The Smith Center

Carol Hollatz from the Smith Center for the Performing Arts shares her experience with DonorSearch, emphasizing its vital role during the challenging COVID-19 period. She highlights how the tool helped in identifying donor prospects, particularly when donations were their only revenue source. Hollatz also praises DonorSearch for significantly improving their monthly donor program and providing valuable insights for targeted fundraising efforts.


Carol Hollatz, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts: “We saw that your data was correct. The initial email that we sent out paid for DonorSearch the first year. And because they are monthly donors, they are going to continue to pay that first, second, and third year. One email. So, that’s pretty spectacular!

My name is Carol Hollatz. I am the Senior Director of the Annual Fund and Membership at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Our mission is to inspire our community through our performances, amazing experiences, and educational programming.

Like many other nonprofits, COVID hit us hard. We ended up closing. We were closed for over 18 months. 75 percent of our staff was laid off. There was no revenue coming in. We had an anticipated revenue loss of 40 million dollars, having to schedule, reschedule, and cancel almost 450 shows. During COVID, donations were the only revenue that were coming in.

We actually used DonorSearch quite a bit at that time because as donors were making donations, we were able to screen them right then and there. And so using the DS-1 and DS-2 ratings, we were able to figure out who we should focus on, which was very helpful to us during that time. We are happy to say that we are able to continue to take those same members that gave to us during COVID, they are staying on with us during our reopening, which has been really fantastic. We’re glad that we had the ability to use a tool like DonorSearch to focus on the candidates most likely to give. With one email, we doubled what we had originally – the numbers, the donors. And it was a pretty decent dollar amount, too. I think the coolest thing about that is they are monthly. And they keep going. I think once everybody realized that each of those gifts was times 12 forever… that’s gold!

I met Bill at an AFP Convention and he told us about the Ai– the DS insights. And he was willing to kind of sit down with us at that time and explain, you know, what is it that your priorities are moving forward now that you are reopen? We were able to double our monthly donor bucket, our program, so to speak, right off the bat last year! So, that’s been fantastic! And because because we were able to kind of watch and see, we saw that, yes! It was the MLRs 1’s and 2’s that went ahead and responded to this.

Overnight, those DS ratings get uploaded into Tessitura and every two weeks, we run the report of all first-time donors with their DS ratings because that helps us create our portfolios.

It’s really–it’s pretty spectacular! If anyone is considering it, I would just highly recommend it. We’re really expecting to be able to do greater things moving forward with DonorSearch.”

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