Finding the resources you need to attend MasterWorks can be difficult, but we’re here to help. Over the years, MasterWorks students have raised thousands of dollars to offset their tuition costs, making it possible for them to attend MasterWorks.
Step-By-Step: How To Begin
- Apply, audition, and be accepted to the MasterWorks Festival. Raising money without knowing if you’re attending doesn’t do anyone any good!
- Set a goal. Plan to reach the deadline for the greatest tuition discount.
- Check out the following list of suggested fundraising ideas. Choose one or two to really focus on.
- Get a good list of friends, family, church members, etc., that you think might be willing to support your endeavors. These could be people interested in missions, evangelism, Christianity, music, theatre, or people who have watched you mature and grow as a believer and/or performing artist. Be sure to have contact information, such as an address or email address.
- Come up with a timeline and a list of resources you’ll need. Plan when to send out a letter, when to give a presentation, or when to perform a recital.
- Collect check donations made out to The MasterWorks Festival. Mail them to MasterWorks all at once if you can. Or encourage folks to donate online. If people give money for travel expenses, those go directly to you and aren’t tax deductible.
- Keep track of all your donations and promptly send thank you notes.
- Have a GREAT time at MasterWorks!
- Do a follow up. Send a thank you letter with photos, or give a recital and talk about the things you learned at MasterWorks.
10 Ways to Build Your MasterWorks Scholarship Fund
- Give a benefit recital. This is a really popular way to raise money for all sorts of causes and MWF students love to use this method. You’ve worked hard to prepare your audition pieces, now present those pieces as a gift to potential supporters. Between pieces, talk about why you want to attend MasterWorks, and at the end take a free-will offering. You may be able to get a friendly pianist to donate their time to accompany you and your grandma might be willing to bake cookies for a reception. See if your church or local nursing home will let you use the facility for free. Be sure to ask if it’s okay if you take an offering.
- Write letters/emails. Remember that MasterWorks is like missionary training. At MWF you’ll be learning principles that can be applied to being a missionary to performing artists. There is a template you can use later in the document.
- Give a presentation. Talk to your church elders, your parents’ Sunday School class, your congregation, a small group or Bible study.
- Have a yard sale. Offer to take unwanted items off the hands of your friends and relatives. Instead of pricing everything, save time and put up signs saying “Name Your Price: All Proceeds Go Toward My MasterWorks Festival Scholarship Fund.” People are usually generous when you tell them you’re raising money for something, and will often give you more than you could have gotten if you had put prices on things.
- Create a Matching Challenge. Ask a generous relative (like Mom and Dad or Grandpa) to agree to match every dollar you raise. Maybe, after the first $50, mom will match dollar for dollar up to $300. That means up to $600 towards your Scholarship Fund. If Mom and Dad and Grandpa BOTH match dollar for dollar, that could be $900!
- Ask for non-cash support. Maybe you have enough money saved up for MasterWorks, but no way to pay for gas to get there. Ask people to donate gas cards, frequent flier miles, or to consider purchasing new strings, music, or your script. These gifts aren’t tax-deductible, but valuable nonetheless.
- Apply for a summer study grant/scholarship from your school, youth orchestra, music club, community foundation or local philanthropic club (like Kiwanis or Optimists)
- Two-for-One. Partner with your church or other organization that raises money for a good cause. Offer to spearhead a fundraiser for missionaries or a soup kitchen in exchange for a percentage of the proceeds. Maybe 15% goes toward your MasterWorks scholarships and 85% goes to them.
Do The Math
Not convinced these ideas are worth your time? Check out the numbers.
- If you send out 60 solicitation letters, and you have 25% response, averaging $50 (only 15 responses)
60 * 25% * 50 = $750 = 21% of your MasterWorks tuition
- If you raise $700 for a local soup kitchen, in exchange for 15% of the proceeds you would add $105 to your Scholarship Fund.
Sample Solicitation Letter
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Donor,
Hello! I pray that this letter finds you and your family well. I am currently in my [junior year] of school at [Musicville University], where I am studying [mouth harp]. Being in this environment, I have come to realize how important it is to share the gospel with my colleagues and teachers. I have also come to realize that I need some training, mentoring and advice on how to do it well.
This summer I have the opportunity to attend the MasterWorks Festival. MasterWorks is a four week classical performing arts festival that is also a training ground for “marketplace missionaries” like me. Not only will I have the opportunity to study and perform with world class musicians, but I will also be in Bible studies, listen to faculty give testimonies and devotionals, mentored by Christian professional artists and have the opportunity to learn principles in how to minister to the non-Christians around me.
I have attended MasterWorks in previous years, and found it to be a life-altering experience. The encouragement I received during these four weeks is unlike anything I’ve experienced anywhere else. Because of my time at MasterWorks, my walk with the Lord is better than it ever has been. I’ve been inspired to serve those around me, and to share the gospel with my [mouth harp studio]. I hope after this summer to be equipped to start a Bible Study at my school.
I am responsible for finding funds to cover a portion of the cost of my tuition, room, and board for the [four weeks] I will be at MasterWorks. I need to raise [$1000] and I am writing to ask you if you would consider supporting my trip to MasterWorks.
There are a number of ways you can do this. Please consider giving a small, tax-deductible donation toward my MasterWorks Scholarship Fund or offer prayer support for my time preparing for and attending the festival. I can receive support in a variety of ways, and I’ve enclosed a card detailing how to offer support. If you are interested, please fill out the form and return it to me:
1234 Anna Magdalena Dr.
Leipzig, DE 01234]
Thank you so much for considering supporting my training at MasterWorks this summer. If you’d like to know more about MasterWorks, please give me a call or send me an email. I’d love to tell you more about it!
Blessings in Jesus,
Be sure to replace all bracket, italic, bold sections with the correct information! If you haven’t been to MasterWorks before, write a short paragraph on why you’d like to attend.
How to Receive a Donation
You can receive donations as a check, through online giving, in cash, or in gifts like gas cards or new strings or reeds. Here’s the how-to for putting the goods in your MasterWorks Scholarship Fund.
Receiving a Check
- Make the check out to The MasterWorks Festival
- On the memo line write “MWF Scholarship Fund”—PLEASE be sure that the student’s name does not appear on the check or the gift will not be tax-deductible.
- It is easiest for the student and the MasterWorks staff if the student collects all the donations and mails them in at one time, with a note designating which Scholarship Fund to place them in. Send them to the MasterWorks Administrator at:
1855 E. Main Street
Suite 14 #118
- Spartanburg, SC 29307
- Once your donations have been processed, the student will receive an email from the Festival Administrator that they have been credited toward tuition costs.
- Head to https://masterworksfestival.org/about/donate-now/
- Complete the form, and be sure to designate the gift to “MWF Scholarship Fund”
- Take note of the transaction number if given one.
- Email the MasterWorks Festival Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org with the transaction number or date and amount and the name of the student you are supporting. Please also note if you wish to remain anonymous.
- Once the donations have been processed, the student will receive an email from the Festival Administrator that the gifts have been credited toward his or her tuition
There are some types of gifts that are not tax deductible. Here’s what to do about them.
- Gifts from parents or dependent siblings. You, your parents and your dependent siblings (still claimed on your parents’ taxes) cannot donate toward your tuition and receive a tax deduction. This is true even if you no longer live at home. The government considers these situations “payment for services rendered” and there is no deduction for that.
- The government doesn’t allow us to give tax receipts for cash gifts. However, if someone chooses to give you cash, it usually means that they are not concerned about receiving the tax deduction. You may either put it in your bank account and send us a personal check, or (with permission from the donor) use it toward your travel expenses or spending money.
- Non-cash items like gas cards, airplane vouchers, gift certificates, or equipment for your trip. Again, these are not tax deductible, but that doesn’t make them useless! The gifts should be given to you (MasterWorks cannot accept in-kind gifts on behalf of students), and used at your discretion toward your MasterWorks needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What if I raise too much money?
If only we all had this problem! It does happen sometimes, and there are a couple of different options. We will contact the donor directly to decide the best option.
If the overpayment comes because you sent a remainder check to cover the remaining balance, the Administrator will contact you to help you figure out what to do with the extra funds.
- What if I don’t have the time to raise money?
We believe that everyone has time to raise money. Raising money can take as much or as little time as you want. Writing and mailing a solicitation letter should only take a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon.
- I feel uncomfortable asking for money. Shouldn’t I work for it instead of asking for a handout?
Lots of people feel this way. Even professional fundraisers struggle with this sometimes. The simple truth is that there are people out there who enjoy giving money. Generosity is actually considered a spiritual gift. When someone gives money to support a good cause, it’s because he was asked to participate in something he considers important. Think of it as giving people who want to help a way to help.
If you still have a really serious problem with asking for support, there are some things you can try. A donations-only garage sale, or consider mowing lawns, gardening, babysitting, or other odd jobs in return for cash support. Agree to clean house for your mom or professor once a week or to chauffer for your younger siblings. Most of these things you can fit around class schedules, school work, practicing and more traditional jobs.
- I sent out 100 letters and no one has responded. What do I do?
This is a difficult situation, and even the professionals face this from time to time. Try a couple of things. Pick a few names of people you trust to give you an honest opinion, give them a call and tell them you’d like some honest feedback. Was the letter too pushy? Did they not understand what you were asking for? Was MasterWorks not explained clearly? Their answers may help you formulate a new letter and give you the chance to try again.
It may be time to try a tactic change. Consider a different option. It’s possible that your cousin just sent out a similar letter to support her mission trip to Haiti, and you need something different to catch people’s attention.
We’ve frequently found that when we have this type of reaction to a solicitation, God is doing something. It may be that He’s testing how hard you’re willing to work for something, or teaching you patience and trust in His provision. Or, it may be that He has different plans in store for you this summer. Spend some time seeking the Lord and asking Him how you should proceed.
- I didn’t raise enough money. Help!?
This also isn’t an uncommon occurrence. Try a second or third fundraiser. Explain to potential donors how close you are to paying your full tuition, and see what happens.
Your Mother Was Right!
Thank You Notes Are Important
Saying “thank you” is more important than asking for support of any kind. In terms of fundraising, it’s the most important thing you can do. If you want someone’s help again in the future, it’s important to be gracious and thankful now.
A hand written thank you note is best. Computer generated or emailed notes are too impersonal.
Guidelines for writing a thank you note:
- Start off by saying thank you and mention the specific thing you’re thankful for. If you don’t want to mention a specific dollar amount, use the term “generous gift.”
- Share a personal anecdote about how you’ll use the gift – “I’m really looking forward to learning how to start a Bible study” or “Last summer I learned a lot in a MasterClass with Phil Smith. I’m looking forward to working with him again.”
- Say thank you again.
- Sign off with a blessing or meaningful scripture.
If your handwriting is sloppy, slow down—make sure it’s legible, even if it’s still a little messy. Remember, a messy handwritten note will be more meaningful than a neat computer generated one, but an illegible note says you didn’t care enough to take the time to try to be neat.
Remember these notes don’t just go to the people who agreed to give you tuition money. They go to people praying for you, sending you some spending money, writing an encouraging note or giving you a ride to the airport. Consider sending people a thank you if they take the time to say no.
To thank an anonymous donor, contact the Festival Administrator. She’ll make sure your gratitude ends up with the right people.
You are in the middle of the MasterWorks Festival, thoroughly enjoying yourself. Or maybe it’s August and you’ve recently finished the best four weeks of your life at MasterWorks. These are the times to share with people about your experience and how their donations impacted your life. Here are some ways to follow—up.
- Send an email while you’re at the Festival, sharing something you’re learning or a way you’re being challenged.
- Host a recital in your home and perform for supporters the things you studied at MasterWorks.
- Host a small group at your church and share the new ideas you have for a fellowship in your orchestra, music school or theatre company.
- Send another handwritten thank you note, sharing the most impacting moment you had at the Festival. Including a photo of performing or studying would be great, too!
- Create a blog and send your supporters a link. Try to update your blog a few times a week during the Festival. As you carry what you learn into the rest of the year, update your supporters on ways you’re implementing what you learned during the summer.
If you have additional questions or need more resources, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re available to give you suggestions, help you brainstorm, find additional photos or video and make sure that your donations all end up in your scholarship fund.