As promised in Tuesday’s post, I’m writing over the next 10 days about Michelle Otero’s ArtSpark campaign for her memoir, Vessels, that wrapped with last Friday’s Chocolate Fiesta.

During an “exit interview” of sorts, Michelle and I talked in depth last week about what worked and didn’t work for her ArtSpark campaign, as well as suggestions for changes.

This is what fell into the what worked category:

  1. Launching a blog and blogging regularly (Michelle chose to blog on Tuesdays which, according to research, is the best day of the week to blog).
  2. Clearly defined goals. Michelle set out to accomplish two goals during her ArtSpark campaign: finish a draft of Vessels and attend a writers conference in Washington D.C. That’s it.
  3. A “hard stop” deadline. Michelle gave herself two months to accomplish her goals and that time frame was “just about right.”
  4. Different opportunities to give. Michelle’s supporters could contribute cash (they did). They could contribute other things like a writing studio, a plane ticket to the conference, complimentary coaching, and hosting and bringing chocolate goodies to her celebratory Chocolate Fiesta (they did). Her supporters could also support Michelle’s by practicing “devotions” to her creative process (they did).
  5. The emotional and creative “devotions” that people committed to her creativity were more important than money to Michelle. They also set into motion a ripple effect of creative exchange and inspiration.
  6. The campaign was manageable. For Michelle that meant that the campaign helped her focus on her creative work instead of detracting from it. Not too many asks. Lots of support on a variety of levels. All good.
  7. Engaging her community in different ways (Michelle sent out daily sentences from her memoir to her supporters and did lots of Facebook updates) kept her going when the going got tough.
  8. It was primarily a local campaign, although social media created a larger community of support.
  9. Her blog subscribers and Facebook friends increased during the campaign.

I would add a few other campaign success ingredients:

  • Michelle did an amazing job of personalizing and thinking creatively about her campaign, feeding it along the way and sticking with it to the end. Activities like the devotions and daily sentences were “so Michelle” as a friend/supporter of hers quipped at the Chocolate Fiesta.
  • Opening to receiving was an important shift, and I could see the delight in Michelle as she was celebrated last Friday without having to host and cater her own party.
  • An already-established presence on Facebook, with friends who post comments and “likes.”
  • The combination of online and face-to-face support (including celebration!) was powerful, synergistic, and inspired other ArtSpark and non-ArtSpark artists.

ArtSpark’s learning so much from collaborating with our inaugural group of artists and arts organizations. For this I am so grateful to all of you. It’s our goal that together we discover a set of practices that spell success for artists and arts organizations wanting to sustain their creative work by engaging their audiences and supporters with both online and in-person strategies. And we’re getting there!

Up next Tuesday, March 8th: what didn’t work during Michelle’s ArtSpark campaign…