(BELMAR, NJ) -- One week after #GivingTuesday, New Jersey Stage chose the winners of its annual social media contest. Axelrod Performing Arts Center, North Jersey Blues Society, and Music Mountain Theatre were randomly chosen as the winners. All three have won a free month of advertising at NewJerseyStage.com for use whenever they wish to use it.
#GivingTuesday is a global movement that reimagines a world built upon shared humanity and radical generosity. It is a day many non-profit organizations use to raise much needed funds. For the past several years, New Jersey Stage has used #GivingTuesday to reward those who follow us on social media. Artists and organizations who like, share, or respond to special #GivingTuesday posts by New Jersey Stage are placed into a raffle. A random number generator program is then used to select the winners.
New Jersey Stage is a unique media outlet these days. While mainstream newspapers have largely cut back on their arts coverage and many independent publications/websites have become non-profits themselves, New Jersey Stage has remained a small, independently owned website that covers the arts each day with the help of a few volunteers.
"It never made sense for us to become a non-profit," explained Gary Wien, publisher of New Jersey Stage. "The vast majority of arts organizations we cover each day are non-profits and the last thing we would ever want to do is have to fight for the same grant money as them. We view ourselves as a partner to the arts, not a competitor."
New Jersey Stage offers banner advertising at affordable rates from $50-$100 per month and event listings for just $10. The ad rates were set so every arts organization could afford to promote their events and services to the local arts community. The website has greatly increased its audience every year, but has chosen to keep the ad rates at the same level.
"We are proud to have some of the largest arts organizations in the state as well as some of the smallest advertise with us," said Wien. "Promotion is important for the arts, but advertising is often too costly for many organizations to afford. Our goal is to be a place where every organization can reach people interested in the arts who are local enough to attend events or utilize their services."
Introducing a New Monthly Contest for 2024
The #GivingTuesday contest is promoted by New Jersey Stage on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Threads. The amount of artists and organizations taking part in the contest has grown each year - to the point that New Jersey Stage will create a monthly contest in 2024 as part of its 10th anniversary celebration. There will be two winners per month - one drawn solely from new followers in the month and the other drawn from all followers who have liked, shared, or responded to posts on a New Jersey Stage social media channel.
"Likes and responses will earn one ticket and each share will earn two tickets." added Wien. "The more active you are with our social media, the more chances you'll have to win!"
NewJerseyStage.com has a goal of reaching one million unique visitors in 2024. The website reached 700,000 unique visitors for 2022 (the last full year of data recorded) with an audience based largely in the New Jersey/New York area and including a sizable number in the Philadelphia region. Every Monday through Friday, the website runs a Daily Update that contains links to the articles published the day before. The daily updates routinely include coverage of 6-10 different counties in New Jersey with readers actively reading each article. This backs up the website's motto: "Nobody covers the Arts throughout the Garden State like New Jersey Stage!"
Here is a look at the 2023 #GivingTuesday winners.
Axelrod Performing Arts Center (Monmouth County) - The Axelrod Performing Arts Center produces its own professionally staged musicals and ballets for the Jersey Shore in collaboration with Broadway directors, choreographers, and designers, showcasing professional actors, dancers and singers. The Axelrod Performing Arts Center fosters artistic excellence by showcasing varied and distinct cultural programs which enrich the imaginative, intellectual and creative soul, inspire Jewish journeys, and cultivate an appreciation of our diverse communities through the pursuit of the arts.
North Jersey Blues Society (Passaic County) - The North Jersey Blues Society (NJBS) is a volunteer-based 501 (c) (3) non-profit that was founded to celebrate the heritage and preservation of blues music as a valued indigenous American art form through the unity of the blues community comprised of fans, musicians, society members, venues, other non-profits, educators, and business owners who will collaborate to and promote the blues performances and educational offerings in Northern New Jersey. As a community leader providing the music and arts, the NJBS goals and priorities include: Promoting the performance of local, regional, and national blues musicians with a devoted interest in American roots and blues music in Northern New Jersey by offering blues artists and audiences artistic programming and venue performance opportunities to the blues community. Preserving and increasing awareness of blues by providing educational opportunities for blues music and its founding artists by targeting the history of blues and the artistic impact of blues music worldwide to the blues community.
Music Mountain Theatre (Hunterdon County) - Music Mountain Theatre opened its doors on October 6, 2017 with its inaugural production of Phantom. In addition to theirMainstage productions, they offer performances for Young Audiences throughout the year. Their theatre school offers classes encompassing a range of disciplines across acting, musical theatre, and dance. It is the mission of Music Mountain Theatre to enrich, educate, and entertain their community through the study, performance, and appreciation of the arts.