In its 93rd year of service to the Western New York region, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, a beloved cultural gem, was facing a leadership and revenue crisis. During the 2015/16 season, both the CEO and Vice President of Development positions were vacant and the multi-year trend of declining revenue was concerning. An experienced CEO was hired to launch a turnaround, and RSC was engaged as part of an aggressive transformational plan to build a path toward a sustainable future for another century of music and service.

The newly-appointed CEO, Ralph Craviso, a nationally-recognized turnaround specialist for performing arts organizations, engaged RSC in November 2016.  RSC quickly assessed the current fundraising conditions and provided immediate hands-on assistance to develop and launch a sophisticated major gift and annual fund initiative. Given the late start to the Annual Fund activities, RSC’s first assignment was to develop a 60-Day Action Plan to advance the 2015/16 Annual Fund.

In addition, RSC engineered a hybrid multi-year Gap and Major Gift Funding Initiative that launched in Spring 2016, including a case for support and major gift solicitation strategy that would secure the short-term cash needs of the RPO and set the stage for future philanthropic growth.

RSC then assumed a leadership role to create a multi-year fundraising plan that addressed the annual and major gift contributed revenue targets needed to mature the RPO’s fundraising program.  Examining the goals, tactics, message and personnel were each integral to the redesign, with aggressive fundraising targets ensconced in RSC’s “best practices” fundraising approach. 




RSC helped develop a new fundraising staff departmental structure aimed at increasing the number of frontline fundraisers who could focus on securing reliable, renewable annual fundraising results for the RPO.

RPO achieved the highest annual contributed revenue results since the 2012/13 fiscal year. As part of this success, all levels of individual giving increased 5% in 2015/16. Working in partnership with RSC on the Gap and Major Gift Funding Initiative, the CEO, staff, and board quickly reached 60% of commitments secured for a $3 million. 


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