Interview With Nick Gaudreau, Director of Development, Church Street School for Music and Art
FS: How do you fund your mission?
NG: CSS is primarily tuition-driven. As our capital campaign proceeds, there is a higher reliance on individual contributions and corporate sponsorships.
FS: What are the biggest challenges your organization faces as far as fundraising is concerned? How do you overcome them?
NG: The biggest challenge is the lack of understanding by institutional stakeholders in methods of relationship management and the extent to which each individual knows how to maximize their relationship network. Through discussions and “Development 101” presentations, an increase in knowledge and ability to maintain relationships and maximize interactions has yielded major institutional assets. Administrative support and effective/efficient lines of communication have led to an improvement in donor stewardship and cultivation.
FS: Do you foresee any big changes in the way you reach potential donors and other supporters in the near future?
NG: By increasing the level of interaction between mail appeals, electronic collateral, Web site and social-network tie-ins, we plan to revolutionize the efficacy and approach by which we maintain open lines of communication with our stakeholders.
FS: How would you describe your fundraising philosophy?
NG: The school prides itself on out-of-the-box thinking and creative personal expression; however most funding sources are in-the-box-thinkers. Our goal and success is mastering and owning the “edge of the box.” By using proven fundraising methods and combining them with edgy and creative approaches, we reach our constituents in an entertaining and effective way.
FS: How do you reach out to supporters and potential supporters in ways other than purely fundraising? Are you engaged with social-media sites — MySpace, Facebook, etc. — and online social networking?
NG: We are currently developing our Web 2.0 campaign and combining those avenues of communication with real and electronic collateral to create a multimedia, interrelated marketing and fundraising campaign.
FS: Can you describe a recent successful fundraising effort?
NG: By working with local government and placing our school as a key point in the cultural heritage and enrichment of the Financial District and TriBeCa’s post-9/11 rebound, Church Street School has leveraged a great deal of grant support.