Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra

Case Study

Year-end appeal surpasses goal by 40%
with direct response consulting

The Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra has brought high-quality symphonic music to the western suburbs of Chicago since 1961. As funding strategies for music and arts nonprofits have changed over the years, the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra’s year-end appeal became an increasingly important source of revenue. Yet with multiple fall concerts and limited staff time, managing the year-end appeal proved to be a challenge.

To strengthen the results of its year-end appeal, in the fall of 2017, the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra partnered with American Philanthropic to produce and manage the annual campaign. Working with American Philanthropic, the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra launched a multi-channel campaign that included personalized appeals to multiple donor segments. The campaign incorporated a concert kick-off, solicitation letter, emails, and follow-up phone calls which provided several strategic opportunities to reach Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra patrons and concert attendees in the most important fundraising period of the year.

By incorporating new strategies, the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra surpassed its revenue goals for the year-end appeal by more than 40 percent, providing them additional funding to support world-class music for their community.


American Philanthropic is registered as fundraising counsel or as a fundraising consultancy in all states that require such registration. This means that we are not “fundraisers”: we do not ask people for money on our clients’ behalf, make personal introductions, make phone calls, or otherwise have direct personal contact with your donors or donor prospects. We tee you up to do those things, and to do them more effectively, by advising you, coaching you, and providing the services outlined in this proposal. Our goal is to help you build your development program so that it becomes stronger and more sustainable, and to put you in position to build your own strong, personal relationships with funders.