The Advancement Tour to the UK is an incredible week of case studies and best practice solutions in advancement from leading fundraisers from the educational, research, arts, health and cultural sectors. A group of fundraising consultants from AskRIGHT are accompanying participants from Australia and New Zealand during their visits.
St Catharine’s College at Cambridge University, the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre joined us for the final day of the Advancement Tour.
Fundraising for Cambridge University
Deborah Loveluck, Fellow & Development Director at St Catharine’s College and Chair of the Cambridge Colleges Development Group, presented on the College’s campaign for £30million and the next University Collegiate campaign for £2billion. Delegates were both baffled and inspired by the complex structure of Cambridge University and the Colleges for fundraising.
Underpinning much of the St Catharine’s success was the College’s simple yet incredibly effective alumni relations which aim to ensure all collegians (there are 9,000) are made to feel part of the College family during their time at St Catharine’s and for the rest of their lives. As Deborah said:
If you are going to give money why wouldn’t you give it to family? You just have to be there and make sure people feel part of the family”.
Fundraising for a major community project
Next Holly Butcher, Director of Fundraising for the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC), provided delegates with an incredibly unique case study into how she has raised £155million over 3 years to build what will be one of the world’s most advanced centres in clinical rehabilitation for the armed forces and civilians in the UK.
Holly credits the project’s proof of concept as being key to her fundraising success, and with an average gift of £4.7million we all took notice of exactly what Holly had to say:
The right place to start is at the end. The ground work in such detail has paved the way for the Centre’s success”.
Garnering support for a cultural institution – a presentation on fundraising for the Birmingham Royal Ballet
The final presentation of the Tour came from Geoff Sweeney, Director of Development of the Birmingham Royal Ballet. In 2006 the Ballet had no strategy, no fundraising staff and no history of giving; this year they are close to closing a campaign for £15million.
Campaign themes were:
- New work
- The legacy of the company (presenting historic performances)
The Ballet held a Gala dinner – without charge – for top 200 prospects and showed excerpts from new works, showed young dancers, introduced choreographers. This event led to £310,000 in pledges.
Constant dialogue with donors around vision, passion and interest – not money – has been key to the development of the Ballet’s fundraising program.
We don’t think of donors are one-off givers but we think of their lifetime value and keep them in the cycle of involvement and dialogue”
– Geoff Sweeney
A fundraising fundamental but an important reminder to all about donor-centricity as we reflected on the many lessons learnt (and confirmed) from the week.
AskRIGHT would like to thank all speakers for giving up the time to share their expertise and all delegates for their involvement and engagement in the program throughout the week. Described as ‘”the best investment one could make in campaign preparation” and an educational opportunity that “exceeded all expectations”, the 2015 Advancement Tour was an incredible professional development experience for delegates and AskRIGHT fundraising consultants alike.