Posts tagged ‘partnerships’

December 10, 2019

To Raise More Money, Look for More Engagement Opportunities

Smart nonprofit professionals know that fundraising success involves much more than simply asking for money. You need to identify prospective supporters, educate them, cultivate them, then ask for support, and finally steward your donors. An essential, often neglected, aspect of cultivation is engagement.

Sadly, many nonprofit organizations think of donors as piggy banks or ATMs dispensing money. Those charities tend to assume that charitable giving is, by its very nature, transactional. They further assume that low donor retention rates are just the way things are. Those organizations are correct … regarding themselves.

By contrast, nonprofits that treat prospects and donors as partners are more likely to attract support. Furthermore, they are more likely to retain and upgrade donors over time. One way to establish a partnership with people is to engage them in meaningful ways.

So, what does meaningful engagement look like?

PTC’s See & Be Scene Event.

For decades, I’ve been a fan and supporter of the Philadelphia Theatre Company. Recently, my wife and I were invited to attend “See & Be Scene: A Sneak Peek at the 2020/21 Season.” The event involved readings from eight plays under consideration for the upcoming four-play season. Subscribers and donors were invited to attend for free while the general public could purchase tickets at $15 each.

Through the event, PTC accomplished three important things:

  1. PTC expressed gratitude to its ticket subscribers and donors.
  2. Staff gained useful audience feedback that will help them select the plays of greatest potential interest to PTC’s audience.
  3. By giving them a real voice, PTC made its supporters feel like partners.

At intermission, I had the chance to quietly ask Paige Price, Producing Artistic Director, what she and the staff were hoping to get out of the program. She told me that they were interested in audience feedback. They wanted to know what people thought of each option, what they liked and didn’t like. They also wanted to be able to address any questions the audience might have about the upcoming season or the theatre company itself.

I also had the opportunity to speak privately with one of PTC’s board members. I asked him the same question I asked Ms. Price. He gave me a similar answer. Then, I mentioned that the event was a great way to cultivate ticket subscribers and donors. While he acknowledged it was, he told me that the primary purpose of the gathering was the opportunity to engage the audience and learn their thoughts about plans for the upcoming season.

I believe what I was told. PTC used the program to build a genuine partnership with people. Judging from the audience response, PTC succeeded with those in attendance. During the discussion session following the readings, one audience member said, “I think next season we should perform…” Someone else began her comment by saying, “As a member…” Clearly, at least some people in the audience did indeed see themselves as partners with PTC.

Another way that PTC seeks to engage theatregoers can be found in the lobby. A large sign invites people to make suggestions:

Have an idea? We want to hear from you.”

PTC’s Call for Suggestions.

People can take a card or use their ticket to write down their suggestion. They can submit it anonymously or include their phone number or email address so that PTC can respond.

With the “See & be Scene” program and with the request for feedback and suggestions, PTC engages people. Even those who do not take advantage of either opportunity will appreciate having had the opportunity to be heard.

Part of what makes the PTC engagement initiatives effective is that they are sincere efforts to build partnerships rather than cynical, manipulative gestures. By building meaningful partnerships, PTC will likely continue to develop a loyal base of ticket buyers and donors.

Engagement efforts that are sincere and true to an organization’s mission are most likely to be seen as meaningful. And they are most likely to build partnerships that lead to loyal support. While performing arts organizations have a number of obvious ways they can engage people, other types of nonprofit organizations may find it more challenging to do so.

read more »

December 7, 2012

Overcome Challenges thru Collaboration

The Luna Theater Company hosted an open house for the kick-off of its special fundraising campaign. What made this event unusual was the fact that Luna does not have a “house” to open. Since its first season in 2002, Luna has performed on a number of stages in Philadelphia.

Pew at Church of the CrucifixionNot having a home of its own, Luna hosted its open house at the Church of the Crucifixion. Confused? Let me explain.

The collaboration between the theater company and the church is an excellent example of how nonprofit organizations, even those with seemingly very different missions, can come together to help each other meet their unique challenges.

Crucifixion is an historic church. It is the sixth oldest African-American Episcopal Church in the United States. W.E.B. Du Bois, the historian, civil rights activist, and co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was a member of the parish as was famed opera singer Marian Anderson. Unfortunately, with age comes a need for renovation and maintenance.

In the Crucifixion parish house, there is a large auditorium. It’s a bland, empty room with an ugly drop ceiling. While the parish priest would like to renovate the room to its historic beauty by revealing the high, vaulted ceiling that exists above, pressing maintenance needs and limited funds make this project an unfortunately low priority.

Luna Theater (Twitter: @LunaTheaterCo)Luna is a young, vibrant theater company producing intimate, intelligent, and intense work that delves into the human psyche with an emphasis on the tragic-comic. Luna wants a permanent 99-seat home. This will give Luna more flexibility for its various programs and productions. It will help it build its own identity with its audiences. And, it will help control its costs. But, building a theater is a massive, cost-prohibitive undertaking for a small theater company.

That’s where Partners for Sacred Places came in. Partners is a national nonprofit organization working with religious congregations to ensure that their older sacred places remain a rich and vital part of the social fabric of a community. Partners helped facilitate the collaboration between Luna and Crucifixion.

read more »

December 23, 2011

Amazing News about Nonprofit / For-profit Partnerships

This is the Hanukkah and Christmas season. It’s a time of great spiritual meaning.

For Jews, it is a time to celebrate religious freedom and the survival of the Jewish people.

For Christians, it is a time to rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ.

For retailers, this is economically a make or break season.

Now, there is stunning news concerning nonprofit/for-profit partnerships. Cause-related marketing is something that can significantly help both nonprofit organizations and their for-profit partners more than ever before.

According to a study from Cone Communications, a public relations and marketing agency specializing in cause branding and corporate responsibility, an overwhelming 94 percent of consumers are likely to switch brands, about equal in price and quality, to one that supports a social issue. This purchase behavior is at an all-time high since Cone first began measuring consumer purchase trends in 1993, says Craig Bida, Cone’s Executive Vice President of Cause Branding and Nonprofit Marketing.

“Over the years, consumers have been increasingly expecting companies to support social causes. Now, we’re seeing Americans demand companies address issues by speaking with their wallets,” said Bida.

read more »

%d bloggers like this: