Focus On: Capital Campaigns: Beyond Bricks and Mortar
FS: How do your capital campaign donors compare with your regular supporters?
Clark: PBS stations in general get lots of smaller donations — people giving $35, $100, sometimes $200 to get the free tote bags and videos. But we have a foundation that’s associated with the college, so we went to these non-broadcasting donors and had great success generating some bigger gifts.
Of course, we still asked our traditional PBS television donors to support the capital campaign. We have raised about $81,000 that way through a direct mail-based effort. But the bulk of the $4 million has come from the other donors — foundation names, new donors like corporations [that are] underwriting programs and will have the publicity of having their name associated with public television.
Interestingly, we’ve found that many of our individual donors — those who give the regular, but smaller gifts — are on the board of the foundations that support us through larger donations. So there is a crossover.
Scarano: All of the people on our current donor file were approached with the capital campaign appeal. We initially sent a letter during the third week of July announcing the campaign. But we had already done some pre-development work including soliciting grants from foundations we had worked with in the past, as well as making contact with some individual people of wealth.
Zumwalt: We’ve always relied on our strong patient support, and this was no exception: 75 percent of our donors to the capital campaign were from our traditional donor base, and 25 percent were new faces. But in an interesting twist, only 60 percent of the dollar donations came from the traditional donor group and 40 percent came from those new donors. So our new group proved to be more major givers.
FS: What are the keys to cultivating relationships with capital campaign donors so that they will be encouraged to donate to future campaigns and to ongoing efforts?
Clark: Working in partnership with the Foundation Office has been key to the success of the capital campaign, and it’s something we look forward to continuing. We’ve seen a good partnership evolve out of what could have been a very territorial relationship. Often it’s seen as, “No, those are my names, and I don’t want you to use them.” We’ve really overcome that obstacle, and I think it will benefit both sides in the long run.