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Friday, December 16, 2011

My First Annual Fund

Dana Byrd here, Development Assistant at the Rosenbach. Most of you have probably spoken to me about membership or registering for a program, event, or reading group. As a relatively new Rosenbacher, I was pretty overwhelmed by my first annual fund campaign and I’ve decided to steal Kathy’s soapbox for a week to tell you about it.


I’m sure that many of you have received a letter from some charitable organization at the end of the year requesting donations to their annual fund or campaign. But have you ever thought about why you received it, or how that letter came to be in your mailbox?

Before I worked at the Rosenbach, I knew that “annual fund” meant an annual request for support (money!) to be used to run a museum, from the electric bill, to upgrading technology, to paying the staff.

But what does the word “campaign” mean? Previously, I had only associated this word with elections. However, working on this year’s annual fund campaign at the Rosenbach has given me a new perspective and the word has taken on a new meaning: it represents a multi-faceted approach to fundraising that gives our supporters as many opportunities to learn about us and as many avenues to give as possible. We brainstormed dozens of ideas to get staff members, volunteer docents, and even our actual supporters themselves involved. The bottom line? That letter that you (hopefully!) held in your hand was not sent to you without some forethought.

The theme of our Annual Fund campaign is “what will your gift inspire?” This year we wanted to get our supporters involved in more meaningful, mission-inspired ways... We wanted to know what inspired you at the Rosenbach and we wanted to tell you what your gifts have inspired already. So, here’s what we did:
  1. We filmed our first-ever fundraising video, featuring Director Derick Dreher.
  2. We set up an interactive wall in our lobby where visitors leave comments about their visit. The Annual fund supports the Rosenbach keeping our doors open, so all the things they write are directly a result of your gift!
  3. We created a photo essay, “100 Days at the Rosenbach,” where we post one photo each day for 100 days, starting with our Member Appreciation Night on October 11, 2011. We are currently on day number 67. All of this “behind-the-scenes” action that happens every day is sustained by this and previous year’s annual fund campaigns. Click here to explore!
  4. We created a lobby sign to recognize supporters who make gifts to the Annual Fund.
  5. We sent a letter to our previous supporters and visitors asking for their help in supporting this year’s annual fund, as well as provided four different ways to make a gift (by mail, by phone, online, or in person).
So far, we are proud to say that we have raised over 75% of our fundraising goal. We are very grateful to those that have already generously donated to this year’s annual fund.

I know I will be donating this year. After all, ‘tis the season for giving. We hope that you’ll make a gift to help us reach the finish line – who knows what your gift will inspire next? And I wouldn't work in Development if I didn't include:

Click here
to make your gift now!

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