The post-Lincoln Center era for the New York City Opera hasn't been easy, and while it's not OC's style of raising funds, she's not judgmental about their latest fundraising experiment on Kickstarter, nor is she critical of the cash-flush high-rollers who've turned to crowd-funding (Zach Braff got $3 million, Veronica Mars got $5 million, etc.) Don't hate the player, hate the idiots who line their wallets.
So when NYC's volkstheater sent around a PR blast yesterday announcing its latest fundraising project -- a kickstarter campaign asking for a $1 million donation* from its adoring (and not-so-adoring) public -- we weighted means vs. ends.
The arts & culture funding landscape has drastically changed over the past decade and we support NYCO's fearless dive into the murky, crowd-funding waters, which could very well become part of future fundraising strategies for opera/symphony organizations. Only time will tell. But unless we've missed something in print or post, NYCO's initiative was announced in a bare-bones email blast with anemic, folded-in Steel quotes -- no heartfelt, personally-penned appeal letter that could have been splashed across a full-page NY Times ad (estimated at $55k - $100k [5.5% to 10% of the final $1 million goal], a fraction of the salaries amassed by Steel & Co. or of its advertising campaign budget like the NYC MTA package). New etiquette for a new fundraising model? We wouldn't be offended if you called us old fashioned.
Still, even for NYCO detractors, in a world where Kickstarter can help raise $1 million to fund a sweatshirt (a sweatshirt!?), its a compelling reason to help them match their goal.
*NYCO needs $20 million total by the end of the year: $7 million by the end of September to ensure the 2013-14 season of four operas and $13 million by the end of the year to ensure future seasons.