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10/3/17 – Minutes of Development Committee Meeting
Held at Binghamton Philharmonic, 71 State Street, Binghamton, New York 13901

Following members present:  Caroline Basso (by phone), Judy Siggins, and Maureen Wilson.
Following management & admin. present: Brittany Hall, Exec. Dir., and Brian Nayor (Acting Secretary).
Brittany began the Development Meeting at 4:04 p.m.

Our Fall Ask Letter Campaign to last year’s donors and subscribers is under way and will go out on 10/9.  We are also brainstorming on an ask campaign more tailored to last year’s 2,000+ single ticket buyers; perhaps Ad Elements can design a small postcard highlighting pix of “What You’re Missing” (i.e. Star Wars, Harry Potter, Mac  & Cheese Fest, etc.).  Caroline brought up the possibility of distinguishing 1st-time single-ticket holders from loyal repeat buyers, for a more nuanced approach to cultivating them; perhaps we can ask ArtsPeople as to how to target these patrons more specifically.

We will also send a more targeting Ask Letter Campaign to our LYBNT donors.  We distributed & reviewed a list of lapsed donors who donated in 2015-’16, but not in 2016-‘2017. Judy Siggins may host a party tailored to court these individuals.  Another possibility is to see if the Kerbers of Upstate Furniture would be willing to host a donor party at their loft downtown.   We need to research our donors carefully to make sure we don’t reach out to someone who is ill or deceased.   Caroline asked how many times we solicit each potential donor; Brittany responded 1x/quarter so far.

To date, we have exceeded our official sponsorship goal of $55K for the season, accruing $61,500; however, our in-house goal is $75K, which we should still try to reach.  Still available is title sponsorship to Cirque for between $2,500 & $3K.  We are working on the Agency, who most likely will agree to it. Maureen will approach Upstate Office Furniture for a sponsorship bid.   Justin had also agreed at the last meeting to approach Mirabito;  rather than courting John Mirabito, Joe or his wife may be easier to engage in supporting an arts organization.   We have also gotten Health Link on board for a sponsorship.

BPO should seek other wealth managers or construction firms for corp. sponsorships.  Perhaps Luciano Piccirilli of Piccirilli-Slavik & Vincent Plumbing & Heating, Jean & Marvin Fisher (II) of Tioga State Bank.
We also need to plan a party for corporate sponsors soon.  Currently, we have an in-kind sponsorship from The Shop to “use or lose” three parties at their venue this season.  Two additional gatherings we can host are pre- or after-concert parties, and a Past Presidents’ Luncheon.

Caroline asked if we have implemented a major donor strategy yet; nothing concrete, but in the works.

Brittany & Maureen met w/ Judy Peckham at Klee Foundation last week to clarify budget irregularities.  We received Klee and BCAC checks last month and so are able to make payroll for musicians.  We also won last month’s Auchinachie contest to get 1,000 FB “likes” on a post for $1,000; Ad Elements ran it.
The Hoyt Foundation has so far been very hands off re. our Digital Book project; we can show them the results of our efforts six months from now when we should hopefully have an operational app.

We will register tomorrow morning for #NYGives Day, which is statewide for nonprofits on 11/28/17.

Brittany met with Travis Maus of S.E.E.D. Financial and pitched a plan in which they would supply a Development Director to profile & “farm out” donors to BPO & two non-competing agencies (e.g. Mercy House and Humane Societies).  In order to avoid the risk of bringing any failing organizations on board, they created and supplied us with an extensive 3-page questionnaire.  While it may be a helpful inhouse guide for self-solvency, the questions may be overreaching.  We will review & consider submitting it.   Additional concerns were addressed on the particular major gifts officer who would do be work w/ us.

Brian took a 2-mo. webinar w/ Gail Perry and other top fundraisers, who over multiple weekly sessions suggested techniques to boost fundraising.  Among their tips were more donor-centric “you”-oriented ask letters – often framed in the conceit of a story – that make our donors the hero and focus on giving to our causes rather than the organization;  thanking  donors proactively & regularly, even via thank-a-thons (where volunteers & staff would take an entire day to thank our supporters and let them know about upcoming developments).   To that end, we have batched donations and sent & personalized thank you letters out daily.  These letters have been warmer in their tone and centered on emphasizing the individual importance of each donor.   (Our upcoming ask letters will have a similar feel.)  As Judy pointed out, these approaches are all helpful, but building & maintaining relations with each patron and being sincere and genuine in our interactions with each one is paramount.

Staff is also more proactive in asking subscribers & single-ticket patrons to make “add-on” donations;  this season, the BPO has  accrued $314.17 in single-ticket add-ons, and $3,562.50 in subscription add-ons.  This is based on ArtsPeople lists that Brian pulled and will double-check to confirm their accuracy.  Brian also generated donation lists from 2016-17 and 2017-18 to date and will verify their accuracy, too. Also, Brian still needs to pull a list to determine the percentage of board giving reached for this year.

We have 39 open seats left for Cello Fury, which should hopefully sell out by this Friday, October 6.

Meeting was adjourned at 5:02 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Brian Nayor