Fundraising for Dummies


I just got the book out of the library. One of my heroes is Andrew Carnegie who gave birth to the public library. That’s always been my greatest aspiration to be really really rich and an incredible philanthropist. I got the book out to get ideas for raising more money for Fed Artist (in addition to 10% of my income).

One of the chapters in my book, Art Rules, is called “How a 5 Year Old Saved My Career”. Working freelance can feel daunting, precarious. Unlike in a 9-5 job, it is super easy to be fired from a job. Not be asked back. I had this really fun job last year. I was working a lot, traveling and being paid very well. However, one day I was in a foul mood and I didn’t want to sabotage my efforts. I had to get back to being enthusiastic and creative and quick. I saw two adorable little girls looking at my camera and waved them over.

I gave them a crash course on camera operating. How to work the zoom, the focus etc. And their enthusiasm was instantaneous and infectious. My lesson: in order for me to hold on to my success, I have to “give back” in a way that has meaning for me.

What I do:

– On every film set, if someone brings a young girl, I will give her a tech on my camera and allow her to touch the camera. The younger the better. Before they encounter people who say “girls don’t like technical jobs”. (I get giddy at Home Depot).

– I started Fed Artist. A way to support up & coming freelance artists. I just had this great idea yesterday. Raise enough money to refurbish the art/musical supplies in all NYC public schools. How great would that be?

I’ve volunteered for Free Arts. Incredible organization! And I got a bunch of other friends to do the same. Its a great way to volunteer if you don’t have a predictable schedule.

– I speak at the Ghetto Film School and on any other film panel I am asked to attend. I think just being accessible and telling younger artists your life story is invaluable.

Be creative on how you give back. Find a situation that matters to you and then support the solution in a way that works for you.

Feel free to email me if you’d like to brainstorm on how to fit charity into your life :


~ by Cybel Martin on March 4, 2007.

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