Looking for Funding From the Entertainment Industry? Here Are Seven Things to Know

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Looking for Funding From the Entertainment Industry? Here Are Seven Things to Know 

Over the past year, Inside Philanthropy has drilled deep into entertainment industry giving. We’ve created profiles of over 85 top donors from both entertainment and media, and written scores of articles exploring what these folks are up to. Here are a few things we’ve learned. 

Everyone knows that the entertainment industry is rolling in money. We hear all the time about how this or that star got paid a bundle for a movie or made a killing from their latest concert tour. And we’re aware that Hollywood has minted several billionaire moguls like Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Haim Saban. We also know that many Left Coast entertainment types have a heart, with a long history of embracing a wide variety of causes.

What’s less clear is how nonprofit fundraisers can access entertainment philanthropists and walk away with checks in hand. Many a prospecting trip to Los Angeles has ended in disappointment. You sit in traffic jams and come home with nothing. Which is why lots of fundraisers just skip this town altogether, focusing their California forays on the Bay Area. 

The good news, though, is that as more entertainment industry leaders establish foundations, there are more potential points of contact and a stronger grantmaking paper trail. Some of the newer foundations even have transparent processes for submitting letters of inquiry, along with deadlines. More commonly, though, these foundations don’t have websites, and fundraisers need to get creative, figuring out who’s staffing a small giving operation and trying to connect with that person. Social media can be super-helpful in this regard. Look at the paid staff listed in a foundation’s 990 and then track them down on LinkedIn or other social media....

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