Wesley College learned they had tremendous untapped support and are now connecting to the people who care deeply about the college.
Wesley College is a United Methodist institution of higher education that seeks to be among the finest student-centered learning communities in the liberal arts tradition. While the College was established in the 1870s, it had not previously conducted a comprehensive capital campaign.
The Sheridan Group completed a 40-Interview Feasibility Study for Wesley, testing a $20 million Campaign for an Allied Health Center, a Student Activities Center, and “Streetscape,” a project to turn Wesley into a totally pedestrian campus, as well as increased support to the Wesley Annual Fund.
TSG’s Study discovered a great reservoir of positive feelings about Wesley among its constituents, particularly regarding Wesley’s new President, William Johnston. Given the College’s lack of prior fundraising success, yet recognizing the positive feelings many had for it, The Sheridan Group recommended that Wesley conduct a three-phase capital campaign, beginning with an Advanced Gift Phase for a strategically assessed $5.3 million goal so that ready leadership and prospects could be recruited and solicited while a broader base of leadership gift prospects and additional leaders were cultivated for follow-on Leadership Gift and Public Phase Campaigns. This plan had the advantages of fostering immediate success while laying the groundwork for later success as cultivation efforts moved forward.
A prominent Campaign Chair and Advanced Gifts Campaign Cabinet were recruited for The Campaign for Wesley. The Board of Trustees responded with 100% participation. Significant gifts were received for all three projects. In the first nine months of an 18-month timeline, the Advanced Gifts Campaign has achieved $2.6 million in philanthropic support. Simultaneously, the College has secured governmental support for the Campaign’s initiatives in the amount of $3.1 million, further enhancing overall institutional momentum and profile. Perhaps most importantly, nearly 200 prospects were identified cultivated, including a possible naming donor for the Student Activity Center.
The Leadership Gifts Campaign of Forward: The Campaign for Wesley was buoyed by the successful completion of the Streetscape/Wesley Plazas and the renovation of the College’s new Health Sciences Building.
During this period, the Wesley Annual Fund grew by more than $100,000 (net of a one-time $50,000 challenge gift).