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Edmonton Poetry Festival, Grounded and Moving Forward

Updated: Apr 1, 2021

Photo of Rayanne Doucet - credit to Randall Edwards

It’s been one year since I completed the Rozsa Foundation Executive Arts Management program and presented my Action Learning Project - An Integrated Donor Relations plan that looked at how the festival could best optimize the integration of our outreach programming. EPF’s innovative outreach programs were initiated to broaden our reach and ensure accessibility while developing the next generation of poets. A year-round school program, a one day student symposium and a poetry competition that puts poems by the public on city transit are the three outreach programs run by The Edmonton Poetry Festival Society.

The integrated donor relations plan was chosen for my ALP because the Poetry Festival society already had recognized value in the community, a strong identity and a reputation for presenting exceptional work. What we needed was clear direction and sustainable support.

In the short time since initiating this plan the organization has completely re-branded all outreach programing, has seen an increase in budget by over $30,000.00 and has re-established itself as a major supporter of the development of language and literacy in Edmonton. Equally important, the board of directors has bought into the process and is committed to doing the necessary work.

Some of the things we have achieved together this year are:

  • Received over $30,000 in foundation grants and tripled our private donations

  • Hired a part-time, year round youth program coordinator

  • Hired a fundraising consultant on a one year contract to support the staff and board in our learning

  • Created and adopted fund development policies and procedures

  • Created a comprehensive sponsorship package

  • Reached over 1000 youth through our school programs

  • Re-branded our outreach programming with all new integrated visuals. Our outreach programs are now titled

  • Poetry Moves on Public Transit

  • Poetry Moves in Schools

  • Poetry Moves Youth Symposium

  • The tag-line – "Your Voice Here" has been incorporated into all our materials

Birds on a Wire event at PoFest - photo credit to Rayanne Doucet

The work continues. In March, we were invited to submit a proposal for support from a private foundation. Results of that proposal will be discovered shortly. We continue to pursue corporate partnerships. One June 12th we launch our summer giving appeal.

Personally, taking this program was highly valuable to my work as a festival director. Although I have previous education in arts management, the Rozsa program reinvigorated my appetite to put learning into practice. It is unlikely that my organization would have created this plan had it not been for the program. Like many small festivals, we knew it was something we needed to do but we were overwhelmed by where to start.

Rebranding the outreach programs created clarity of vision and voice. The fund development consultant worked with us to break apart the idea of fund development, and to build the idea of creating a community of giving.

We now sit in a place of grounding and awareness, and are poised to welcome even more cultural supporters into our community.

Thank you,

Rayanne Doucet

Executive Director

The Edmonton Poetry Festival is an annual celebration of poetry and spoken word in Edmonton and Alberta. The festival presents a range of poetic styles and artists: from slam to traditional verse; from internationally recognized poets to local stars.

What will your success story be? Apply for the 2017/2018 Rozsa Arts Management Program before June 19th! Subsidies available, find more information at

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