Funding requests

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    I have been wondering how other people feel about receiving e mail requests for commercial recording projects from other harpists. I received one today from the “Chicago Harp Quartet” asking for me to give them money so that they can record music for a commercial recording. I also remember Elizabeth Hainen asking for us all to give her money for her “important” recording project. Does anyone else find this odd? When I think about all the worthy nonprofit organizations that could benefit from my donation of funds (Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, Global Poverty Initiative, or even groups that promote music education), giving money to harpists who want to make a commercial recording falls very far down on the list. What troubles me even more is that I think the AHS may have released e mail addresses to this group, and sent it out to the entire AHS membership. Why is AHS releasing our names and e mails to people who want to make a commercial recording and use our money to do so? Shouldn’t they release e mails only to other philanthropic organizations (501c3’s)? My response to the e mail was that their decision to make a commercial recording should be made based on whether they can fund the project through sales of CD’s and MP3’s and donations of friends and personal colleagues, not asking the entire AHS membership to give them money. They are not a philanthropic organization. They are a commercial group looking to make a recording. Is this work really “important”? I remember another harpist posting on here that she wanted crowd funding to help her buy a pedal harp and she got lambasted from other harpists. Is this really any different? Shouldn’t we be giving our money to other nonprofit organizations that can make life better for other people, whether that be through poverty relief or educational groups? Please share your thoughts.


    Hi Brian: I do have some thoughts, so I will share them! I guess everyone reacts to these types of appeals differently. “Crowd-funding” does seem to be the current trend, and I actually love the idea. In the last year I’ve funded several projects, including the two you mentioned (Elizabeth Hainen and the Chicago Harp Quartet). I’ve also helped @[[elizabeth-morgan-ellis:User:Elizabeth Morgan-Ellis]]’ upcoming commissioning project, plus a few other projects by people I don’t even know very well but their pleas spoke to me in some way. I did my own project last year raising funds to help my student group travel to France, and I’m considering another student-related project in the coming year. Usually I give a token amount, and the idea is if everyone does the same the project will be funded.

    As an artist myself trying to make a living, I realize all too well that arts funding isn’t what it used to be. And the old models of recording don’t apply any more. This seems to be a great way of letting people choose what projects they want to support. In the case of the recording projects, “backers” are often given a copy of the recording after it’s finished, so I view it like you’re paying in advance. I’m actually really excited about the two projects you mentioned because they both contain works that I’m very much looking forward to hearing (a new Andres commission from Chicago Harp Quartet, and Caplet’s “Mask of the Red Death” by Elizabeth Hainen) and as I harpist I think they will be important contributions. I am happy to support my colleagues in this way.

    Regarding the AHS mailing list, it’s my understanding that you have to choose to have your email made public. As a former AHS Board member I know that this policy was implemented a few years ago, so if you feel your email is being released without your consent you should absolutely contact them and have it taken care of.

    But getting back to the topic, I guess personally it doesn’t bother me when I receive an appeal like this, because I can choose to support it or hit delete. Certainly there are many charitable organizations that deserve our consideration, like the ones you mentioned (some of which I’ve also supported), but that doesn’t mean the arts don’t deserve our support too, and I think crowd-funding is a very easy way to do that for the projects that speak to you.

    So, that’s my two cents—I would love to hear other replies!



    If you feel like donating do, if you don’t then you don’t need to. I find it odd that people feel such a sense of moral outrage over any crowd funding request. It’s some of the least in your face fundraising that I’ve seen. Several crowd funding sources also protect the donator by putting limits on how long the person can fund raise for and then that money is returned. It also gives a way for people to fund raise who might not be able to in other ways. I had a friend who crowd funded therapy for her son. There’s a pretty long story behind it but it came to a point where it was the only option she felt she had.

    That being said, prioritizing where your money goes is a very personal thing. Some people are able to fund medical missions to who knows where and give generously to the arts. New commissions have always cost a great deal of money and there has always been a certain amount of fundraising.

    I’m not a big fan of Organizations selling my contact info. Usually you can opt out of sharing though I usually like the mailings about conferences and specialized retailers.


    I’d opt for Amnesty International or Doctors Without Borders.

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