This national arts organization sought to develop a cohesive individual donor base following several mergers with other arts organizations. While notable leadership was involved, independent traditions of leadership involvement and giving expectations still lingered. Opportunities for significant individual support had been centered around an annual awards dinner, with very little pursuit of individuals for the organization’s major projects and programs.
Carter Consulting Group conducted interviews and conducted small campaigns to test interest on the part of several donor sectors. We created a major gifts team, including the executive program staff, and involved them in facilitated discussions and final agreement to express the organizational values, which had not been included in earlier planning initiatives. Several program priorities were identified, execution plans developed, and proposal and collateral materials developed. The Major Gifts Team was involved in regular prospect review and strategy development sessions, where new prospects were regularly added to the pool. Selected prospective donors were approached, solicited and/or discussions initiated to secure support for these newly defined programs.
To create more clarity about the organization’s ongoing programs, we re-articulated them in language to appeal to an audience of arts consumers and supporters, eliminating the tendency to speak to the practitioner audience. This language was incorporated into the organization’s website and other materials. A new personalized stewardship and cultivation plan was also designed and put into place.
With a greater understanding among the executive leadership about their role in the major gifts process, cultivation, stewardship and solicitation of the most generous supporters is well underway. The organization has set new standards for individual support as they secured several six figure gifts from long standing relationships. Specific recommendations for shifts in development staff responsibilities will be executed as vacant positions are filled.