Rebecca Steketee

April 8, 2010, Chronicle of Philanthropy Before each performance at Michigan’s Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Rebecca Steketee reviews the names of ticket buyers to see if any of the theater’s regular donors plan to show up.

Then Ms. Steketee, the theater’s development director, writes notes that she places on the patrons’ seats, with a card thanking them for their loyal support.

Ms. Steketee started adding that special touch when the recession began making it tougher to raise money, and it is one reason that even in one of the states hardest hit by the economy, the theater’s donations from individuals and corporations have risen by more than 3 percent in the past year.

Across the country, many other fund raisers are intensifying their efforts to make solicitations more personal and taking other steps to focus on appeals that yield the best results.

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