How the Detroit Symphony found sustainability in current fundraising environment

Posted on: December 15, 2017

“An infusion of $18.5 million this fall from four funders to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra underscores how labor stability, community outreach, and technological innovation can set an organization on a path to sustainability,” writes Mike Scutari in Thursday’s (12/14) Inside Philanthropy. “Funders want orchestras to engage the larger community, and that often means redefining the role of a musician to include teaching, coaching, and other forms of outreach… Each [DSO] player can earn up to $6,900 more a year if they choose to take part in community outreach activities.” The orchestra’s free concert-streaming program, “Live at Orchestra Hall, [has] received support from … donors…. The orchestra … lowered ticket prices [and] scheduled concerts in different parts of the city (‘The Neighborhood Series’).… Thanks to the engagement efforts embedded in 2011’s labor agreement, the orchestra raised more in donations [and] sold more tickets…. The orchestra has enjoyed five consecutive balanced budgets…. The DSO’s $18.5 million windfall … includes continued sponsorship of the aforementioned neighborhood concert series [which] helped to increase total subscription growth of nearly 25 percent from 2011 to 2014. The … gift also includes a $5 million challenge grant to the DSO’s permanent endowment…. The challenge has already been halfway met.”

Posted December 15, 2017

Pictured: Music Director Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra