Catalytic Fundraising In The Pandemic Era

To purchase access to the recording of the Catalytic Fundraising online intensive, please go to or email

For nearly twenty years, the DeVos Institute of Arts Management has provided counsel for arts, culture, and humanities organizations at a variety of inflection points, including those considering fundraising campaigns.

This intensive will address pillars of any catalytic fundraising campaign, while providing specific guidance on planning, mounting, and completing a variety of campaigns in the pandemic era, including: short-term, bridge-gap campaigns; campaigns to support the development, renovation, or expansion of physical infrastructure; or the development of endowments, working reserves, or program funds.

In addition to its immense human and social toll, the pandemic and its impacts have placed extreme pressure on the finances of many non-profit organizations worldwide. 

Amongst the most consternating questions is whether, when, and how to mount or re-start a significant fundraising campaign. 

The DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland, a global leader in fundraising and capital campaigns, offers this one-day intensive to address key questions and provide practical strategy for managing revenue development campaigns under today's extraordinary circumstances. 

This intensive will address pillars of any “catalytic” fundraising campaign, while providing specific guidance on planning, mounting, and completing a variety campaigns in the pandemic era, including: 

  • short-term, bridge-gap campaigns;
  • campaigns for the development, renovation, or expansion of physical infrastructure;
  • or campaigns for the development of endowments, working reserves, or program funds. 

Three scenarios will be addressed during the intensive: 

  1. For some organizations, one-time, emergency fundraising campaigns have been required to stem losses during a period when earned revenue ground to a halt. What has led to, or inhibited, the success of these campaigns during this period? What can we expect from short-term, catalytic fundraising efforts in late 2020? In early 2021? In late 2021? What will be required to be successful?
  2. For others, major capital fundraising campaigns underway at the onset of the pandemic have slowed, or stalled altogether. What are reasonable expectations as to when, and how, such campaigns can re-energize or re-start? Will aggressive fundraising for capital projects be deemed unreasonable during a period of widespread economic stress? What will be required to motivate support for long-term projects when short-term, even existential concerns seem paramount? 
  3. Even others had envisioned mounting a significant campaign in 2020 or 2021 but were stalled at the onset of the pandemic. How long is “right” to wait to begin a new campaign, given the circumstances? What can be expected from the market if, and when, a campaign is eventually launched? 

This intensive will deliver practical strategy in the following key areas: 

  • Developing or re-evaluating a Campaign Goal
  • Establishing Campaign Readiness and Building internal capacity to implement a major campaign
  • Evaluating Campaign Fundraising Feasibility
  • Campaign Design and Implementation
  • Engaging a Board of Directors in a campaign
  • Creating and Maintaining Campaign Momentum
  • Building a practical financial plan that anticipates the impact of the fundraising effort on annual operations 
  • Risks inherent to a catalytic campaign and how best to avoid common pitfalls 

Including Guest Speaker Robin R. Terry, Chairwoman and CEO, Motown Museum

Robin has devoted the past two decades to carrying the torch for one of Detroit’s most notable entrepreneurial families and preserving the legacy of an iconic brand, “Motown.”

Robin is the Chairwoman and CEO for Motown Museum, a cultural gem founded in 1985 by her grandmother, the late Esther Gordy Edwards. Mrs. Edwards was a senior executive at Motown Record’s and sister of Motown founder, Berry Gordy.

Robin’s mission is to build on her grandmother’s vision to tell the story of Motown by expanding the museum campus into a world class entertainment and education destination that will inspire talent, entrepreneurship and the transformation of a neighborhood community. With her ongoing dedication to the development of Detroit and to the preservation of its rich history, Motown Museum will continue to serve as a global tourist attraction and cultural beacon for generations to come.

In 2017, Robin and the Museum’s Board of Trustees launched an ambitious $50-million-dollar capital campaign to expand the Museum to a 50,000 square foot world-class tourist destination featuring dynamic, interactive exhibits, a state-of-the art performance theater, unrivaled recording studios, an expanded retail experience and meeting spaces designed by world renown architects and exhibit designers. Under Robin’s leadership, the Museum met its first $25 million threshold in 2019, breaking ground on the first of four planned construction phases. In addition to the staggering global reverence it receives, when completed, the new Museum campus will have a transformative impact on its surrounding Detroit neighborhood, providing employment, sustainability and community pride by serving as an important catalyst for new investment and interest in this historic area. The new development will also further raise the profile of the city as an international travel destination.

Advancing Capital Infrastructure Projects Add-On

For organizations contemplating the development of a new physical project, or the completion of a current capital expansion, the Institute will offer a separate, one-day special intensive on November 20 discussing Capital Infrastructure Projects in a Time of Uncertainty.

CLICK HERE to learn more.

Registration Information

Date and Time:
Monday, November 23, 2020 11am-3pm Eastern Standard Time

Online. Instructions will be provided upon registration.

Registration fee:
$179 per organization, for up to three participants.

Registration limited to 100 organizations/projects.

Register online by November 13.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Institute.

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