Case Study

Backline: A Fundraising Roadmap

Point of Departure

Addressing the unique mental health challenges presented within the music industry, Backline connects touring artists, crews, and their families with mental health and wellness resources including support groups, case managers, and trusted healthcare providers - at reduced or no personal cost to the recipients of care. Backline’s programs are entirely funded by charitable donations and sponsorships.

From their founding in 2019, Backline recognized that their biggest opportunity for impact required being readily available to music industry professionals in need of care, no matter their location, time zone, or level of urgency. Backline set their sights on scaling nationwide to provide resources in all locations, and to increase the number of case managers to quickly provide quality care. 

Executive director Hilary Gleason is the organization’s primary fundraiser, working with a team of part-time employees to build programs and generate funding. Backline retained Magenta to formalize their fundraising process and create a revenue generation strategy to support their national expansion.

Flight Plan

Magenta’s work began with organizing past supporters and potential donors into a prospect list, supplementing Backline’s targets with our own research to identify well-aligned funders. Potential funders were categorized into corporate, foundation,   major individual gifts, broad-based giving, and artist contributions (percentage of ticket sales, etc.). 

From there, Magenta identified four compelling “fundraising moments” that tied in with Backline’s mission: the Break the Barriers launch (early 2023), Mental Health Awareness Month (May), World Mental Health Day (October), and year-end giving. Magenta cross-referenced each donor with an appropriate funding initiative, which was then assigned to a Backline team member. Thus, each prospect fell into a well-aligned initiative, with a clear timeline, under an accountable team member - all codified in a document coined the “Roadmap to Goal”. The Roadmap was supplemented with a monthly action plan for targeting donor groups and keeping fundraising tasks on pace with revenue goals.


Backline’s Roadmap aligned each potential donor with a campaign to create a compelling ask for the donor while clustering prospects within a specific piece of the solicitation process. For example, Backline approached past corporate donors under $5,000 to contribute to a $20,000 matching “bucket.” The match incentivized individual donors to collectively raise an additional $20,000 during May - Mental Health Awareness Month. The initiative created a sense of urgency for smaller corporate donors to renew, tied a high-impact initiative to their giving, and encouraged other donors to follow suit. Of note, the campaign was primarily conducted by a Backline team member, shifting a portion of the fundraising action items away from executive director Hilary’s long to-do list. 

Across the board, introducing structure and process to major fundraising moments equipped Backline’s team to execute on 90% of solicitations, freeing up the executive director to focus on cultivating the 10% of funders with the potential to contribute six-figure gifts.

Point of Arrival

In 2023, Backline secured its two largest donations to date: a $250,000 donation from the North American Concert Promoters Organization, and a recurring, monthly donation from an anonymous individual donor totaling $100,000 in multi-year support. With her team enabled to execute on day-to-day fundraising processes, Hilary committed herself to the largest opportunities, securing unprecedented gifts for the organization.

Magenta also worked with Backline to develop communications around their remarkable scale, leveraging newsworthy fundraising progress to inspire their broader audience to join Backline on its mission to serve music industry professionals nationally. Guided by Magenta’s Roadmap assigning clear ownership, timeline, and process, giving has increased across multiple levels: even removing the two new major gifts, cash in the door is up 23% over the past 12 months. Backline blew past its 2023 fundraising goal, and is currently working with Magenta to set a strategic plan for the next several years of scale.

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