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Capital Campaign Case Study | Buffalo City Mission
BCM’s main building for men was not only outdated, but it also lacked the warmth and dignity essential for the people it served. With 96 men sleeping in cramped bunk beds, hygiene and sanitation became major concerns. The building’s limitations also extended to the staff, with no dedicated space for the development office, forcing them to work in a separate location. This physical disconnect made it even more challenging for the organization to build and maintain strong relationships with its donor base.
The organization’s marketing efforts were spread thin, attempting to cover all aspects of its operations. While the team possessed an aptitude for sales, their underperforming database hindered their overall efficiency. For every dollar they raised, they were losing $2.15, creating a “leaky bucket” scenario that left them struggling to make a meaningful impact.
BCM knew it needed to launch a capital campaign to address its facility’s shortcomings and improve its services. However, BCM also recognized the lack of close relationships with donors that were necessary for a successful campaign. This realization highlighted the need for the organization to deepen its connections with supporters in conjunction with its fundraising efforts.
To further support this vision, BCM has developed tools and strategies that have consistently yielded positive results, with the two campaigns complimenting each other and driving funds to new heights. This success has enabled the organization to hire two additional major gifts staff members, strengthening its capacity to build and maintain strong relationships with donors.
Pre Campaign Planning
The next step was to engage DickersonBakker to conduct an independent Feasibility Study among the Mission’s constituency. The results of the Study indicated that BCM could realistically expect to raise $4.5 Million Dollars. Despite this discouraging news, the big thing BCM had going for them was its Associate Executive Director of Development, Aubrey Calhoun, and its Executive Director, Stuart Harper. These two individuals were committed to doing whatever they needed to do to raise the funds.
DickersonBakker provided a preliminary plan to show how the funding goal could be achieved. The firm brought in a trusted alliance, Kevin Foster, who is the managing principal of Capital for Compassion to talk to BCM about applying for an Affordable Housing Program Grant and New Market Tax Credits. Another unique aspect about this campaign is that DickersonBakker managed a Major Gifts Program alongside the Capital Campaign.
Between the tenacity of the BCM team, bringing in Capital for Compassion, adding in Dickerson Bakker’s Major Gift Fund Development Program, and especially, seeking God’s blessing, a blueprint was in place for raising the large goal of $15 Million Dollars.
A strong partnership with its consultant, Shawn Saunders, played a crucial role in guiding the campaign to success. Shawn’s expertise not only assisted Calhoun in crafting tailored communications to major donors, but also supported the team by creating key performance indicators, dashboards, building portfolios, providing hands-on major gift training through going on visits, and making calls to help them in the “art of the ask.”
BCM’s commitment to “doing whatever it takes” was evident in its approach to creating transformational donor experiences. BCM organized a range of events, including discovery tours, leadership briefings, groundbreakings, and press conferences, to engage and inspire its supporters. These events unified the community and evolved into a powerful movement that redefined the organization’s potential for impact.