Capital Campaign Case Study ~ Lodi Christian School


Founded in 2008 as a non-denominational Christian school serving pre-kindergarten through 8th grade, Lodi Christian School has always sought to provide a sound academic education integrated with a Biblical worldview. Located 30 miles south of Sacremento, California, the school was blessed to have the cooperation of both Calvary Baptist Church and Faith Community Church providing locations from which the school operated. Lodi’s focus on spiritual growth in an environment of high academic standards led to a 50% enrollment growth, which made the need for larger facilities a must.


Soon after the Board made the decision to explore relocation options, Temple Baptist Church contacted the school with a co-location offer. The partnership would provide the church with a means to fulfill its goals for providing families with the opportunity for Christian education while providing the school with an opportunity for amazing, state-of-the-art, new facilities in a highly convenient location ~ immediately adjacent to a Christian High School ~ and at a fraction of what it would otherwise cost to build from the ground up at a “green-field” site.

The Plan

Temple Baptist Church and Lodi Christian School partnered together to design a 32,000 square foot addition to the church’s campus providing classrooms equipped with modern technology, a multi-purpose gym with a full basketball court, bleachers, a kitchen with a concession area, and ample office space.

Additionally, the relocation would also provide the school with two softball fields, a new soccer field, new playground and equipment, and increased campus security, including security cameras.

Pre-Campaign Planning

In order to make the partnership work, Lodi Christian School would need to raise the money required to cover the costs of the expanded square footage and other modifications to the church’s campus. In addition, the Board determined that additional funds were needed for academic enhancements, such as technology and supplies, and to provide additional benefits for faculty. Though the total costs were less than what would have been needed without the co-location opportunity that the church provided, the amount to be raised still represented a significant hurdle for the LCS constituency. Therefore, prior to finalizing the agreement with the church, the Board of Directors hired Dickerson, Bakker & Associates to undertake an independent and confidential feasibility study among the school’s constituency.

The study involved nearly 100 families touching on such subjects as how the school is perceived spiritually and academically; understanding of future program and financial needs; the prospect of relocating to the new facility; understanding the funding needed and whether or not such funding would be provided.

The study resulted in a recommendation that a capital campaign to secure the funding was possible – but in order to achieve the goal, a well thought out and personalized plan had to be created and implemented.

With the assurance provided by the feasibility study, the Board voted to proceed with the partnership agreement and to formally launch a capital campaign to raise the needed funds.

The Campaign

In order to make sure people clearly understood both the need and the vision, a case for support, printed materials, and video were produced early on in the campaign.

The next step was to recruit and train volunteers who would represent the school and be willing to solicit major donors – for without this critical step being done well, the campaign would fail.

Dickerson, Bakker & Associates then directed a mini-campaign among the Lodi Board of Directions. After securing 100% participation and a significant commitment total, the campaign moved on to involve the faculty and staff. These early steps demonstrated that the leadership of Lodi was committed to the campaign.

Following this, volunteers then began meeting with potential lead donors -some for solicitation meetings and others, who were in need of knowing more about LCS, for cultivation meetings. After sharing information about the school and campaign with these potential donors, secondary meetings for solicitation took place.

As the feasibility study had predicted, there were no “huge gifts”. However, several generous lead gifts inspired others to give generously as well. The combination of the lead gifts and participation by many making smaller commitments plus a handful of special gifts was sufficient to reach the goal.

Soon, the concrete foundation was laid and the steel framework started going up. The facility was on track to be ready for the next school year, as planned.


Achieved school's financial objectives related to $6 million construction costs

Campaign completed on time to finish construction and move into new facilities on time for new school year

Provided for relocation to an all-new, centrally located campus with modern classrooms, full gymnasium, kitchen & concessions, playground, and athletic fields.

Resulting expansion allows for increased enrollment, expanded programs, better learning environments, enhanced technologies, and a safer, more inviting school community.


Given the enormous amount of money we had to raise, we needed somebody who actually had done something like this before… Dickerson-Bakker was fabulous in giving us the road map we needed to help us succeed. If any of my colleagues are looking for a recommendation related to a consulting firm to hire to help with their campaign, I can wholeheartedly recommend Dickerson, Bakker & Associates!
Ron Hittle, Principal ~ Lodi Christian School


No doubt you’ve heard it said that successful major gift fund development is “all about relationships”. We couldn’t agree more. At the same time, however, it just isn’t that simple. Real success in major gift fundraising is about strategically managing relationships with high-value donors in order to maximize their understanding of, interest in, involvement with, and commitment to your organization and its underlying mission. Even the word “relationships” is ambiguous. Major donors don’t have “relationships” with organizations. They have relationships with people in the organization. Too many put too much emphasis on the relationship with the development officer and overlook the importance of others. Relationships between your organization and its major donors actually have multiple dimensions, each increasingly important as you advance to higher tiers of giving.

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The case statement, also known as the “case for support,” provides a glimpse into the heart of a non-profit organization and is a vital part of any major gift fundraising effort. With over twenty years experience working with major donors we know what they are looking for in an offer. We will work with you to craft a compelling and professional case for support and guide you through the development of additional collateral materials needed to effectively present your case. We will also spend time in the field with your team to help them hone their presentation skills and train them in the “Art of the Close”.

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Of all the building blocks needed to create a major gift program, none is more important than the people you have in place on your major gift leadership team. Having the right people in the right roles is a critical part of the Keystone Solution™ and we will work with you to ensure that your staff and volunteers are well-trained and appropriately gifted for their roles. If necessary, we will work with you to recruit additional members to your major gift leadership team.

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Any good fisherman knows that you can’t catch a big fish if you’ve got your line in the wrong pond. The future success of any major gift fund-raising program is built upon the organization’s ability to attract new donors to support its mission. To ensure on-going growth, a wide base of dynamic support is necessary, which presumes that a significant number of new major donors must be acquired and subsequently nurtured and elevated to rising giving levels. Using both “high-tech” and “high-touch” approaches we will work with your organization to identify a pool of best major gift prospects for your major gift program and to segment them into prioritized lists. As part of our prospecting services, we are also able to provide Donor Research Services to help you realize the major gift potential in your donor database and circles of influence.

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Successful major gift fundraising is both an art and a science. The art is in the relationships, but the science is in the systems. Someone once said, “Motivation is what gets you started; good habits are what keep you going.” Putting good major gift development policies and procedures in place and getting into the habit of living by them is a critical part of making a program sustainable. Dickerson, Bakker & Associates will work with your organization to implement best practices within your major gift development department to ensure that the improvements we put in place will continue not just beyond our term of service but can be consistently applied even if you have a turnover of staff.

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An organization’s brand is perhaps its most important asset. Most people think of brand superficially—considering only those aspects encompassing the “look and feel” of an organization (e.g. name, logo, etc.). Those brand marks are just outward expressions of your brand, however. At a deeper level, BRAND represents a promise to your constituents of those quintessential qualities that define who you are, what you do, and what you stand for as an organization. Doubt about the integrity of an organization’s brand promise almost always has a detrimental effect on giving, regardless of the effectiveness or competency of the fund development staff. Establishing and adhering to a clear focused brand is foundational in your ability to communicate who you are, what you do, where you are going, and how you will get there.

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CULTURE refers to the collective attitudes that characterize and impact the ways that an organization’s people will perceive one another and work together. A “development-friendly” culture provides a fertile soil for giving to flourish. Dickerson, Bakker & Associates has identified six ingredients that together comprise a vibrant, development-friendly culture, and—if consistently applied—will significantly improve your organization’s ability to consistently garner high-level investments from major donors.

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While mainstream donors may be satisfied with a simple understanding of what an organization does, major donors are more interested in what an organization achieves, or—more specifically—will achieve with the money they invest. Major donors want to know how their investment is helping bring about positive change in the lives of people. Major donors increasingly condition giving upon delivery of impact metrics, often requesting information on outcomes even before investing. Organizations that are serious about achieving success in major gift development will therefore do best when they embrace a culture that supports and encourages outcomes thinking.

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