Arts Alliance Tulsa, Fall 2017

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Arts Alliance Tulsa, Fall 2017

My second internship through Colorado State University was a chance to tap into the field of development through Arts Alliance Tulsa (AAT), Tulsa’s United Arts Fund.  Now serving as Administrative Director for the Tulsa Youth Symphony (TYS), I saw this learning opportunity as a way of expanding my knowledge of development for my newly appointed job.

Major tasks included a substantial amount of research for the assistance of AAT’s operations.  Some of many projects I researched were foundations who fund the 40 Alliance Members, initiatives that help contribute to the thriving communities of other United Arts Funds nationwide and comparing similar fundraisers for AAT’s future fundraising efforts.  In addition to research for their operations, I had the privilege of working with my host who assisted me for TYS’ operations such as: write a grant for TYS on the grounds of general operative support, construct a five-year plan and develop a stronger understanding of donor relations from the text T-rexes vs kangaroos: And other stories: Improving your fundraising and donor relations by Lynne M. Wester (2015). 
 
I mentioned it when interning with the International Society of Bassists, and the same rings true for AAT, research is paramount even in the development track.  To investigate what other organizations do when it comes to initiatives, general practices, fundraising efforts, and donor relations can be very beneficial when fundraising, planning, and implementing a new course of action for an arts organization.  In the case of TYS, that is what got me the job, I am the kangaroo who is bouncing around with loads of energy to jumpstart my organization working alongside a t-rex who has a great deal of experience but has admitted his “old-school” way of operating.  The research methods I had implemented in AAT transferred to my own operations at TYS.  It has allowed me to observe what other youth symphonies across America are doing by way of alumni & parent engagement and fundraising efforts.  In addition, with the many hours of searching for foundations on Guidestar, I have a better sense of the foundations that sponsor the arts in my community which can be impactful for my organization. 
 
What this internship turned out to be was an outlet to focus my attention to the development side of arts administration.  The skills and knowledge I have acquired is incredibly handy for the growth and prosperity of TYS.  While I know some of the research I find may or may not be a fit for my organization (i.e. prospective donors, alumni engagement efforts, and potential fundraisers), I am not afraid to present it to my colleagues and Board to shape TYS to its grandest capabilities.  I’m proud to say, this experience was a great learning opportunity for me to take on the arts and cultural Tulsa scene and beyond.

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