Grand Rapids Civic Theatre

Adapting and increasing donor engagement

For over nine decades, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre has delivered on its mission to enhance the cultural life of West Michigan by creating opportunities for people to enjoy live theatre experiences using community artists and providing access to a comprehensive theatre arts education program for all ages.

Kennari worked with the organization to help shift from a sales/ticketing focus to a more balanced approach, helping the organization to recognize and share the importance of the endowment, ticket buyers, and donors. After a few years of implementing strategies to acquire, renew, and cultivate annual donors, in 2019 Kennari began work with the organization on a comprehensive campaign for building upgrades, program support, and endowment building. The organization is currently in the early stages of this current campaign work.

To adapt to the challenges presented by the pandemic in 2020, Kennari worked with the team to implement strategies to continue to engage campaign and annual donors despite the theatre being closed. Kennari also partnered closely with the organization to shift their donor acquisition event to a virtual one, where they matched the same level of funding as the previous in person event, and received very positive feedback from their donors. Kennari grant writers also identified funding sources available to performing arts groups and worked quickly to secure additional and much needed funding.

“Kennari Consulting has been an invaluable resource in growing our funding capacity. Kennari is a proactive partner as we meet our changing needs from operating to capital to endowment support. Despite the often-overwhelming challenges the 2020-21 pandemic has presented, Kennari’s quick planning response made it possible for the Theatre to continue our campaign while we also sourced emergency funding.” – Bruce Tinker, Executive Director, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre