There are still prospecting letters. Billboard ads. Social media campaigns. But one of the best entry points is one that allows for interaction: events.
That word strikes fear into many executive directors' hearts. Either they envision the life-sucking intensity of an annual banquet, or they think, "But my kind of organization isn't really event-friendly."
They're probably wrong.
I'll use a client as an example here. The Thomas MacLaren School is a fast-growing classical charter school in Colorado. They're heavy on the arts and culture end of things--in fact, every single student plays in the orchestra. As part of our effort to build up a private donor base, we created the MacLaren Society. The idea was regular community-friendly events in neutral (preferably exciting!) locations, built around things the school could easily do. The key goals we gave ourselves:
Play to your strengths: What resources do we have to offer that could be useful for an event?
Offer value: What could we do that would be interesting and enriching to supporters AND non-supporters?
Convey your identity: How could we communicate who we are through the event?
See below for the invitation to the MacLaren Society's first event--they used the considerable talents of their young teachers, and their connections with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, to create an evening of music and art. I'm looking forward to it.