Preparing for USM Wesley Foundation's Capital Campaign
The Client's Perspective
“Arthur Alley has exponentially projected the USM Wesley from a place of fundraising scarcity to a place of strategic fundraising that will positively impact this ministry for decades.”
Rev. Eric Davis, Director
The need for a capital campaign.
The USM Wesley Foundation (“the Wesley”) is a Christian-based ministry at the University of Southern Mississippi to strengthen all students, particularly encouraging academic, life skill, mental health, and faith-centered growth, and giving them the wings to soar as our future faith leaders, employees, family members, and citizens.
The Rev. Eric Davis, the Wesley’s Director, recognized that its facility was a significant barrier to the current and long-term success of programming. The building, situated in the center of a college campus, often floods after heavy rain and is not large enough for the growing number of students who benefit from the Wesley experience. As a minister in his young career, Eric had no experience managing and growing a fundraising program to the point it could launch a capital campaign.
Arthur Alley's approach led to a strategic, personalized plan of action.
Arthur Alley assessed the USM Wesley’s unique situation and created an individualized plan to position the organization’s readiness for a successful capital. The plan to position an organization for growth may vary, depending on specific organizational needs. For the Wesley, Arthur Alley led the way to:
Stabilize and Grow Annual Funding
The first step was to strengthen the Wesley’s annual fundraising efforts. Arthur Alley provided one-on-one coaching to create and help implement an annual fund plan that involved a variety of fundraising vehicles and the networks of an expanding board. The Wesley’s fundraising program grew as more donors were acquired, existing donors renewed annual commitments, and an increasing number of donors committed to a newly developed monthly giving program. By the end of 2022, the Wesley celebrated more than 100 donors who contribute monthly!
Empower the Board
Once annual fundraising efforts were stable and growing, Arthur Alley focused on capital campaign preparation. Arthur Alley consultants led board training sessions, board member assessment, and individual meetings to help members understand and define their roles in the development/fundraising process. Outcomes included raising specific board member expectations and increasing board engagement in fund development that led to positive change.
Conduct and Complete a Campaign Readiness Study
Arthur Alley launched a capital campaign readiness study and developed a strong case statement for support to test donor and public reaction to the proposed capital project. Our research revealed that, while the reaction to a capital campaign was positive, the financial goal was most often cited as unachievable. As a result, the Wesley board engaged an architect to design a less expensive building option and a detailed sustainability plan. The less expensive (and equally useful) design boosted board members' confidence in moving forward to achieve its financial goal.
The Wesley and Arthur Alley partnership results.
Robust, diverse annual fund program
Realistic capital fundraising goal
Strong case for support that all agree will support success
Sustainability plan in place during and beyond the capital campaign
Board confidence in voting to move forward with a capital campaign
Together, Arthur Alley’s team of consultants bring more than 100 years of proven, successful fundraising experience to the table.
From coaching volunteers, major gift and planned gift solicitation, grant writing, and fund development achievement, Arthur Alley remains committed to our client’s success.