Comprehensive Capital Campaign Assessment & Planning
An objective analysis of your organization’s fundraising strengths and weaknesses is invaluable, but even more so if you are planning a significant endowment or capital campaign.
When a thorough study is completed by unbiased professionals, the candid feedback and practical recommendations give you and your organization’s leadership a clear plan of action, detailing what is working, what needs to be fixed, and where you can find the best path for fundraising success.
Combined, our staff and associates have led over 300 campaign studies for a wide array of nonprofit organizations across the nation.
We will assess and measure your organization’s readiness to launch a major fundraising effort based on a detailed analysis of the organization and interviews with key donors, prospects, board members and staff.
Scope of Services
Our normal scope of services for a Campaign Study includes:
- Assess perceptions related to fundraising, both internally (within the staff and board) and externally, with donors, volunteers, community leaders and prospective donors.
- Evaluate past and current marketing efforts that directly impact fundraising success.
- Assist in the development of the case for support with input from staff, board and key constituency leadership.
- Using personal interviews, phone conversations and electronic surveys, we gauge the potential level of support for the planned campaign effort.
- Validate and recommend an achievable campaign goal with detailed analysis of likely gift ranges, number of gifts at each level and campaign calendar.
- Research and offer advice regarding marketing potential naming opportunities tied to likely donation levels.
- Provide strategies for identifying, selecting and recruiting campaign leadership (by name) including Campaign chair (or co-chairs), potential for Honorary Chair(s), and Campaign steering committee.
- Identify qualified donor prospects for the campaign, including a working list for the campaign with specific pledge ranges for each prospect.
- Develop campaign policies and procedures as needed, and provide additional strategies to ensure the organization is fully prepared to accept and steward major and planned gifts during the campaign process.
- Present to the Board the findings and, if requested, we also conduct a Board Fund Development Training Session with the goal of initial solicitation training for the Capital Campaign.
Burlington Baptist Church (Burlington, KY)
Burlington Baptist Church has served the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area since 1842, making this faith community one of the oldest in the Tri-state region. In 2010, the Church turned to Dr. Steve McSwain of Ashley | Rountree for counsel on planning their capital campaign.
As our lead consultant in the Religion and Faith Division of Ashley | Rountree, Dr. Steve McSwain is a former minister and Kentucky native who has over 15 years of experience in leading similar studies and managing campaigns for 200-plus churches across the nation. Working with staff of Ashley | Rountree, as well as the staff of Burlington Baptist, McSwain led the congregation in a thorough pre-campaign assessment, engaging all leaders and members of the Church in a dialogue about a proposed $1.7 million capital campaign. The campaign study required numerous confidential interviews with key leaders and donors, as well as several group meetings and a church-wide survey.
As a direct result of the campaign study, the Church conclusively decided that it could successfully raise at least $1 million, with the real possibility of raising even more once that goal was achieved. In order to assure a smooth transition to their goal, they asked Dr. McSwain and Ashley | Rountree to manage the campaign, leading the campaign volunteers to achieve their goal. Within just a few months, Burlington Baptist Church successfully went over its $1 million goal and they continue to collect more funds.
At the conclusion of the campaign, Pastor Todd Toole wrote, “I am thrilled with the outcomes in our campaign. Steve McSwain, fulfilled every request from every one concerned. We had more members participate in the campaign than in any effort in the history of the church. I would also say that I have been involved as a pastor in several capital campaigns and this was by far the most organized, pointed and successful. Dr. McSwain and Ashley | Rountree served our church well and I would be more than happy to offer my personal endorsement to any church leader wishing to know more about the quality of expertise they brought to our campaign and the experience we had with them.”
The de Paul School (Louisville, KY)
The de Paul School is a private, independent, non-sectarian school dedicated to teaching students in grades 1-8 with learning differences how to learn, how to be independent, and how to be successful. Founded in 1970, The de Paul School has provided unsurpassed service to children with learning differences and the School also guided educators in other states to create schools modeled after the Louisville example. The de Paul School is nationally accredited and one of the nation’s largest independent schools for students with learning differences. Programs similar to The de Paul School have continued to thrive in Eastern Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania.
Jewish Family & Career Services (Louisville, KY)
Jewish Family & Career Services (formerly known as Jewish Family & Vocational Service) is a nonprofit comprehensive human services organization that serves the Louisville Metro community. Founded in 1908, the roots of JFCS began within the Jewish community, but today JFCS serves people of all faiths in Metro Louisville with programs focusing on family, work, education, older adults, immigrants and refugees.
In 2007, as JFCS approached its Centennial, staff and board leadership envisioned a $2.75 million campaign specifically targeted for growing the organization’s endowment. Knowing that an endowment campaign was an unusual and ambitious step, JFCS leaders sought expert outside counsel to assess the feasibility of such a campaign and they turned to Ashley | Rountree for advice. In addition to conducting numerous confidential interviews with leading donors and prospective donors, our consultants also evaluated JFCS annual programs, looking at the potential to sustain critical annual donations and also grow major gifts program during and after an endowment campaign. Knowing that the board had not undertaken such a campaign in many years, we also worked side by side with staff and board to provide board training that would strengthen the their capacity to engage in a major campaign and serve to clarify roles and expectations.
Due in large part to information confirmed by Ashley | Rountree consultants in confidential interviews, our assessment study concluded that the $2.75 million campaign was feasible. The JFCS board accepted the study’s recommendations and moved ahead with their campaign, asking Ashley | Rountree to provide ongoing campaign management. Midway through the campaign, the goal was raised to $3 million thanks to the early success of major gift solicitations. Our consultants helped the campaign committee and JFCS articulate that the new, higher goal reflected increased needs and JFCS was now able to build upon the early success of the campaign. In the months that followed, the campaign topped $3.2 million in cash and confirmed planned gift commitments to the JFCS endowment, including a lead gift of nearly $1 million. The final goal tally also provided an extra $275,000 in new programmatic funds.
Hosparus (Louisville, KY; New Albany, IN; Elizabethtown, KY; Bowling Green, KY)
Hosparus is the region’s leading hospice care provider, serving more than 5,000 patients annually in 36 counties across Kentucky and Southern Indiana. A Joint Commission-accredited, nonprofit hospice organization, Hosparus has for has been providing care, comfort and counseling over 30 years.
After undergoing a significant change in staff leadership, Hosparus turned to Ashley | Rountree in 2009 for assistance to help provide campaign direction and counsel for a new capital campaign. The campaign envisions a $14.5 million effort to support renovation and construction for facilities used for staff at the headquarters in Louisville, as well as offices in New Albany (Indiana) and Elizabethtown (Kentucky). The campaign supports new programs and endowment funds, providing much-needed stability in a time of shifting health care funding dynamics. Our consultants helped to provide structure and recruiting strategies for campaign volunteers and directed efforts to cultivate and secure major gifts. The campaign is currently in a quiet phase but has already secured three $500,000 gifts—the largest in the agency’s history. Our consultants recently devised a comprehensive, 30-county prospect-screening program to assist Hosparus staff and board in boosting new prospects for gifts to the campaign.
Recently, Hosparus asked Ashley | Rountree to evaluate its annual giving programs and make recommendations on how to grow and sustain a new base of entry-level donors during the campaign. Using best-practice methods from peer hospices nationally, the program was redesigned to focus on gaining new support from families served by Hosparus and improving the cost-efficiency for special events, among other efforts. Later that same year, Hosparus leadership asked Ashley | Rountree to serve as interim staff, leading a staff of 18 in Advancement and Public Affairs, and to direct a national search for a new Senior VP. Both the reorganization and the search were successfully concluded within 4 months.
Farmington Historic Home (Louisville, KY)
Farmington Historic Home is one of Kentucky’s most invaluable historic and educational resources. A 14-room Federal-style home that was built for John and Lucy Fry Speed and their family of 13 children in 1815-1816, the house was the center of a 550-acre hemp plantation. In 1959, Farmington opened as the first house museum in the Louisville area and today the museum owns 18 acres of the original property.
Beginning in 2007, the staff and volunteer leaders at Farmington started planning for a comprehensive capital campaign to enhance educational exhibits and visitor services, and to complete critical restorations throughout the property. The Farmington Historic Home Trustees, which operates Farmington on behalf of the Historic Homes Foundation, contacted Ashley | Rountree for assistance in conducting a campaign feasibility study to determine the likely success of a proposed $1 million effort. Since such a large campaign had never been attempted and the philanthropic appeal of the programs was admittedly specialized, the board thought it wise to engage outside expert help with deep expertise in local philanthropy and campaign management.
In addition to conducting numerous confidential interviews with prospective donors, our consultants worked with staff and board to provide board training to prepare them for a major campaign and clarify roles and expectations. As a result of the study’s affirming results, the board asked Ashley | Rountree to remain as campaign counsel, assisting staff (only two full-time employees and no dedicated fundraising professional) and a newly formed campaign committee. Early in the campaign, our consultants were helpful in guiding efforts to receive a $200,000 challenge grant and two $100,000 gifts, among others. Despite the recent national recession, Farmington was successful in going over its $1 million goal. Just prior to the campaign’s completion in early 2011, Ashley | Rountree consultants led the board in two planning retreats focused on strengthening and growing the membership of the board with an eye on increasing sustained annual support for Farmington.
The Louisville Zoo
The Louisville Zoo, the state zoo of Kentucky, is a nonprofit organization founded 42 years ago and dedicated to the pursuits of education, conservation, scientific study and recreation. The Zoo’s extensive collections include botanical gardens and exhibits with over 1,300 animals in naturalistic settings representing both geographical areas and biomes or habitats. The Zoo has over 35,000 members and 800,000 annual visitors, making it one of the nation’s most-visited zoos.
Ashley | Rountree consultants have been honored to help the Zoo successfully complete two successive capital campaigns. In 2004, board and staff leaders approached Ashley | Rountree to assist in managing the final phase of a campaign for a new aviary exhibit that would highlight the Zoo’s lorikeets. Once finished, the Zoo asked our consultants to undertake an assessment study to examine the feasibility of a campaign for an ambitious new exhibit, Glacier Run, which would require more than $20 million, the largest fundraising effort in the Zoo’s history. As a result of helpful information secured by Ashley | Rountree in over 40 community interviews, the boards of the Zoo and the Zoo Foundation concluded that a goal of $25 million-plus was achievable. The Zoo once again turned to Ashley | Rountree in 2005 to serve as campaign counsel, guiding staff and board to successfully go over goal with more than $26 million raised by campaign’s end in 2010, including a successful $900,000 challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation.
Simultaneously with these campaigns, Zoo staff has asked for focused assistance in evaluating opportunities for growing the annual giving program. The team from Ashley | Rountree guided the Zoo in creating innovative methods for converting members to donors, as well as strategies for identifying affinities within non-donor groups. Also, our consultants provided ongoing coaching to senior staff leadership, covering a variety of areas in development, community outreach and board relations.