Web-savvy parents have art for raising money

Parents of students at Cobble Hill’s Public School 29 last summer launched an online viral marketing campaign that brought in $40,000 in just a month and rescued the school’s arts programs from the chopping block, reports the New York Daily News. Thanks to a web site, some videos, and the internet’s rapid-fire transmission, donations poured in from as far away as South America and Eastern Europe. Deep cuts to the school’s budget had left almost nothing for arts education. That news disturbed PS 29 parent and freelance web designer Sylvia Wehrle, so she decided to try some of the same marketing and design techniques she’s used for her clients. She and a colleague created a web site (5days4arts.org) and made 3-minute videos featuring kids in the school’s arts programs, as well as interviews with teachers and visiting artists. They posted one a day for the final five days of school, and then blasted parents with eMails, asking them to pass them on. "Somebody could eMail their grandmother in Argentina and get them to watch the videos," Wehrle said. "You can’t get that with a backpack flyer." The site included a simple, eye-catching red button so visitors could donate online from anywhere in the world. It also had one that let visitors easily share the videos through eMail and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. And they did…

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