South Carolina Children’s Theatre Individual Donor Campaign
The mission of South Carolina Children’s Theatre (SCCT) is to educate and stimulate the minds and imaginations of young people and their families through participation in high-quality theatre, year-round education and accessible outreach. SCCT earns approximately 70% of their funding from ticket sales and the cost of acting classes and camps. Therefore, the 30% difference has to be raised each year through donations from the local community. SCCT works hard to sustain corporate sponsors and solicit funds through grants and foundation contributions to make up the difference. SCCT knew that an individual giving campaign to ask community members to help support the theatre and their mission would greatly benefit their fundraising efforts.
DNA Creative Communications was charged with researching other individual giving campaigns, developing a strategic plan to ask local individuals for monetary gifts and packaging the campaign so new donors would renew their support annually.
DNA researched other arts and children focused organizations to identify the best practices for their individual giving campaigns. Then, based on the research, created a timeline to release a series of “asks” including an initial direct mail printed piece, follow-up letters and emails, including an email campaign specifically designed to be delivered on National Giving Day. An “Ask Flowchart” was developed to help the development director manage and coordinate the mail flow so that a new supporter did not receive additional requests for a donation once they sent in their contribution. All correspondence was written and designed by DNA with the theme of “Opening the Curtain for a Child”, which included a photo shoot coordinated and managed by the DNA team.
An integral part of the campaign included developing a donor appreciation event. The event would be an invitation only gathering to celebrate the theatre and its supporters, which would engage the donors with the theatre in a unique way. DNA planned and managed the event that included designing and printing of invitations, contacting media to attend; prepping, set-up and breakdown of the venue; catering coordination; creating a SCCT facts and images video loop to be shown during the event; organizing the live entertainment and an awards presentation. Finally, post-event press releases from the event were distributed to local print and online newspapers for additional coverage of the gathering.
A final debriefing of the campaign was completely with the DNA team and the executive director of the theatre. Information was shared so the development director will be able to re-create the program as an annual campaign.