Strategic Advisors Advancing Culture and Education

Fundraising Strategy

Case Studies

A case study in fundraising strategy

Detroit Institute of Arts

Developing a fundraising framework for a transformative endowment campaign.


The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is a world-class museum deeply embedded in the cultural and civic life of Detroit. In the past decade, the Museum has expanded and reinstalled galleries, became the beneficiary of a regional millage initiative that ensures operating support through 2022, and navigated the City of Detroit’s 2014 “Grand Bargain,” which resolved the City’s bankruptcy and placed under Museum ownership all collections, buildings, and grounds.

With the appointment of Salvador Salort-Pons as director in 2015, DIA focused its fundraising planning on raising an endowment to secure the long-term financial future of the Museum. In fall 2016, DIA engaged KW to develop a framework of actions to move the Museum forward in its endowment fundraising.

Key issues included setting campaign goals and timing, establishing an effective case for support, and refining the prospect pool and prospect strategy. Equally important was defining and organizing the necessary staffing and resources to support the campaign. KW met with Trustees, donors, and other stakeholders and worked with the development team on an assessment of the prospect pool. KW also interviewed a set of the Museum’s national funding partners to help inform the case for support. KW developed a campaign framework for the Museum that was shared with the Director and Endowment Sub-Committee in early 2017.