Faces of WID – January 2021

Jeanne's HeadshotName: Jeanne Kinch

Title & Organization: Director of Development, Gloucester Stage Company

WID Role: Member
Hometown: Western MA 
Lives Currently: Manchester, MA 
Education: BS in Business Administration, Dual Concentration in Marketing and International Business, Northeastern University
Hobbies: Running, traveling, exploring nature

How have you been coping personally during quarantine?

I have found that keeping daily routines provides a sense of balance amid the uncertainty. I also allow time for getting outdoors, whether it’s a mindful walk in the woods or chasing the sunset by the water.

When and how did you join the development field? What path brought you to your current role?

I began my role at Gloucester Stage in April during these strange times! Prior to this, I spent many years in enterprise technology sales and when I embarked on a career transition, the development field made sense to me. My approach has always been client/donor centric.

Tell us a bit about the organization for which you currently work and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the organization’s work:

As a non-profit theater, Gloucester Stage has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. We made the decision in April to postpone our season to 2021, with a quick transition to 8 online productions, including a virtual gala. It is hard to gauge when audiences will feel comfortable to gather in a theater again. In the meantime, we are working toward finding a new safe and socially distanced solution to make live theater a reality this year.

What are some tips and tricks you have incorporated/learned from fundraising during the COVID-19 global pandemic?

It is important to stay the course and invest in your fundraising efforts. At the start of the pandemic we immediately made our board, donors and subscribers aware of how our mission would be impacted. We continued to stay engaged and when we asked for assistance we found many more than not stepped up to help. Our subscribers donated the cost of their tickets, our board reached out to their network to make our online gala a success and setting up a COVID Response Fund campaign brought us first time donors.

Why did you join WIDGB? How long have you been a member?

I recently joined WIDGB as a New to the Profession member. I joined for the professional development and networking programs.

Describe your biggest development success story to date Or Can you share with us an inspiring development story from your career?

While starting in development during a pandemic was not anticipated, our ability to adapt and stay engaged as an organization provided me with the foundation to take advantage of the downtime to build deeper personalized donor relationships with frequent and honest communication. It was never about another ask but more about catching up with a close invested friend. One donor wrote me a personal note expressing his appreciation of my “professional, caring and empathetic attitude.” He included a donation with that note.

What advice would you offer to someone new in the field of development? Be authentic.

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