MINNEAPOLIS (Aug. 5, 2014) — The Minnesota Orchestra has exceeded the goal of its July CommUNITY Challenge campaign, raising $174,000 from community members in order to receive a challenge gift of $115,000.
The fundraising initiative grew out of a limited-term Community Task Force which was convened to build fundraising and ticket sales support for the Orchestra through the collective grassroots efforts of community members, board, musicians and staff, following the organization’s labor dispute.
Board Vice Chair Karen Himle, who chaired the three summer meetings of the Task Force, explained, “This was a true barn-raising effort, led by community members. Our goal was to channel the tremendous energy and enthusiasm for the Orchestra demonstrated by many different constituencies into real fundraising and sales support for the organization over the course of the summer. At our first meeting, we went around the table and each member made a pledge for what they personally wanted to do to support the Minnesota Orchestra. We just concluded our third and final session–and this group has delivered.”
Task Force members include Minnesota Orchestra board, musicians and staff, as well as representatives from Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra and community groups such as Orchestrate Excellence and Save Our Symphony Minnesota.
Volunteer Lee Henderson made a significant pledge: he offered to raise $100,000 in donations to the Orchestra from community members in order to build momentum around a challenge gift campaign. He exceeded his original goal by $15,000. The Orchestra’s ensuing four-week CommUNITY Challenge campaign, which was conducted largely online through the month of July, ultimately drew $174,000 in donations from over 750 community members—including 48 Orchestra musicians—bringing the total donation to nearly $290,000 when combined with the $115,000 challenge gift.
Other Task Force projects include:
• A series of six New Attender focus groups, which were held in June and July and centered around attracting potential Generation X and Y attendees to Orchestra concerts;
• Producing a template for an ongoing series of House Parties held by community members to solicit ticket sales and fundraising support for the Orchestra throughout the season;
• A multi-pronged outreach campaign targeted to senior communities to provide information about the Orchestra’s upcoming concert season and encourage subscription sales;
• A “Talk to Ten” Campaign with Task Force members committing to talk to ten friends in order to urge ticket sales and fundraising support for the Orchestra;
• Recruiting groups of volunteers to serve at Minnesota Orchestra community events, such as Symphony for the Cities and the September concert at Lake Harriet;
• Support in conceiving and implementing Season Opening activities to launch the Orchestra’s 2014-15 season with momentum and grass roots enthusiasm.
Task Force members are: Rochelle Blease, Dianne Brennan, Scott Chamberlain, Laura Corts, Paula DeCosse, Luella Goldberg, Laurie Greeno, Cindy Grzanowski, Lee Henderson, Karen Himle, Ken Huber, Mariellen Jacobson, Nancy Jamieson, Richard Marshall, James Melville, Greg Milliren, Heather Miller-Shiell, Linda Murrell, Luther Ranheim, David Sailer-Haugland, Mary Schaefle, Catherine Schaefer Schubilske, Sarah Schmalenberger, Holly Slocum, Fletcher Warren and Wendy Williams.
“Each of our Task Force members, whether they represent community advocacy groups, audience members, board, musicians or staff, shares a common purpose: a desire to find new ways to support this great institution,” said Himle. “I think our collaborative work has created unity and strong relationships that will continue to serve the Orchestra into the season ahead and beyond.”