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The Institutional Advancement Advantage: The Road Best Traveled

Small, Rural, Isolated College in a Service Area with a Small Population Generates Six Plus Figure Gifts

At a time when some foundations and colleges are questioning their commitment to move forward in seeking private resource support, how is it that an isolated, rural college with an annual headcount enrollment of around 2,500; an FTE enrollment of under 1,000; and a service population under 40,000 is able to generate the following substantial investments in their organization -- all of which will directly benefit their campaign initiatives?

  • One private individual $1,000,000 gift
  • One private corporate gift of $600,000
  • Two public/private local taxing district "gifts" of $1,500,000
  • One public capital budget acquisition of $23,000,000
  • One public state Department of Labor grant of $1,000,000

Dr. John Boyd, president of Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC), is securing unprecedented resource success in his institution's major gifts campaign. Ask him how this is being accomplished and he will tell you that success during this unique time revolves around four activities: 1) a multifaceted approach; 2) leveraging private gifts and grant funds to secure additional support; 3) aligning projects with community needs; and 4) having the willingness to take the risks necessary to implement your vision so the community’s needs are addressed.

All of CNCC's significant gifts have come since the fall 2008, which becomes even more impressive when the economic news played in the media has been a tune that has kept many foundations on the sidelines—just watching—while others march on the field, securing the success their institutions and communities need to weather the storm and move forward. While there is no magic formula, best practices suggest:

  1. Aligning private gifts and state/federal grants to leverage and utilize them as part of the appeal to new donors or grantors (aka: success breeding success).
  2. Positioning the college's initiative so that the college is viewed as a solution provider to the community’s need(s).
  3. Getting to intimately know the potential funding source's interests, and aligning those interests with the project(s).
  4. When working with a large corporation, securing an inside champion that not only has the authority and contacts to take your needs above the local leadership decision-making authority, but who can and will simultaneously guide the support for the project(s) back through the local corporate leadership.


Issue II

Million dollar "gift" successes since September 2008

The money and support for needed projects are out there if a campaign will work hard to secure it, evidenced by:

1. (5) $1M+ Gifts – Colorado Northwestern Community College
2. (2) $1M Gifts – Harrisburg Area Community College
3. (1) $1M Gift – Hudson Valley Community College
4. (4) $1M Gifts – Lane Community College
5. (1) $1M Gift – Mid-Plains Community College


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