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Our poetry marathon is a community fundraiser and we’re asking you, as a reader, for your help! The $50 pledge minimum is not meant as an entry fee that you pay, but rather as a fundraising goal to be met by asking friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and others to contribute. By asking others to donate, you not only help raise funds for Woodland Pattern but also awareness of the literary arts and their value.

If you’re wondering how can you possibly raise $50, the following techniques have been proven effective...

Technique #1 Tell prospective sponsors about the worthy causes: You and Woodland Pattern. As a writer, you deserve support. You need an audience and a community. Here are some Woodland Pattern facts, which may be of interest to your sponsors-to-be:

  • Woodland Pattern is a nonprofit—all donations are fully tax-deductible and support our programming throughout the year ahead!
  • Woodland Pattern presents 350+ programs each year—including poetry readings and spoken word performances, concerts, films, art exhibitions, writing and reading groups, workshops with visiting and local writers and artists, year-round after-school classes at partner schools, and two summer writing camps for children and youth. 
  • In 2021, these programs supported the careers of 648 poets and artists via honoraria, instructor fees, and performance and exhibition opportunities. By means of our programs and by carrying titles by local authors in our book center, we supported thousands more.
  • Since the pandemic, participation in Woodland Pattern activities has increased by 30%! There has never been greater demand for our programs and the resources we provide.
  • Over a third of our programs serve children and youth, 96% of which are economically disadvantaged. Our year-round inter-arts writing classes help improve self-confidence, promote higher levels of literacy, and increase graduation rates.
  • Approximately 50% of our adult programs involve artists 55+ in age. Reading, writing, and the arts have proven mental, social, physical, and emotional benefits for older people.
  • Many of our community groups and reading series specifically address the needs of groups who have been historically marginalized or underserved, such as veterans, seniors, Native Americans, people of color, and those who identify as LGBTQ+.
  • As a non-commercial book center, Woodland Pattern is able to support independent publishers, book artists, local writers, and self-published authors in ways that are not possible for a commercial bookseller. Nonprofit literary distribution opens the gates for new poetries and literatures to emerge.

Technique #2 Ask family members and friends for a few dollars each. Ask 10 friends for $5 each, or 5 friends for $10, or… well you get the idea. The holidays often put family and friends in the giving spirit!
Technique #3 Ask co-workers or your company. Invite your co-workers to tune in for your performance and ask them to consider contributing a few bucks on your behalf, and/or directly solicit larger contributions to sponsor your reading at Woodland Pattern. Many companies also participate in charitable giving or matching donation programs—maybe yours does?

Technique #4 Get creative. One of our longtime participants has taken word or subject matter requests that she then incorporates into a poem in exchange for pledges. (This approach is also likely to win you a big audience!)

Technique #5 Raise funds online. Make use of social media either as a platform to simply ask a wider range of friends, or to set up a fundraising campaign. Woodland Pattern can accept donations directly through Facebook, and setting up a campaign is easy.

Technique #6 If you’ve participated in the marathon before, ask past sponsors. If they supported you in the past, chances are they will support you now.

Of course, this list is not exhaustive and there are as many fundraising strategies as there are individual readers. THANK YOU!! We truly couldn’t do it without your support, and can’t wait to see you at the marathon.

We acknowledge that in Milwaukee we live and work on traditional Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk, and Menominee homelands along the southwest shores of Michigami, part of North America’s largest system of freshwater lakes, where the Milwaukee, Menominee, and Kinnickinnic rivers meet and the people of Wisconsin’s sovereign Anishinaabe, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Oneida, and Mohican nations remain present. 

We further acknowledge the grave evil colonialism introduced to these lands ​through genocide as well as slavery, and also via racist and xenophobic ​beliefs, laws​, and practices that continue to inflict harm upon Black, brown, and Indigenous lives. We honor those who have lived—and do live, now—at these intersections of identity and experience, and are committed to the active dismantling of white supremacy.

Read our statement on racial justice

720 E. Locust Street
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Phone: 414 263 5001

Hours: Tues–Sun | 12-7 pm

Closed Mon

Building Accessibility: Despite the age of our physical location, and attendant limitations to access, Woodland Pattern is committed to making its programs and facilities available for as many as possible. Please call for more information.

Events Accessibility: Woodland Pattern is able to offer captioning services for its online events and with advanced notice can provide ASL interpretation for live events. Please contact us with accommodation requests and questions.

© Woodland Pattern 2024