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A view of the Guthrie from Gold Medal Park. Photo by Mark Vancleave.

About Guthrie Theater

The Guthrie Theater engages exceptional theater artists in the exploration of both classic and contemporary plays connecting the community we serve to one another and to the world. Through its extraordinary artists, staff and facility, the Guthrie is committed to the people of Minnesota, and from its place, rooted deeply in the Twin Cities, influences the field as a leading 21st century arts organization.

What We Heard

Like nearly all of its peers, the Guthrie’s operations were significantly impeded by the COVID-19 pandemic; the theater has continued to work to rebuild its live audience even as the pandemic has receded. Major gifts were critical to the Guthrie during this challenging time, but the development team observed that it was more difficult than they expected to secure meetings with prospective donors who “looked like” good major gift prospects based on their capacity and giving history. They urgently needed to understand which prospects their lean team should focus on and forecast what the organization might expect from these donors in current and deferred gifts.

The 700-seat McGuire Proscenium Stage. Photo by Roland Halbe.
The Dowling Studio is a flexible theater space on our ninth floor that can seat up to 199 patrons. Photo by Michal Daniel.

Our Impact

Campbell & Company pulled a range of data from Tessitura that would help analyze each constituent’s engagement with the Guthrie and developed a custom engagement score based on how they interacted with the Guthrie before, during, and after the height of the pandemic. We used these scores and the donor’s capacity and giving history to forecast their gift amounts and demonstrate where the Guthrie should focus in order to reach its fundraising goals.

We also analyzed the Guthrie’s planned giving expectancy file in order to assess how recent efforts to reinvigorate its planned giving society might impact the amount of annual endowment draws in future years, based on the forecasted realization of planned gifts.

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“Campbell & Company has been our consulting team for a couple of years now, and this analysis is an example of how they work creatively and diligently to answer the questions we are wrestling with as an organization. We had an anecdotal sense of how we might achieve our goals, but Campbell & Company brought a level of rigor that gave our leadership confidence in our path.”

Jennifer BaumgartnerCampaign Director


The Guthrie is proceeding with its fundraising plans, with a stronger prospect list and a more realistic sense of what contribution might be expected from the individuals on the list. The analysis identified a segment of highly-engaged patrons with strong capacity who were not managed by Guthrie staff; the team is taking steps to qualify and cultivate these individuals, who are key to the future major gift pipeline.

The 700-seat McGuire Proscenium Stage. Photo by Roland Halbe.
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