Film can entertain, educate, and empower. It can bring change on levels both intimate and epic. And it’s at its best as a communal viewing experience, with the best possible sound and projection. As a nonprofit cultural institution, Milwaukee Film has made it our mission to communicate all of this to the city that we love, in a way that is both true and unique to Milwaukee.As a prospect researcher, I was struck by the way Milwaukee Film’s Thanksgiving tweets showed remarkable insight into their donors and what makes them tick. So I highlighted some of their tweets on my blog. However, as time went on, and discussion about social media ethics heated up in the prospect research community, I wanted to know more. I was particularly interested in knowing more about how Milwaukee Film gained their knowledge about their donors and how they used social media to engage with prospects and build a fundraising constituency. I was especially interested because they are a small local grassroots organization, without the level of staffing in prospect development and social media that universities typically have. So I contacted their development director, Jessica Bursi, and we had a lively conversation. The transcript below follows that conversation and some questions which I had later.
Sarah: Last Thanksgiving, Milwaukee Film undertook a remarkably donor-centric stewardship campaign on Twitter. How did that come about?Jessica: Our fantastic former Marketing Director, Blyth Meier, planned the “Week of Thanks”. It’s a tradition we’d love to continue with our new Marketing team.
Sarah: How do/did you gain the insights into your donors’ interests and personalities so that your tweets could be so tailored to just what makes them tick?Jessica: Many of the thanks referenced the programs and films that were sponsored – for example, our von Briesen tweet referenced their support for one of our festival films:
Thankful for: @vonBriesen and their support of SOUL OF A BANQUET. Good friends, delicious food, moving cinema.Others referenced the goods provided by our sponsors, such as:
Thankful for: @graceandshelly and their DELICIOUS cupcakes during the fest. Everyone loved them!”