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Use Proven Resources - Success Stories: Capital Campaign

Stations that have participated in one of CPB's major giving programs feel energized and ready to advance their major giving programs. We want to capture this enthusiasm by sharing successes and new ideas. Do you have a major giving success story? By letting us tell your story on this page, you will encourage other stations to continue their major giving efforts. Simply write up your story and .

Topics of Interest
Topics of Interest

WBGO Secures Record Lead Gift for Campaign

Newark Public Radio, WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM, has received a $500,000 lead gift for its capital campaign from the Prudential Foundation. The gift, half of which is outright and the other half a challenge grant, is the largest in the station's history. The capital campaign will allow WBGO to expand its broadcast signal via the placement of a new transmitter and antenna system in midtown Manhattan, improving service to current listeners and increasing its potential audience by over one million. WBGO's studios will remain in Newark and its current Newark transmitter will function as a back up.

Prudential is based in Newark and has a long record of supporting WBGO's operating budget and outreach, according to Development Vice President Chuck Ferrero. Prudential executives have served on the WBGO board for many years. But the capital request represented a new dimension in the relationship. "We had to reintroduce ourselves," Ferrero says. "Our request was at an unprecedented level. We also had to show a Newark company how a project that might be seen to benefit New York listeners was really about repositioning a local arts and cultural institution. It's as much about marketing as it is about equipment."

WBGO began laying the groundwork for this gift and for the campaign more than a year ago when it joined DEI's Leadership for Philanthropy project. The LFP became a catalyst for change within the station, prompting management to hire Ferrero, who brought a background in major gift fundraising in healthcare and the arts, and the board to elevate veteran leader Cephas Bowles, from the title of "general manager" to "president and CEO."

"Cephas's role is very important to the campaign, as are our board members," Ferrero says. "At the level of donor we're dealing with, a general manager title may not be perceived as a chief executive. We need a CEO who visits with donors as a peer. Development's job is to position him and get him before the right people."

Ferrero sees the role of station CEOs as critical to success in major giving. "A university president doesn't teach anymore, and a hospital president no longer sees patients. They're out engaging those who can take their institutions to new levels. That's what we need station CEOs to do."

He thinks of WBGO's capital campaign as more than just an end in itself, but as a way to engage the station's constituents for years to come. "Many of our members are philanthropists, but not to us," he says. "On-air is both a blessing and a curse, because it has made shouting for modest sums of money too easy. We are going to make our on-air drives a launching point for deeper relationships with those who can provide meaningful support."

Armed with Prudential's support and a significant grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's PTFP program, WBGO is actively engaging individuals (including the station's Board members) and foundations in conversations about the station's future. Its LFP consultant has completed a feasibility study, and WBGO will use the Prudential challenge to leverage other lead gifts before announcing a public phase that will complete the project.

KDHX Donor Memorializes a Popular Host with Lead Gift

When Larry J. Weir, one of the five original employees of KDHX in St. Louis and its longtime operations manager, passed away in early 2010, the entire community mourned. And a local couple decided to do something special to remember Larry. The couple purchased a building for the station to be used for a new broadcast center. It also serves as a lead gift in a $3.75 million capital campaign that will renovate the building's interior and establish a $500,000 reserve fund.

The new facility, which will be named for Weir, is located in the city's Grand Center, the arts and entertainment district of St. Louis. The center is already home to public television station KETC.and KWMU, the city's NPR affiliate, is planning a move there. What made the location ideal for KDHX, however, is the presence of many arts organizations with which it already partners and the availability of a performance space.

Locating in Grand Center will help to reposition KDHX within the St. Louis arts and cultural community. It will also allow KDHX to consolidate its radio station and media arts activities, which are now housed in separate locations in different parts of St. Louis.

While the anonymous gift was occasioned by the loss of Larry Weir, it did not come out of the blue. Co-executive director Nico Leone reports that the station had been cultivating the couple even prior to its participation of the Leadership for Philanthropy project and that the donors were well aware of the challenges posed by the station's cramped and divided work facilities. The opportunity to memorialize Weir's life at KDHX culminated a long process.

Through its work with the LFP project, KDHX has been working to broaden its image in St. Louis as more than just a radio station. Though it is the radio home of independent music in St. Louis, it is also the city's community access television studio. It produces documentary film contests, concerts, and live performances within its cramped studios and is a prominent media partner to grassroots arts organizations throughout the community. Its new location will consolidate all these activities in a green facility with adequate space for the small professional staff and army of volunteers.

It is thus an important arts institution in St. Louis, Leone says, and the interface between arts organizations large and small and a cross-section of the general public. The station's campaign case statement (PDF, 3.7MB), developed during its two years as an LFP station, contains ideas that may be of use to many public radio stations across the country that are beginning to reflect similar missions.

The campaign for the new facility, now getting underway, is requiring the station to establish relationships with a philanthropic community that has never before been involved with KDHX. The station's board is deeply engaged in this process, and Leone and co-executive director Beverly Hacker expect it to dramatically change the station's position in the community while leaving its mission — building community through media — stronger than ever. At this early point in the campaign, the station has raised an additional $400,000 in major gifts and is well on its way to a successful conclusion.

New Hampshire Public Radio's Capital Campaign Redefines Major Giving

About the Program

A new CEO affords a station the opportunity to reposition itself with potential givers... and even to rebuild its board. That is precisely what New Hampshire Public Radio has done. In major giving terms, this established community-licensed statewide network has "gone from zero to sixty" in less than three years... and is now moving beyond that.

The Granite State's news and public affairs service is currently in the closing stages of a $6.5 million capital campaign that is being capped by a $250,000 Kresge challenge. NHPR's Campaign for 21st Century Radio (Website) is a true statewide effort which will establish a new network headquarters in Concord, add a second full-time HD service, and make significant improvements to the statewide signal.

NHPR has also raised restricted funds for specific projects — strategic planning, a redesign of its website, an environmental project, and a StoryCorps visit. It now has a strengthened major gifts program and is establishing a planned giving program.

The network established a major giving organization, the Leadership Circle (Website), in 2006. The Circle recognizes cumulative gifts of $1,000 and above, but has progressively tiered levels above that. Unlike many such programs, the first tier above the entry level is placed at $1,500, giving the station a relatively simple way to identify those in the Circle who have above-average interest and capacity. There are givers at every tier.

How the Program is Funded

NHPR's $6.5 million capital campaign will result in a new statewide network headquarters in the winter of 2009. The lead gift, received in two phases, was $1.25 million. There was also a $250,000 gift, four above $100,000, and several more at $100,000 — all in addition to the $250,000 Kresge challenge.

Every member of the board has contributed, as has every staff member — a level of internal commitment that is not typical in the Granite State. That fact has been shared with the public and is the basis for the station's "every listener" campaign, which has sought a minimum $50 contribution from everyone who tunes to NHPR. More than 1,000 listeners donated approximately $104,000 through this effort.

While few of the major campaign gifts have come from individuals, there have been spectacular exceptions. One donor, whose lifetime giving was $1,300, was asked for a significant gift to the campaign. The donor responded with a smaller, but still major gift, then raised it when the Kresge challenge was issued. With the Kresge grant, the network has made a number of resolicitations and has redefined a "major gift" to NHPR.

Meanwhile, the network's operating revenue, fueled in large measure by increased individual gifts, has increased 63% over less than three years. NHPR is now taking advantage of the statewide reach of its capital campaign to plan for an expansion of major individual gifts. It will ask those making membership and capital gifts to increase their annual gifts following the campaign to invest in the future of the organization.

Role of Management

When she was hired in the fall of 2005, the network's CEO embarked on a listening trip throughout the state. Board and former board members identified groups and individuals of importance to life in New Hampshire, and she "marched from town to town meeting people, telling the story about the network and its forthcoming campaign, and the roles that we play in the state."

It was, she said, as much an opportunity to listen to the needs of people in the state as to tell the network's story. "I was the outsider, so I needed to understand what made people tick. Along the way, we identified people who had means and solicited them. The fact that I was the new network president became the excuse to ask for the meeting."

As the campaign began, she and her new Director of Major and Planned Gifts divided up responsibilities. The CEO was in charge of the statewide effort, and the director coordinated regional campaigns.

Role of Leadership Volunteers

Board members linked the CEO to important philanthropic leaders throughout the state. During her visits with them, she recruited new board members, building leadership momentum for the campaign.

When Campaign for 21st Century Radio was launched, every board member contributed, most of them at a generous level relative to their means. Just as the management team had apportioned statewide and regional responsibilities, the volunteer leadership effort was divided into two divisions, each chaired by an individual responsible for that part of the campaign. Regional committees reported to the regional chair. The staff set up and tracked events, coordinating prospects and gifts, training and coaching the volunteers.

The volunteer leaders have done everything from sending out letters to gift solicitations. Along the way, the engagement process has inspired the board. "We have moved from the default position, which is to ask for $1,000, to seeking truly meaningful gifts."

Application of Major Giving Principles

The CEO has a background both in management and development, so she brought experience and a certain fearlessness to the job. "I don't believe in the giving ladder," she says, by which she means working donors up gradually to a position were they are asked for major investments. "My experience is that philanthropy is about the vision, relationships, and cross-pollination."

NHPR is not just developing giving to itself, but to the state as a whole. In partnership with the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, NHPR produces a short weekly program, Giving Matters, which provides portraits of organizations that deliver a variety of services. Following the campaign, the CEO intends to play a more active role in philanthropy in New Hampshire, "teaching people how to use their personal resources to strengthen this state."

Positioning the Station in the Community

New Hampshire Public Radio was already very well known in the state, but the campaign and the careful steps leading to it have repositioned the network as a philanthropic cause.

  • It has a new message. NHPR makes the case for independent media and shows that public media strengthens democracy, "which is very important in a state where we have a first in the nation primary."
  • It makes the connection between its service and each local community — documenting its coverage on a story-by-story basis — but it also positions New Hampshire Public Radio as the unifying voice throughout the state.
  • It has energized the board and created a new sense of what is possible. "We see major giving as the future for NHPR.

"People perceive us to be professionally at the top of our game, and one of most prominent leaders in state among opinion leaders," the management team reports. "People who wouldn't return our phone calls three years ago are now joining our board. People are talking about us."

WKSU Campaign is Partnership with University and Volunteer Leaders

About the Program

Many university licensees find themselves at odds with their institution's development office. Many suffer from a lack of volunteer leadership. WKSU is an exception. It has created a partnership among its management team, Kent State University, and a core of dedicated volunteer leaders.

While WKSU has long had a traditional annual giving circle (Website), the general manager decided in 2006 that the station needed a major giving officer who operated outside of day-to-day fundraising duties. A new position, Director of Philanthropic Giving, was created and placed under the supervision of Kent State's Vice President for Institutional Advancement, with a dotted line reporting relationship to the manager.

Through this partnership the station has raised $1 million in the quiet phase of a $3.6 million campaign that will focus on digital conversion, facility expansion, and increased transmission. [See WKSU's campaign brochure (PDF, 906KB).] This campaign is part of a broader effort being undertaken by the University, which brings the station both visibility and resources.

The major giving office is also responsible for raising funds to expand an existing endowment named in honor of the founding manager of WKSU, a nationally presented program Folk Alley, a permanent endowment, other planned gifts (Website), and special projects.

The University provides donor research, allows cross-marketing of major KSU donors who now make only token gifts to the station, and gives the station access to on-campus events for cultivation purposes. WKSU used a live performance of A Prairie Home Companion as an opportunity to invite and network with top donors to the University

How the Program is Funded

While most public radio stations define a major gift as one of $1,000 or greater, WKSU defines it as $25,000. The Director of Philanthropic Giving is expected by the University development office, in consultation with the station's general manager, to make at least twenty-four asks of that amount or greater each year and to close half of them. She is on track to meet that goal and has over $2 million in requests under consideration by individuals, foundations, and businesses.

As part of the $1 million raised so far, WKSU has received a $250,000 gift from an individual with a family foundation. It has received an in-kind donation of more than $200,000. The station has also received a significant planned gift. The donor had never been to Kent State University, was unknown as a giver, but had always listened to classical music on WKSU. The Director of Philanthropic Giving and the university's planned giving office worked together to secure the commitment.

Role of Management

The general manager of WKSU is a former director of development at the station. His eighteen years of fundraising experience give him first-hand knowledge of what the development staff needs to succeed. "I dedicate 40-50% of my time to development," he says. "It is the most important role that I can play."

He can devote this much time to fundraising, he says, because, "I have great people around me. My chief engineer could be a manager at any number of stations. Many CEOs are up to their ears in daily problems because they get dragged into them. I don't, because I have people here who can help put out the fire or put it out themselves."

Role of Leadership Volunteers

The station's Community Advisory Council serves as the leadership fundraising arm for the station. When the general manager stepped into his position a decade ago, the current advisory committee chairperson became a "ready accomplice" in reinvigorating the group to "help extend station management into the community."

Together, they added an executive committee to the council to provide not just fundraising council, but advice on organizational governance. The University is an active partner in this relationship, which has evolved to a point in which volunteer leaders have both more responsibility and more authority for the station, and thus have grown in their commitment to raise funds for what they increasingly see as "their" station.

Executive committee members participate in prospect identification and cultivation, both in one-to-one meetings and at special events. "Members are now recruited with a clear list of expectations," the chairman reports. "The manager is a great networker, and thus helps us improve the quality of this group. It is everyone's job to suggest names to the nominating committee."

Application of Major Giving Principles

Key to the station's success are:

  • Clear statements of mission, vision, and values (Website) that guide the station and communicate its value as more than just a place on the dial.
  • A productive partnership with its University in which both collaborate in identifying and cultivating prospects.
  • A core of dedicated volunteers who not only help the station raise funds, but whose advice on management questions is solicited and respected.
  • A major giving officer who is freed from the trap of day-to-day "fundraising" to focus on true "development."
  • A manager who understands development and surrounds himself with talented operational people who allow him to be active in the community.

Positioning the Station in the Community

Recently, a huge banner was wrapped around a building in downtown Akron, staking out the future home of WKSU. The manager credits the university-volunteer-station partnership with achieving this milestone.

Public Radio, he says, "has been 'a benevolent utility.' But when we get out and talk to community leaders about all the things we're involved in, they see the station as much more than a radio station."

The Chair of the Advisory Council is an articulate advocate for WKSU. "For the price of a radio, any community has access to NPR and the other services we provide," he says. "The donor to public radio facilitates the best bargain in democracy."

Successful WYEP Capital Campaign Leads to Outreach Funding

About the Program

WYEP is a community licensed station serving Pittsburgh with a AAA music format. It raises more than two-thirds of its $1.5 million budget from private sources. What once was a volunteer-run station in a basement warehouse is today a multi-media organization, featuring alternative music from worldwide talent whose music is "off the playlist" of commercial stations and encouraging the work of emerging local artists and venues.

But WYEP is far more. It serves as a nexus for Pittsburgh's performing and cultural arts. Through the Pittsburgh Performance Project (Website), it fosters the growth of live performances throughout its broadcast area. Its new building, a green "community broadcast center," is designed to engage its audience in music. It plays a direct role in music education, through K-12 programs, special workshops for at-risk youth, music writing workshop for adults, and general interest workshops focused on the station's music. WYEP offers internships (Website) for students wishing to make careers in public media.

WYEP has secured multi-year funding for an outreach director, a music director who organizes workshops (Website), conducts a monthly Music Taste Test to gather input from the audience, and conducts a music program for pre-school youth. The station is not stopping there. The "next big thing," its General Manager reports, is a formal education program in the city's schools.

How the Program is Funded

WYEP does not have a standard annual "major gifts" program, though it does receive larger membership gifts and personally acknowledges and stewards those of $500 and more. It has leapt over this traditional building block and has gone for the gold by seeking gifts of $10,000 and above for its capital campaign and its outreach efforts.

The station's Turn it Up campaign was a three-year $3.7 million effort that built its Community Broadcast Center, a LEED-certified facility which was "the first green station in the nation" and provided funds for a reserve. The campaign's first contribution was an $85,000 in-kind gift that came from its board chair.

Four foundations provided six-figure gifts, but individual gifts also played an important role. The campaign received over 1,700 gifts large and small, ranging from very small contributions to several between $5,000 and $85,000.

Role of Management

The general manager and his development director worked directly on the campaign. The manager did personal cultivation and was directly responsible for many top gifts. "Managers will find that they know more than they think they know," he says. "You must have a mission, in terms of what the community would miss if you weren't there, and it must be a public mission that people are aware of. Your integrity and accountability must be spotless. They are key to major gift fundraising."

When asked how he managed to both manage the station and the campaign, he provided these pointers to fellow managers:

  1. Have systems in place so that you don't have to monitor daily activities. Have good financial management software and an adequate budget with a slight surplus.
  2. Be big enough so that you can have a program director and a development director who are capable and whom you trust. Then leave them alone.
  3. If possible, bring sufficient management experience to the job so that you don't have to spend time researching a problem to make a decision. "This is my third station, and I know what works."

Role of Leadership Volunteers

WYEP raised the $3.7 million through a capital campaign committee, which included six board members and eight others identified from the community. The campaign chairman, who himself made the initial major gift, identified those who had both capacity and interest.

The chairman is a Pittsburgh-area venture capitalist who also gave WYEP the tools to write a campaign business plan. This plan formed the basis for WYEP's winning grant narrative (PDF, 81KB).

The station focused leadership volunteers on those who had the capacity to give $10,000 and more. The leaders identified prospects, involved their friends, hosted events, and widened the circle of potential givers.

Most of the eight continue to be engaged, some on the station's community advisory board, others more informally. "No one filled out their check and walked away."

Application of Major Giving Principles

To achieve this level of foundation and individual funding without a well-developed constituency, WYEP had to start from scratch and organize research and cultivation by well established principles. The station first researched its own database to identify potential campaign donors based on past giving levels and longevity. It used external screening to narrow this list to a group of the top 400 prospects.

Its campaign committee reviewed this list and explored the station's donor base for names of others they knew. They then initiated a focused marketing effort, beginning with written communications signed by committee members, moving to receptions and in-house concert events, and following up with calls and in-person communications. The station did not have to do a lot of formal asking. "We showed people the project," the station's general manager reports. "They got it, and the money appeared."

The money "appeared," however, because WYEP effectively cultivated relationships and made its case. One prospect on the "Top 400" list was known by a committee member, who invited him to lunch to hear the station's story. The general manager subsequently saw this prospect at a concert and greeted him by name. The prospect was so impressed with this personal touch that he made a $50,000 gift and later hosted a house party that raised $55,000 from his friends.

"People give money to people," the manager says. "You can have the best grant application in the world, but if there's no a face to go with it, it's of no value."

Still, WYEP paid careful attention to the requirements of its funders. When it learned that the Heinz Foundation required all new construction to be environmentally friendly, it began the process that led to LEED certification. That step later won the station a "green bonus grant" from the Kresge Foundation, on top of the $350,000 Kresge challenge grant that wrapped up the campaign.

Positioning the Station in the Community

The station reports that it is no more well known than it was before the campaign — but "we are more respected. We thought we would need to spend time raising our profile, but we were told people knew us enough." The successful campaign, the green status of its building, and the station's ability to increase outreach into the community, have made the WYEP an institutional player in Pittsburgh. "We're not the Carnegie yet, but we can have coffee with them."

WYEP is now focused on building on these existing relationships. Foundation and corporate friends developed during the campaign provided a three-year grant for its education outreach efforts.

The manager believes the campaign may also have had a positive effect on underwriting sales, moving the station from a marketing buy to a philanthropic investment. Donors tell station management their perceptions of WYEP have changed from a station whose survival is in doubt (though that was never the case), to one that is a viable Pittsburgh institution.

KLCC-FM Gains Donor and Listener through Sustained Cultivation

During its recent successful capital campaign, KLCC-FM in Eugene identified a couple who had the potential to make a major gift. While "Dan" or "Jill" were regular annual donors to the station, no one on staff had ever met them.

The community volunteer chaired the station's site committee recommended that Dan would be a good member. They contacted him, and he agreed to serve, but during his first meeting with General Manager Steve Barton and Development Director Paul Chan Carpenter, he said, "I hate KLCC."

It turned out that Jill was the KLCC listener, while Dan had to endure being awakened by the station each morning on the couple's clock radio. While he was helpful on the site committee, he still didn't become a fan.

That changed when University of Oregon President David Frohnmeyer held a KLCC prospect reception in his home, with NPR President Kevin Klose as special guest. Dan and Jill attended the reception and a small dinner that followed. Dan was favorably impressed with Kevin, and KLCC maintained cultivation after the event.

Later, Steve, Paula, and a campaign volunteer made a solicitation call for the campaign. They asked Dan and Jill to consider a $250,000 gift. After giving it some thought, they agreed to give $200,000. They soon added another $50,000 and have since offered an additional $25,000.

Dan has become a good friend of the station... and a devoted listener.

WCQS-FM Reaches $2.2 Goal through Broad-Based Campaign

WCQS in Asheville, NC used a combination of PTFP and CPB grants, bequests, proceeds from a special event, and major gifts to raise $2.2 million for the renovation of its offices and studios.

General Manager Ed Subkis reports this theirs was a broad-based campaign, with many gifts coming in small installments made over a multi-year period. There were nearly eighty gifts of $5,000 and more — remarkable for a community of this size. Two of the eight top gifts came from individuals.

2006 PBS DevCon Award Winner: WGBH (Special Achievement Category)

TITLE | Breaking New Ground: The Campaign for WGBH — Surpasses Goal Ahead of Schedule

GOALS | In January 2003, WGBH launched a $40M campaign to help support the construction of our new headquarters. Funds from the sale of our current facility allowed WGBH to keep our bricks and mortar goal modest. The $18.5M Building Fund will allow us to reinvent our infrastructure from the ground up to accommodate the digital age, instead of continuing with expensive retrofits of our current facilities. For the first time, we will have the space to bring the public into public broadcasting, and will be able to showcase the riches of our intellectual and cultural community as a convener of screenings, lectures, and performances. A $10M Endowment Fund was established to ensure that increased costs of operating the new building would not burden the current operating budget. An $11.5M Strategic Opportunities Fund was created as a spend down fund to support the research and development of original, innovative, high-quality content and services that will further our public broadcasting mission. An accelerated time frame of 4 years was established for the campaign (rather than the traditional five or more) to accommodate the construction schedule. While the campaign has not yet ended, the goal has already been surpassed. The momentum shows we have the opportunity to raise more money, and the effort will continue.

PROCESS | Prior to the commencement of the campaign, Real Estate and Building committees were formed to council staff in negotiations and plans for our current and future locations. They were comprised of volunteers with specific interest and expertise in real estate, architecture, and vendor negotiations. Many of these volunteers later went on to form the Campaign Steering Committee, which was comprised of 14 trustees and 17 overseers (total committee giving $12.7M). The staff and institutional leadership recommended four co-chairs, drawn from both boards. Each made a campaign leadership gift and later pledged a second commitment (total co-chair giving $3.2M). Four subcommittees were formed to address policy on gifts, donor recognition, events, and marketing materials. Campaign Committee members offered guidance on cultivation and solicitation strategies and well over half participated actively as solicitors, both independently or in tandem with our CEO, COO, Chair of the Board, appropriate vice presidents, program producers, and development staff. This integration of content producers, volunteers, executives and staff allowed for highly individualized solicitation strategies, and had the added benefit of infusing a spirit of cooperation and campaign buy-in internally throughout the institution. We held several cultivation and stewardship events, both large and small scale, and used the unfinished top-floor of our new building for two of these events, which allowed prospective donors a glimpse into WGBH's future. Of particular note was an event held at the Boston Athenaeum celebrating the premiere of American Experience's John & Abigail Adams. Committee members took responsibility for inviting at least one new campaign prospect, meeting with remarkable success. While this event resulted in over $800,000 of new gifts, its greatest contribution was the new relationships established that have potential long beyond the life of this campaign. A case statement was created using the resources and expertise of several departments as well as a volunteer subcommittee. This award-winning document outlines the case for support in the context of the work-programs, services and technologies-for which WGBH is best known including national productions, children's programming, Accessible Media and educational productions and outreach.

RESULTS | In addition to the outstanding results of surpassing our goal by $2M (and counting!) 7 months prior to the scheduled completion date, engaging every level of WGBH membership, reaching into the community, building deep relationships through leadership giving, leadership roles, full board participation, and naming opportunities, the Breaking New Ground campaign provided the opportunity for an organization of close to 900 employees to work in tandem towards one important institutional goal, creating a culture of philanthropy that can prosper long beyond the life of this campaign. This institution-wide understanding of each department's unique role in fundraising will enhance our ability to raise funds for strategic priorities well into WGBH's future.

IMPACT | The once-in-a-lifetime nature of this effort allowed us to foster new relationships and capitalize on existing ones. The magnitude and visibility of the project allowed us to approach donors who had not previously been approachable beyond annual giving, ultimately expanding our base of major supporters and our prospects for the future. Our local and national audiences and communities are richer for what this new facility will allow in terms of local impact on the cultural community and the increased opportunities available to our creative and production talent through the Strategic Opportunities Fund. Breaking New Ground campaign was a tall order with a short time frame but due to the commitment and hard work of staff and leadership volunteers, we were able to rise to the challenge, and leave behind the constraints of our 40-year-old facility, and move to a new headquarters built to maximize efficiency and flexibility, welcome our community, and, most importantly, advance our crucial mission of informing, educating and inspiring millions of people in New England, across the nation, and around the world.

2006 PBS DevCon Award Winner: WNED (Special Achievement Category)

TITLE | The Persistence of a Child; The Patience of a Saint: The Split Personality of a Capital Campaign

GOALS | The goals of WNED's Capital Campaign were to: 1) Raise $15 million for digital equipment and new program development, 2) Identify new major donor prospects to WNED, 3) Identify and cultivate new pool of WNED members with capacity to become major donors, and 4) Establish strong major donor program in Canada.

PROCESS | The campaign had struggled early. We did not know how to do major donor fund raising. We continually tracked behind our campaign goals and because of that, we did not receive a Kresge Foundation grant. Our Campaign/Board Chair, Kevin Keane, from the beginning had led by example in demonstrating great patience and never stopped cultivating. FY05 was the turning point of the campaign because three years of cultivation finally began to yield significant major gifts, which in turn resulted in The Kresge Foundation awarding us a $900,000 challenge grant in our second attempt. The start of FY06 marked the start of the Public Phase of the Capital Campaign. The Campaign had already raised a total of $10,378,141, 69% of the $15 million goal. To earn the Kresge Challenge and complete the Campaign, WNED had one year to raise another $3,721,859 — which was 37% more than what we raised in FY05. Furthermore, The Kresge Foundation no longer counted government grants or estate gifts. The Public Phase moved forward on three fronts.

  • WNED Members — It is not possible to truly communicate the planning that was necessary to solicit every WNED member through thoughtful direct mail and telemarketing. Under the leadership of Stacie Waddell, Director of Special Projects, every dimension of WNED's membership department was replicated for the Capital Campaign to ensure that our annual membership efforts would not be adversely affected by the Campaign. We also needed to construct two different messages — one for Western New York members and another for Canadian members — designed to inspire them to invest in something that most of them could not even comprehend.
  • Major Donor Prospects in Canada — WNED opened an office in Toronto to cultivate major donor prospects in September 2005. Experienced Canadian fund raiser James Bindon was contracted to work in the Toronto office. A number of events were held, presentations were made, people were cultivated. Patience and persistence had served us well in the quiet phase, so we embraced these same principles in Canada. More than $310,000 CN in major donor gifts were received in the last six weeks of the Campaign, including two $100,000+ gifts in the final month.
  • Major Donor Prospects in Western New York — In the final two weeks of the campaign, two current campaign donors made additional gifts of $100,000 each — one which was combined with the Kresge Challenge to make the incentive to reach the campaign goal $1,000,000.

Important note: On June 1, WNED was nearly $600,000 away from our goal. Yet the entire organization, including WNED's Board of Trustees and every department and employee, persisted onward. We make a targeted effort to do on-air fund raising on six nights around core programming with special emphasis on mission and the impact of the campaign on WNED's future in hopes of motivating people to make last minute, major gifts to help us achieve our goal.

RESULTS | On the evening of June 24, 2006, WNED reached our goal, and we met the Kresge challenge with a total of $15.1 million in pledges. WNED had also continued to secure government grants, even though they did not count toward the Kresge Challenge. The final tally, including government grants, reached almost $16.9 million, 12.6% higher than our original goal. In FY06, the Campaign raised nearly $6.5 million, 140% more than in FY05. The Campaign included four gifts of $1 million or more and 20 gifts of $100,000 or more. Our largest gift was a $2.5 million grant from The John R. Oishei Foundation to create ThinkBright Lifelong Learning. Gifts at these levels are unprecedented in WNED's history and especially noteworthy considering that both the City of Buffalo and Erie County governments are operating under Financial Stability Control Boards — a sign of the dire straits the region finds itself in. WNED will not let the opportunities created by this Campaign be lost! The Capital Campaign was just the beginning.

IMPACT | On July 1, 2006, WNED launched its new major donor initiative. The public phase of the campaign revealed that hundreds of WNED's current members have the capacity to make major gifts. Significant resources have been allocated to properly steward capital campaign donors. We have also made a significant investment in developing our Canadian donor prospects, which represent a largely untapped and rapidly growing service area. WNED struggled early to learn the art of major donor fund raising. We were not truly effective until FY05, and then we had to work twice as hard to make up the ground we lost early in the campaign. WNED did learn how to do "major giving fund raising"... for the first time in our 47 year history. We intend to apply the lessons learned and the new fund raising skills developed in our board leadership and staff to grow major giving as a significant, long-term revenue stream for WNED. Campaign Chair Kevin Keane was constantly encouraging us with these words from Thomas Jefferson, "I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have." Patience and persistence breed success. And so WNED marches forward confidently with our Major Giving Initiative, learning from the lessons and the successes that resulted from the split personality of the capital campaign.