Results: Economic Development

Project Updates

Abbeville riding economic hot streak as 2018 winds down

Since last year, the initiative – which ensures every student in the county can attend Piedmont Technical College for two years at no cost – has surpassed its initial fundraising goal of $1.2 million. With $1.36 million either pledged or in hand, Evans said program administrators are already thinking about a second phase of the program.

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Project Updates

Onward NRV looks to reinvest itself as economy booms

Onward Executive Director Charlie Jewell wants the organization look beyond attracting new employers to the region, like it has in the past. He wants the group to become a thought leader around the New River Valley, driving conversations on everything from talent attraction to promoting regional cooperation. To kick things off, Onward publicly announced its first multi-year fundraising campaign this week. The group has so far raised $1.18 million toward a goal of $1.5 million, which would combine with money from local governments to fund the operation for the next five years.

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Posted on September 24, 2018
Speaking

MidAmerica EDC Competitiveness Conference

2
December 2 - December 4, 2018

It’s the end of the fiscal year and you’re a few bucks short of your annual fund goal. The reserves are thin. What should you do to close the gap? Here are the top three things you should never do. 1. Send a mass email and post on social media that you must raise funds by year-end.

We’ve all been there. You go in to meet with a potential investor, begin to outline your strategic plan and funding needs and are having a great dialogue. Frankly, you’re in the zone and loving it. After all that great banter you get the all…

Feasibility studies are a critical first step in fundraising. They typically are 20 to 30 questions in length and give you a great perspective on your organization: how people view the board, the effectiveness of the team, and who in the community should lead the…

Your capital campaign is over. You’ve secured the funding needed to implement your strategic plan, grow your services, make capital improvements, etc. Now what? Having a strong investor relations program is a critical element of every capital campaign.

Conducting a funding feasibility study is an important first step every organization must take before launching a capital campaign. This process helps you determine the viability of your project before investing significant time and money into the campaign. A well-executed feasibility study will paint a…

I love business-led, civic-economic nonprofit entities (chambers of commerce), but the affection is seldom nurtured by their electronic identities. I know and respect what they do and who they represent! Why don’t chamber websites and social media accounts demonstrate and amplify their initiatives, services, and…

Capital campaigns are a group effort. Simply having a strong executive director or board chair at the helm is not a guarantee of success; it’s all about having the right team assembled. Convergent is happy to share Allison’s guest blog post as it provides valuable…

The search for Amazon’s second HQ in the United States has thrust economic development into the national spotlight. In fact, one of my favorite sessions at IEDC‘s 2018 Leadership Summit was the Tuesday morning special plenary session, “Chasing the Big Deal,” which focused heavily on…

In December I reached out to community college leaders across the country to ask, “What are the next big trends in the world of community college fundraising?” While some speculated about the ways social media could become a stronger fundraising tool, others focused on how…

You’re in a team meeting when lightning strikes: your team just hatched the most incredible idea! It has the potential to answer all your problems, fix community issues, and revolutionize your organization. It is so tempting to go out and try to raise money for…

If we are being honest, on most days our inboxes are buried under a barrage of email. Many of the emails are automated email newsletters from businesses or organizations that we support. Many get marked “read” without us ever opening them or reading them. Really…

This year’s International Economic Development Council Annual Conference really lived up to its promise to “Connect. Collaborate. Create.” Not only was the conference packed full of great educational sessions, there were countless opportunities for attendees to network and connect with their peers. From the host committee’s…

Watch the video below to learn the key steps included in the investment campaign model. This best practices approach is a proven and highly successful way to secure the funding needed to implement a wide variety of economic development initiatives. You can also continue reading…

I very much enjoyed yet another Florida Economic Development Council (FEDC) conference this year, and especially having the opportunity to introduce my partner Cheryl Hardy to so many of you. Florida has become our fastest growing market, and as Central Florida residents, Cheryl and I…

“Nimble, inclusive, and entrepreneurial.” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos used these three terms to highlight the unique role community colleges play as a catalyst in workforce development issues. “You’re absolutely essential engines of workforce and economic development — locally and regionally,” DeVos told a room full…

Community Colleges change lives. We all have heard the stories of the financially strapped students whose dreams of a college degree seem unachievable until a scholarship opportunity opens the doors to their future. Philanthropy at its Horatio Alger-esque best! The donor feels good about their…

When I first decided to write about Women in Economic Development, my initial plan was to share the post immediately after the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Annual Conference. That conference is well in the rearview mirror and my goal of publishing this post immediately…

There were plenty of great sessions at this year’s annual summit, and we’re honored that Principal Andy Coe was included as one of the presenters. His session, “The Power of Community Partnerships in Funding Workforce Development Initiatives,” had an excellent turnout, and attendees really engaged…

This article was originally written for and published in the International Economic Development Council’s “ED Now” newsletter. We are excited to make it available to non-IEDC members here for the first time. There were 5.8 million job openings across the United States at the end of April,…

A great number of local and regional economic development organizations rely primarily on State and local tax dollars to support their operations.  While talking with fellow economic development professionals last month at the IEDC Annual Conference in Cleveland, I noticed a distinct trend amongst economic…

Convergent Note: The following is a brief excerpt from the article “Counterpoint: Feasibility Studies and Other Reasons Outside Counsel Can Help Small Nonprofits,” recently published by NonProfit PRO and written by Principal Mark Bergethon. To read the full article, follow the link at the bottom of…

I had never been to Kansas City before this year’s annual Southern Economic Development Council Conference, and I was blown away by the welcome reception of the locals, the amazing food, and first-class museums and sports facilities. My thanks to SEDC President Gene Stinson and…

Many state legislatures continue to struggle with their annual budgets due to shortfalls in revenue. For example, on May 18 Kentucky’s Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) announced that 506 positions had been cut: 191 faculty and 315 staff. These cuts were due to a…

This article was originally written for and published in the International Economic Development Council’s “ED Now” newsletter. We are excited to make it available to non-IEDC members here for the first time. Economic development organizations increasingly are joining forces with like-minded organizations to tackle complex economic issues….

This article was originally written for and published in the International Economic Development Council’s “ED Now” newsletter. We are excited to make it available to non-IEDC members here for the first time. Raising public and private funding for economic development is nothing new. Economic development…

During the IEDC Annual Conference in Anchorage, I was honored to participate in the panel session, “Because We’re Worth It: Communicating Your EDO’s Value.” One of my fellow panelists, Allison Larsen, CEcD, is Principal of the successful economic development and site selection consulting firm TadZo. While…

This year’s Northeastern Economic Developers Association’s Annual Conference proved to be another success! More than 150 economic development professionals converged on Syracuse to learn and to share their best practices as it related to this year’s theme, “Re-Think, Re-Vive, Re-Thrive…Leveraging the Assets of Our Communities.”…

We had a great time in Savannah and we hope you did as well! As always, the SEDC Annual Conference provided a great opportunity to meet up with old friends, clients, and colleagues, and make new acquaintances too. During the state caucus meetings held on Sunday, Principal…

Initiating a capital campaign is an exciting opportunity. It’s a time when you can help move your organization forward in a very dynamic way, although there are always a few challenges that will arise during a campaign. Many Executive Directors & CEOs might find themselves…

Rachel Selsky, Senior Economic Development Specialist at Camoin Associates, has been working in the field of economic development for the last six years. While serving on the board of a local youth services organization, she “noticed a number of ways that working with a nonprofit…

I always enjoy attending the International Economic Development Council annual meeting and last month’s gathering in Ft. Worth was no exception. I believe I have attended 22 or 23 of these meetings over the years. For me, it is a time to catch up with…

There are a ton of great sessions at the International Economic Development Council’s Annual Conference every year; too many for one person to attend them all. Thanks to Twitter, conference attendees are now able to share insights in real time with each other and their…

Throughout the 2014 International Economic Development Council’s Annual Conference, there were two major themes that seemed to emerge from session to session: the importance of data: collecting it, understanding it, and communicating it; and the importance of community “intangibles” that data simply can’t capture. At…

By Mark Bergethon We are excited to have Principal Mark Bergethon featured in FundraisingSuccess’s “ProSpeak,” which features essays about “the nitty-gritty of fundraising, written by the people who do it every day.” Here is a quick look at the article: Through the implementation and analysis…

By Samantha Hardwick Today, in communities of all sizes throughout the country, companies are struggling to attract qualified workers despite high local unemployment rates. The biggest trend we are seeing right now is surging investor demand for workforce development programs to meet local employers’ needs….

We had a great time in Memphis, TN at the Southern Economic Development Council Annual Conference and hope you did as well! There were plenty of great sessions to attend, covering topics ranging from railroads and ports, to positioning communities for growth, to leadership, to…

New IOM graduates, pictured left to right: Larkin Simpson, IOM, Chamber Director & Project Manager, Jones County Chamber of Commerce (MS); April Bragg, IOM, President & CEO, Milledgeville­Baldwin County Chamber (GA); Brian Tucker, IOM, Director of Economic Development, Georgetown County Economic Development (SC); Lindsay Frilling,…

The true purpose of a special event is sometimes lost in the flurry of planning activity. When I recently attended the Triad Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) monthly meeting in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, this point was driven home. The meeting included a…

The Central Florida Foundation (CFF) is a public grant-making foundation that serves as a trusted philanthropic home for more than 400 charitable funds throughout Central Florida.    Convergent has had the good fortune to get to know CFF better over the past several months, and…

I had a great time exhibiting at the Mid-America Economic Development Council’s Best Practices Conference in Minneapolis last week, and I hope those of you who were able to attend enjoyed it as much as I did. While Convergent attends many conferences throughout the year,…

Recently I had the opportunity to present at the Tennessee Economic Development Council’s Spring Conference.  I was asked to speak about current trends that I am seeing in Economic Development Organization (EDO) funding… what follows is a brief summary of key points in my presentation….

Site Selection, the primary magazine for corporate real estate strategy and economic development, recently named Wooster, Ohio, as the Top Micropolitan Area in America (defined as non-urban community anchored by a town of no more than 50,000 people). Wooster and Wayne County reached the top…

More and more, Convergent is seeing that effective BRE makes EDO strategic plans more fundable for our clients. Our friends at Creative EDC wrote this insightful piece on the role BRE plays in economic development, including several examples of how to incorporate BRE programs and…

Throughout this blog you’re bound to see many posts where we refer to “investors” and nonprofit “investments.” Don’t worry though; you are in the right place. This blog is meant to help nonprofits get a better understanding of the fundraising process, and we believe that…

A recent article in the The Chronicle of Philanthropy has spurred a lot of discussion among the principals here at Convergent. The article cites a study by Szu-chi Huang, assistant professor of marketing at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, in which she suggests that…

Can a rural community Economic Development Organization (EDO), which has never run a capital campaign in the past, launch a major fundraising initiative? How do you generate full buy-in from a business community that has never been presented with an “ask” of this nature? These are...
Why should an Economic Development Organization (EDO) that has run successful capital campaigns for years seek professional fundraising counsel? What is the benefit of conducting a full feasibility study prior to launching a campaign? How do you get longtime investors to significantly increase their investment...
How does an Economic Development Organization (EDO) that has depended primarily on an annual fundraising event for years make the leap to launching a multi-year capital campaign? How do they secure buy-in and support from the regional business community? These were the primary concerns faced...

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I would absolutely recommend using Convergent. We were very pleased with our results. Not only did we raise more money than we thought was possible (15% over goal), we did it six weeks ahead of schedule and under budget! I don't think we would be where we are today without their guidance.

Beth Hannam, Executive Director
Sandusky County EDC, OH

The feasibility study done by Convergent involved our local leadership like no other study we've had in the past (and we've worked with three other firms). It was a much more tailored approach to the community which made a big difference in the level of input received.

Zach Buckner, VP of Development & Communications
Highlands Economic Partnership

I really appreciate the ROI aspect of Convergent's approach. They helped us position the campaign as the community investing in Burke County. Being able to quantify our efforts and provide detailed results was a real strength. It's why we were successful in reaching our goal.

Alan Wood, President & CEO
Burke Development, Inc., NC