Event Recap: WIN NYC x Vivaldi x The Syria Fund, A Workshop for the Greater Good

Last month, WIN and growth strategy firm Vivaldi hosted an event in support of The Syria Fund. The Syria Fund is a not-for-profit organization devoted to providing humanitarian aid to the estimated 1.3 million Syrians in Jordan, only 650,000 of whom are officially registered as refugees. Together, we spent the evening helping The Syria Fund in its efforts to enrich lives by building educational programs and providing communities with critically-needed items like food, hygiene, and fuel.

After hearing from The Syria Fund’s founder Lexi Shereshewsky, Vivaldi innovators led us in a hands-on workshop, using fundamental principles of innovation, to help the organization better appeal to and engage with potential donors.


In preparation for the event, Vivaldi had collaborated with The Syria Fund to identify three target audiences: the corporate sponsor, the high-wealth individual, and the individual donor. During the event, we asked, “how might The Syria Fund appeal to these potential donors on a personal level?” Highlighted below is a deep-dive into one of the solutions - how a campaign calendar might be leveraged in order to engage high-wealth donors.

Step 1: Get to Know the Design Target

Before The Syria Fund can motivate a potential donor, it must be familiar with who they are, what they do, and why they do it. For this exercise, we assumed that the typical high-wealth individual is a 55+ year old male, nearing retirement, and with a high disposable income. This person might donate time and money semi-regularly and attend fundraising events. His hobbies include actively following the news, golfing, and catching up with friends and colleagues. Finally, in order to understand a person’s “why,” we imagined his emotional territories and motivations. For example, many high-wealth individuals value close personal relationships with people and organizations, seek personal fulfillment through philanthropy, care about their reputation and legacy, and want transparency into where their money goes. With all of this in mind, our group moved on to Step 2: Brainstorm the Persona.

Step 2: Brainstorm the Persona

In this second step, our group met “Mark,” an imaginary wealthy individual. Mark is a 62-year-old retired lawyer, with three kids and an annual retirement income of $200,000. Our group made some informed assumptions about his hobbies, media use, and motivations. For fun, Mark goes to the theater, drinks with coworkers, and is a member of  social clubs. Mark gets his news from CNN, the BBC, and The New York Times. He is motivated by his grandkids, his religion, and his desire to leave a legacy and feel productive. Next, we asked, “why would Mark donate?” and conversely, “why wouldn’t Mark donate?” The answers to these questions were driven by understanding his motivations to care for his family and uphold his reputation.


Step 3: Ideation Template

Finally, our team individually generated ideas as to how we could leverage a campaign calendar in order to engage high-wealth donors. After brainstorming the persona, we honed in on the insight that high wealth donors care about their children and grandchildren. Our team suggested a music partnership between a school in the United States and a school in Jordan, which taps into a love for music and an appreciation for the other school’s culture. Around the winter holidays, the American school could host a concert, bringing together the students’ family and friends. Knowing that family and philanthropy motivate high wealth donors, our team hoped that parents and grandparents will appreciate the time and effort the students put into preparing for the concert and would subsequently donate to The Syria Fund.


To Conclude…

This three step process was completed by nine groups total, resulting in a broad portfolio of ideas for the The Syria Fund; this idea portfolio was packaged up and delivered to The Syria Fund for possible future implementation. Check out the WIN Public Drive to get access to the materials used for each step!

Written by Emma Anderson, Katie Oberwager, and Pamela Duncan . Huge thank you to the team at Vivaldi and at the The Syria Fund.

Photos by Katie Burwick.

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