Dancing to the Tune of $7 Million
Sometimes, seeing means believing. Other times, seeing means writing. Writing checks, that is.
Such was the case for donors who rallied recently to contribute more than $7 million to a capital and endowment campaign for The National Dance Institute-New Mexico in Santa Fe.
The NDI program introduces children in New Mexico’s public elementary schools to the magic of dance and, in the process, nurtures their self-esteem and teaches the value of diligence and team work.
For a program this special, no stuffy fundraising campaign could convey all that NDI is about and how important it is to the children it helps, many of whom live in low-income communities.
Nope, this called for something different. So why not let potential donors see for themselves why the NDI program is so important and why they should give generously to a campaign that would allow the New Mexico affiliate to build a new facility and an endowment to ensure its future?
Harnessing the energy
“Our program needs to be seen to understand the impact that it can have on a child,” explains Catherine Oppenheimer, artistic director and co-founder of NDI-NM. “Most people hear ‘dance in the schools,’ and their eyebrows raise up. The program is extremely powerful, and anyone who sees it in person feels it.”
Medora Jennings, NDI-NM board president at the time, agrees: “The dedication of the instructors, the concentration on the faces of these children — it all shows through as they’re performing. We knew if we could get a prospective donor to one of our dances — or take them to a class — then we had them.”
NDI-NM never had attempted a campaign anywhere near this size. And while it takes more creativity to get potential donors to an event than to get them to read a solicitation letter or even take a phone call, everyone knew the extra effort would be well worth it.