Client Story: First Peoples Fund

“Through their thoughtful approach to fundraising and communication, The Numad Group has been an important collaborator in expanding our reach into new markets including our second showcase of the Community Spirit Award in the Twin Cities through social media, print media and a new branding strategy. They continue to build our capacity and strengthen our infrastructure so that we are empowered to tell the stories of our culture bearers and native artist entrepreneurs in new and exciting ways, re-engage our existing benefactors and cultivate new relationships.”
— Lori Pourier, President

Ready to raise the national profile of its nonprofit organization committed to Indigenous artists and budding entrepreneurs, First Peoples Fund turned to The Numad Group in the spring of 2012 to strategize, design and implement a donor cultivation program and communication brand platform while simultaneously marketing the foundation’s first-ever fundraiser to coincide with an annual awards ceremony and performance. The partnership has since expanded to include the creation of a variety of online and offline communication tools, as well as the launch of a new website.

The Numad Group’s engagement began after a year of First Peoples Fund not successfully reaching out to participants from the last awards ceremony and performance, and therefore a major component of the project was to develop the structures and processes for accurately capturing prospective donor data through the events and other interactions, helping to broaden the donor base of the organization and building the structure to effectively cultivate and steward this base in a comprehensive individual donor program.

After a few initial meetings, the initial goal of raising $12,500 through an art auction prior to the awards ceremony quickly moved toward an ambitious goal of raising $225,000 by leveraging the event as an opportunity to share information about future plans and programs at First Peoples Fund, and to clearly articulate the need for—and celebrate the contributions of—partners from across the country who champion the organization’s work and enable it to flourish.

Through creative cultivation plans, board development and advisement, and integrated communication activities, The Numad Group:

  • Researched and developed a brand platform, attributes and high-level messaging for First Peoples Fund, as well as for each of their programmatic initiatives.
  • Implemented a reinvigorated, integrated visual design for a variety of publications and online initiatives, both reintroducing the organization to stakeholders across the country while also showcasing the Indigenous artists (and their work) who are at the heart of First Peoples Fund.
  • Of note, the inclusion of new social media strategies and engagement introduced more than 1.4 million new people to First Peoples Fund online.
  • Worked with local and regional media to place stories about the event—and organization—in a number of news outlets.
  • Increased visibility and reach of First Peoples Fund through a social media strategy and execution of paid social advertising that targeted artists and benefactors who align with First Peoples Fund’s mission.
  • Walked with the president, board of directors and key personnel throughout the planning and implementation of the donor cultivation strategy and event, providing guidance, talking points and strategy for a variety of in-person and direct mail communications.
  • Engaged more than 40 First Peoples artists and alumni, all of who donated an original piece of their artwork to the art auction.
  • Developed a 12-month donor cultivation and communication plan for implementation by First Peoples Fund, in partnership with The Numad Group, over the following year, enhancing the organization’s capacity and ability to strategically engage current and historic donors, attendees at events, artists, and arts’ supporters in ways that were more comprehensive and more strategic in the long-term than had ever been possible before.
  • Developed a structure and process for the organization to capture donor and attendee data so that the implementation of the new, strategic and robust cultivation and stewardship plan could be implemented successfully.  In so doing, an additional donor base was developed.

The results of the fundraising and communication exceeded the organization’s financial goals, with the art auction not only selling out—but also actually overselling the number of tickets originally allocated for the event.

Last year, The Numad Group once again partnered with First Peoples Fund to build off the successes of 2012 to fundraise and market the 2014 event, which continued a successful track record. We continue to be engaged through 2015 to provide support for donor development and communication activities.

Web Development

The Numad Group led First Peoples Fund through its seven-step web development method to launch the organization’s new brand platform online—which now includes artist profiles, clear processes and steps for participating in fellowship and professional development programs, and celebrates the work Native artists are doing across the country today.

Clear calls to action for artist fellows and donors has resulted in increased applications (and participation) in Artist in Business Leadership and Cultural Capital Fellowship Programs, the Native Artist Professional Development Training Program, and the Community Spirit Awards. Since the launch of the website:

  • First Peoples Fund is receiving increased online donations from current and new donors.
  • Visits to the website have doubled in the past six months, and more than 60 percent of visitors are new to the organization—which means that new audiences, and prospective donors, are learning about First Peoples Fund through online initiatives.
  • Social media engagement has tripled in the past year.