OBJECTIVE: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is a world-class arts and culture venue and presidential memorial. As JFK’s 100th birthday approached, the Kennedy Center tasked Avalon with creating strategies to leverage the Centennial celebration and events to help fund the Center’s programs, by celebrating JFK’s legacy and enduring impact on the arts.
STRATEGY/AUDIENCE: Avalon designed a comprehensive Centennial campaign spanning all channels, including on-site, social media, email marketing, the KC website and unique landing page, media outreach, direct mail, and telemarketing.
Billed as “35 Days of Giving,” the campaign, which celebrated the 35th president, led up to the 100th birthday of President Kennedy (May 29). The centerpiece of the fundraising campaign was a series of nine compelling emails that Avalon designed—each one building in urgency and with its own case for support. All of the emails also touched on common themes, including The Kennedy Center’s legacy as the nation’s performing arts center and how it has helped to shape the arts across the country and JFK’s legacy and ideals often attributed to President Kennedy: Courage, Freedom, Justice, Service, and Gratitude. The emails also promoted a generous two-to-one matching gift challenge by a Kennedy Center donor. And, as each fundraising milestone was achieved, the Kennedy Center released video content featuring performers highlighting the centennial celebration ideals.
For further branding and a broad reach, we designed advertisements for an online ad campaign that The Kennedy Center managed, and on-site materials, including a campaign brochure, collateral materials for giveaways/prizes (including buttons and tote bags), a banner, and a Playbill insert. We also conducted a telemarketing campaign to reinstate lapsed members, and we added an insert on the Centennial to direct mail gift acknowledgments. The brochure was also mailed to $1,000 current members who the Center could not email and would not be attending any performances during the campaign. Finally, as something new for the Kennedy Center, we coordinated a Thunderclap in the week leading up to the Centennial, in which supporters agreed to let Thunderclap auto-share an update about the campaign, amplifying the reach and visibility of the campaign.
The audience for the email series included a universe of supporters with email addresses, including Kennedy Center, National Symphony Orchestra, and Washington National Opera current and lapsed members, former crowdfunding participants, single-ticket buyers and subscribers, social media followers, e-Patrons, etc. The on-site strategy targeted people attending the dozens of public performances at The Kennedy Center leading up to the Centennial.
RESULTS: The campaign was a huge success, blowing away its initial goal of $175,000 and inspiring the matching gift donor to increase their matching gift to $350,000, and continue the momentum of the campaign. After 35 days, the campaign raised a total of $1,230,639. And the Thunderclap had a reach of 140,196 – meaning that 140,196 people saw social media posts about the 35 Days of Giving on their social feeds.