After coming out of well-publicized financial and labor difficulties in 2011, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's (DSO) Annual Fund is now on pace to grow at a rate not seen in over a decade.
In mid-2010 the DSO engaged Robert Swaney Consulting (RSC) to create and implement the strategies and tactics needed to significantly grow the individual giving base. Despite the extreme challenges facing the organization at the time, DSO and RSC staff worked together to produce a 32% increase in dollars and an 18% increase in the number of donors over the previous year. Together, we not only reversed a decade-long negative trend in less than one year, but we also greatly surpassed the budgeted goal for the fiscal year.
How did we do it? In short, we re-engaged the fundamentals of annual fundraising and combined them with some innovative approaches. First, we developed an aggressive Action Plan and Timeline to guide our work. Then we created a new, highly-leveraged and positive message (even in light of an extremely dark moment in the organization’s history). Third, we frontloaded our activities to both create a sense of urgency and to fully optimize all twelve months of the campaign. Finally, we partnered with an awesome team of audience development, direct mail and telefunding experts to help us reach out to virtually anyone who had made a gift or purchased a DSO ticket in the past decade. Of course, there’s more to it than outlined above, but combining fundamentals with a fresh approach was key to breathing new life back into the DSO’s Annual Fund.
Now in its second year with the DSO, RSC is deepening its role to broaden the donor base even further. As you can see from the article in Crain’s Detroit Business, the results continue to be impressive. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has an impressive and dedicated staff and RSC is proud to be a part of the organization’s success.
Although we continue to see remarkable growth for the DSO, Annual Fund growth is a common and predictable theme for Robert Swaney Consulting clients. By using a fully-replicable system of RSC plans, strategies and techniques, nearly every one of our clients over the past five years has experienced significant contributed revenue growth.
If you would like to learn more about how RSC is successfully working with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and how we can help your organization have similar results, call us today at 317-797-8924 or visit our website.