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Notes from the Reel World: The Board President's Column, Fall 2013

By Marjan Safinia

Dear IDA Community,

Fundraising. It's one of the hardest things about being a nonprofit, but there are no two ways about it: It must be done. The more advocacy we want to take on as an organization; the more programs we want to offer that educate, connect, support and fund filmmakers; the more geography we hope to cover—the more funds we have to raise. And since we have big growth plans here at IDA, we know we have to get better at reaching out to you, our community, to ask for your support.

We know that successful philanthropy relies on relationships. As the only documentary-specific arts nonprofit still prospering after 30 years, we certainly have those. But, like all longstanding relationships, we acknowledge that we may have forgotten to tell you often enough that you are at the center of all we do. And admittedly, we should be checking in with you, our strongest supporters, more often to let you know about exciting changes at IDA and how we're evolving. We're working on that, and we know we have room for improvement. Rest assured, we're ready to do what it takes to grow with the community's needs for another 30 years and more.

Those of you who are longtime IDA members will remember the days of "short ends,"where your IDA membership got you discounts on camera rentals and the like. We still have a few of those incentives, but the true reason to support IDA is because you too believe that documentaries foster a more informed, compassionate and connected world. You want to help build a thriving documentary culture. You find your own experience of the world richer when documentaries allow you to see that world reflected through other people's eyes, reminding you that we are all more alike than different.

You also recognize that the media landscape has dramatically shifted over the last 10 years. In a 140-character, Kardashian-obsessed media climate, documentaries often become a legitimate replacement for investigative journalism. Through these films—made over the course of many years, in dangerous and forgotten places alike, without concern for the sensational—we can clearly see the denouement of the geopolitical power games we play.

If it is important to you that filmmakers feel empowered to keep making these films, if you admire their resolve to forsake fortune in search of truth, and if you value thechange they make in the world, then you know they need champions.

We believe these same things. With your help, IDA can reach more people in more places with more of the resources they need to keep making great work. I hope you will consider supporting IDA with a donation, and by including us in your regular philanthropic giving. After all, in a world where public discourse can seem petty and small, documentary filmmakers are giants. 

With gratitude,

Marjan Safinia
IDA Board President