In early 2013, the Nashville Symphony underwent a major restructuring in response to significant challenges posed by the Great Recession of 2008 and a devastating flood in 2010 that caused over $40 million in damages to its concert hall, Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Out of that restructuring, the Development team was charged with nearly doubling the Annual Fund result of $3.5M from the previous season.  

In late spring of 2013, the Nashville Symphony engaged RSC to help craft an aggressive strategy to dramatically grow fundraising over the next several years. The first step was to analyze the Nashville Symphony’s current donor database for numbers, capacity, and propensity to give, then craft a year-end solicitation strategy to close out the 2012/13 season. A new case for support detailing the successes of the restructuring process was drafted and utilized during the 2013/14 fundraising effort, and telefunding strategy and goals were made more aggressive. (Telefunding was shifted to a new vendor during the 2014/15 season, and then to a third for 15/16). RSC took responsibility for Nashville Symphony’s direct mail during the 2014/15 season, generating all DM letters in conjunction with Nashville Symphony staff. 

RSC consulted with the fundraising staff through the end of FY15, then switched to a retainer basis for the 2015/16 season.  RSC outlined FY16 fundraising tactics and created a multi-year revenue plan forecast for the annual fund. 




In year one, the Nashville Symphony increased its Annual Fund by 71%, bringing in over $6M during the 2013/14 season.  In year two, sponsorship inventory was analyzed and capacity doubled, and corporate gifts increased by 39%. In addition, the overall Annual Fund campaign increased by 12%, bringing in $6.7M during the 2014/15 season.  

With RSC’s help, the capable and dedicated Nashville Symphony development staff is now well-equipped in strategy and best practices of creating a reliable, renewable base of support. 


What the client said

“Bob and his team have helped us nearly double our Annual Fund,” said Jonathan Norris, VP of Development. “We’ve had record-breaking results for the past two seasons and could not have achieved this success without RSC’s guidance.”


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