Edmonton Choir Fundraising Innovation
Over the past year, every Canadian sector has been impacted by the pandemic, from tourism to transportation. No one is immune from the drastic changes that have disrupted the way we live our lives, the way we shop and the way we connect with each other. The performing arts are no exception, especially when there’s no audience to bring an invaluable life blood for any performance: ticket sales.
Based in Edmonton, Alberta, A Joyful Noise has 3 unique choirs allowing members to select the style and size of choir that suits them. Founded in 2004 the choir organization typically has close to 200 members each year. This year, due to the pandemic, membership sits at about 120 members.
The Canadian choir community, like any of the performing arts, has collectively taken a huge hit to the soul. Many choirs suspended operations until the pandemic has ended.
‘The biggest benefit of belonging to a choir is the joy from people singing together in person, in a community’, says Eva Bostrand, Choir director and Founder. To maintain community at a time when the pandemic was forcing people to isolate, A Joyful Noise resolved to continue operating – or go down fighting.
‘For financial stability we rely on ticket sales and registration fees to help match government grants. Covid jeopardized all of these, said Eva. ‘Add in health restrictions that prevented us from rehearsing in-person, and the morale of our choir members instantly went down’.
With Covid disrupting many industries and more people shopping online, Choir director Eva rolled up her sleeves and got to work with her volunteer board. They recognized that the choir would need to quickly pivot and look at ways to go online for both rehearsals and performance. Singing online was not easy at first’ said Eva. We had to invest in new technology to help hear voices as a collective as we all sang from our homes. Once our system was in place and we were able to connect again, the joy returned. And with so many choir members cooped up at home with little social time, we quickly found that rehearsals often turned into social visits, something really missing in everyone’s lives.
The ongoing challenge for A Joyful Noise in 2020 was how to replenish their dwindling operating funds. With no performances booked, the board brainstormed ways to fundraise online. They came up with the idea of organizing fundraising campaigns through a webpage on the choir organization’s website. They nicknamed the portal the Joyful cornerstore and designed the page to make it easy for members and supporters to participate in the fundraising activities. The first campaign launched in December 2020 under a Christmas theme offering chocolates, smoked meats, artisan sausages, gourmet coffee beans, and shopping bags. The first campaign was a great success, with a huge participation by choir members, friends, and family. It became clear that not only was this approach an effective way to raise money – it also created awareness in the larger community that A Joyful Noise is still operating successfully, despite the pandemic. Planning the next campaign was easier as the product offerings quickly grew with more donations through friends and family. Currently, the organization has just wrapped up its Easter campaign and is hard at work planning a spring themed fundraiser. ‘We didn’t do this alone,’ said Eva. It was certainly a village effort. Blush Lane Organic Market has been a great support to us facilitating donations from McLean Meats for our Holiday hams and upcoming BBQ season treats,’ said Eva. We’re so blessed to have a community of businesses and people who value the arts and want to help us not only survive but to thrive.