SUCCESS STORY: Inter-Faith Council for Social Service

Competing for Community Nonprofit Funding

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The Situation

The Inter-Faith Council for Social Service (IFC) is the principal agency in Orange County, NC, for mobilizing the community to address homelessness, hunger, and economic disparity. One of the main focuses of IFC is operating The Community House, the county’s only 24-hour residential facility for homeless men. Established in 1985, The Community House was outdated, undersized, and not in an ideal location.

Inter-Faith Council Logo

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Funding Goals

  • Building a new 16,500 square foot facility with 52 beds
  • Raising $3.7 million, to include paying off $700,000 of existing debt
  • Reaching the goal without negatively affecting operational funding
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The Challenges

  •  In a relatively small metropolis, three other prominent institutions were launching capital campaigns: a YMCA, a church, and a children’s museum.
  • While homelessness is recognized as a serious issue, it has not traditionally been a “popular” cause for many funders.
  • At the campaign outset, IFC’s long-time executive director retired.
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The Convergent Approach

At the outset of any campaign, Convergent works very hard to identify the most likely supporters of a project. Not surprisingly, this is often the business community. However, in this case, our team took a look at IFC’s community “assets” and determined that the faith-based community, along with statewide institutions, would be the strongest supporters of a project like this. Focusing on these types of investors did not mean that we reverted to an “old school” mentality of using an emotional appeal.

Faith-based organizations and other foundations, just like businesses, take the decision to invest seriously and react far better when they understand the true and full impact their investment will have on a community. Therefore, we did not stray from our ROI approach to fundraising, and the results speak for themselves.

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The Results

  • The capital campaign reached its funding goal of $3.7 million.
  • Operational income remained steady during the capital campaign.
  • The Community House was able to begin construction on time.

Campaign reached funding goal of $3.7 million

We looked at four different companies to help us meet our goals. We were most comfortable with Convergent’s ROI approach, and their ability to handle all elements of the campaign from start to finish. Having a Convergent consultant on-site made a significant difference, as he truly became part of our team and kept us focused on our goals.

John Dorward
Former Executive Director

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