How KidsQuest Converted Members into Loyal Donors | npENGAGE

How KidsQuest Converted Members into Loyal Donors

By on Jul 1, 2016


Delight your donors

Does telefunding sound like an old-fashioned fundraising approach to you? What if I told you that real organizations were raising 5x what they spent and seeing 100% retention on new donors through telefunding?

As I learned from Katie Boehm at KidsQuest Children’s Museum this week, staying fresh in your fundraising approach is more about the approach and strategy then it is about the channel.

In the ongoing challenge of converting a value-minded member to become a philanthropic donor, KidsQuest Children’s Museum, outside of Seattle, Washington, found that the majority of their members thought that either a) their membership was already a contribution or b) the children’s museum was not a nonprofit.

KidsQuest knew that to convert visitors and members into donors, they needed them to see KidsQuest as a mission-driven, asset to the community. To that end, KidsQuest ensures its brand, from the website, to collateral, to the way their front line staff communicates with visitors, reflects its mission and its impact on the community in every way possible.

But what better way to get that message across than to have a conversation with your members? In order to have those one on one conversations, KidsQuest started telefunding campaigns. Katie Boehm, Annual Fund and Special Events Manager at KidsQuest, admits that it sounds antiquated. The calling campaigns, however, were extremely successful. They cost the organization around $2000, and raise $10,000 or more. More than 50% of those donations are from members that have never given to the organization before. Perhaps the most impressive stat? These donors gave again the next year. In fact, literally every single one that they reached gave again the next year.

The key to the success? Training the telefunders to focus on the impact the museum has on the community and what their philanthropic contribution can help KidsQuest accomplish. Having that personal conversation allowed KidsQuest to convert value-minded members, that were focused only on benefits, into donors, that wanted to help further the mission of the organization.

Some quick tips for your own successful campaign:

  1. Train your callers well. Provide them with the messaging they need to communicate how your organization benefits the community.
  2. Put together a targeted call list. KidsQuest uses their software solution to help them identify “people who love the museum.” That could include people who have been members for years, or attend multiple programs or camps, or hosted their wedding or birthday party there.
  3. Set expectations. These phone calls are meant to educate these visitors and members about the wonderful things you do. The conversations can be expected to take an average of 7-8 minutes.
  4. Be strategic on timing. KidsQuest does their telefunding campaign towards the end of year, when individuals might be looking for end of year tax benefits, or are just in a more charitable mood.

Kudos to Katie Boehm and KidsQuest for identifying a problem and executing a strategic, creative solution!


Laura Beussman is passionate about marketing and building sustainable communities, and is able to combine the two as Director of Product Marketing, Fundraising & CRM Solutions, at Blackbaud. In her current role, Laura leads the go-to-market strategy for Blackbaud’s portfolio of best in class fundraising solutions, which includes the development of positioning, value propositions, packaging, and pricing. Laura has an affinity for the arts, coming from spending five years early in her career working in nonprofit arts organizations, in roles ranging from finance to development and marketing at organizations including Austin Opera, Madison Opera, AT&T Performing Arts Center and the Dallas Theater Center. After completing her MBA at the University of Wisconsin’s Bolz Center for Arts Administration, Laura spent two years as the lead pricing manager for consumer desktops at Dell. Laura joined the Blackbaud team in 2013, and spent her first four years there leading the marketing efforts for the arts & cultural vertical. Still involved in the arts, she continues to serve on nonprofit boards, previously at the Austin Chamber Music Center (2011 – 2014) and currently on the Advisory Board at her alma mater, the Bolz Center for Arts Administration. In her personal time, Laura and her husband David, a choir director, spend their time chasing after their three year old daughter and two teenagers.

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