The Chamber was looking to fund the delivery of their 2020-2024 strategic initiatives designed to accelerate regional economic growth when the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a halt. How do you continue fundraising when your community is in various stages of recovery?
The Chamber of Greater Springfield and Community Improvement Corporation engaged Convergent for their Expand 2024 capital campaign, to fund the delivery of their 2020-2024 strategic initiatives designed to accelerate regional economic growth through four key areas: workforce, building the local economic engine, enhancing livability, and talent attraction.
Raise $3.9 million and create a fully-funded strategic initiative allowing the Chamber to focus on economic development opportunities over the next five years.
Summed up in one word: PANDEMIC.
In 2019, Convergent conducted a feasibility study for the Chamber interviewing almost 60 business and community leaders. Through this study, it was determined that the Chamber held Asking Rights® with targeted existing investors and potential investors. The organization’s credibility, outcomes, and fundraising skills were held in positive regard, with 90 percent of potential investors recognizing the Chamber’s purpose and results achieved over the past few years. A quiet phase funding goal of $3.9 million was set for the capital campaign.
In 2020, fundraising got underway. On March 15, 2020, the Chamber suspended all activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial plan was to pause the campaign for at least 30 days as the country shut down to slow the spread of the virus. As the shutdown continued into May, Convergent maintained close contact with Chamber Vice President of Economic Development Horton Hobbs and the campaign co-chairs with a goal of resuming the campaign as soon as safely possible. In June, the campaign restarted. It was a definite shift in paradigm for fundraising in 2020.
The Chamber and Convergent quickly embraced the virtual format and found that there were some positive effects of this new way of fundraising. In the first six months of the pandemic, the Chamber made over 600 calls in support of the business community which resulted in the eventual support of the campaign by organizations assisted by the Chamber. Convergent also utilized over a dozen, well-attended, group virtual meetings. Holding these informational sessions also proved beneficial and significantly increased investments and the number of new investors in the campaign.
• Attainment of funding goal that was established pre-COVID (more than $4.1 million was raised on a goal of $3.9 million)
• Raised dramatically more than organization ever had before
• Significantly expanded Chamber’s investor base
Our board has asked if we could have done this campaign without an outside firm and my CEO and I say no. Convergent brought us outside experience and expertise we didn’t have. The timing of our campaign did not make things easy, and our project director was nothing short of amazing. It felt like he was a part of our staff. He helped us close the door and solidify large commitments that were crucial to our campaign.
VP of Economic Development