Starting From Scratch, But Starting Strong – Blue13 Dance Company Case Study 

Client: Blue13 Dance Company

Industry: Performing Arts  

“DonorSearch is the first product that I’ve used…that I have felt was intuitive, that had the support I needed, and that was accurate.” 

At A Glance

  • Challenges
    • Small fundraising team 
    • Weak fundraising program and strategy
    • Finding relevant grant opportunities 
  • Results
    • Accurate insights guiding a cost-effective outreach strategy 
    • Personalized support from the DonorSearch team 
    • Accurate grant prospecting
    • Saw an ROI in the first couple of months 

Client Overview 

Blue13 Dance Company, an American dance theater ensemble based in Los Angeles, California, was founded in 1999 with a mission to change how people see and practice American dance through performances, outreach, and education. 

Blue13 Dance Company began using DonorSearch in 2023 when their new executive director, Matthew Cook, saw a need to strengthen their fundraising efforts. In just a few months, Blue13 Dance Company has seen significant results from DonorSearch’s industry-leading technology and support.  

Background 

When Cook became Blue13 Dance Company’s Executive Director, he also became the organization’s principal fundraiser. Because Blue13 Dance Company’s primary source of revenue comes from performing at various events, Cook found that he would essentially be building their fundraising program from scratch. 

Cook had worked with both DonorSearch and other prospecting and screening partners at another organization.  

Speaking about what he had accomplished with DonorSearch’s help at his previous organization, Cook said, “Toward the end of last year, an opportunity fell into our lap to move into our first building…It was a huge undertaking…So, I turned to DonorSearch to see who in our base was most likely to give with the MLR (most likely to respond) score, and I just made huge asks. But I knew those asks were appropriate because I had proof and confidence that they had given at these levels to other organizations. I made a case that their gift would go much further with our organization.” The organization was able to quickly raise $100,000 thanks to DonorSearch and its MLR score. 

Given this experience, Cook knew that DonorSearch was exactly what Blue13 Dance Company needed. 

Strategy

Cook explained that the DonorSearch team has been there every step of the way to support him in his new role. “My experience with the DonorSearch support team has been nothing but positive,” he said. Together, he and his DonorSearch support representative have strategized to help Blue13 Dance Company build up its donor base. 

“My goal…is to have a two- to three-year plan to learn our [donor] base, make targeted asks, and also use prospecting tools and mailing lists,” Cook said. 

Recently, Cook has been using DonorSearch’s tools to search for donors by county in his local area. “I’ll get a list of 500 names [and] I will create a postcard with a QR code on it that introduces that household to our company and perhaps [gives] them a discount ticket to [one of Blue13 Dance Company’s shows].” 

Using DonorSearch in this way has not only helped Blue13 Dance Company connect with donors, but has also saved the organization money on outreach. Because the organization can be confident in the information provided by DonorSearch, they spend more time connecting with donors and less time screening them. 

Cook is also excited about using DonorSearch to find potential grants for Blue13 Dance Company. “Already, in just a month, DonorSearch has proved effective with my new company looking at grants, and we’ve been offered a full application to a major foundation in town that I didn’t know supported dance before I found out about it through DonorSearch.” 

Benefits

  • Personalized and above-and-beyond support. “This has been the most personal relationship I can imagine with a software company,” Cook said. “[My support representative] has far exceeded expectations in terms of just [teaching us] how to click buttons on software. He really is a partner in fundraising. And he has taught me so much. I am very grateful for the relationship.” 
  • Grant prospecting. Without DonorSearch, Blue13 Dance Company had limited knowledge of grantmaking organizations in its area and less guidance to work with when writing grant requests. Now, with DonorSearch’s tools, the organization can find local or national organizations that support dance and feel confident submitting their applications. 
  • High degree of accuracy. For Cook, having accurate insights that are also actionable is a priority. “There are so many resources out there that will estimate who in [your] base will support you,” Cook said. “But [DonorSearch], by far, has been the most accurate.” DonorSearch’s unmatched degree of accuracy is due to its machine learning capabilities and constantly updated data. 
  • Return on investment (ROI). “You will make your money back,” Cook explained. “We’ve made our money back within the first couple of months.” Cook said that taking the time to work with his support representatives and learn how to make the most of DonorSearch’s many features and capabilities made it possible for Blue13 Dance Company to quickly get results and see an ROI. 

Get a strong start to your own fundraising efforts by using DonorSearch. Get a demo!

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