gift Mailings." Jane said the most important thing she learned in fund raising is how important a personal connection is. She suggested I have my friend's son draw a picture for the package, that I include his photo and that I have my friend's girlfriend write a letter for it. But to tell you the truth it makes me really nervous. I've already stop sending checks to her from every show because I feel they remind her again and again of Mark's death. Mark's mom even suggested I stop sending the money and so now, I'm saving it all and maybe when he's older I can give him the money.

Jane also said I should send cookies. But I know how weird people are about food these days. She googled delivery cookies for me and guess what? Mrs. Fields will make cookies with a company logo with them. The price wasn't bad - $200 for 100 - which would allow me to send 2 to each of the top 50 PBS stations in the country.

For more info about "The Neon Man and Me" and other storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman - please visit

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