News for Nonprofits – March 2022

Who would have guessed two years ago that despite the ongoing pandemic, the U.S. economy would grow 5.7% in 2021, job growth would surge, and consumer demand for products and services would soar? What a remarkable and powerful rebound from 2020.

At NGA, we provided counsel to clients who were mid-campaign when the world seemed to shut down two years ago. Understandably, staff and volunteer leaders were unsure about moving ahead with their ambitious fundraising goals. We urged them to overcome the temptation to stop and “wait it out” and to focus on their mission, adjust their plans and persevere.

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”  —Dale Carnegie

In this newsletter, we celebrate three NGA clients who stayed the course (even when it was low and rocky) and achieved impressive fundraising breakthroughs. We hope you find their stories inspiring.

Keeping the Faith
One year into their campaign, Bel Air Church members could no longer gather in person to worship, break bread or learn about the vision for the Church’s future. Bel Air leadership made the bold leap from in-person to online, altered plans and adjusted timelines. Finally, 6 months after the sanctuary reopened and members were welcomed back in person, the Bel Air congregation reached its $14 million goal!  Read more here

Leaving No Stone Unturned
Villa Esperanza Services had already raised over $10 million and opened a new school. They had launched Phase 2 to raise another $11.5 million when, seemingly overnight, their close knit family of special education students, clients with intellectual disabilities, teachers, therapists, aids and administrators were all told to stay home. Although they could no longer bring prospective donors for a heartwarming tour of the campus, the staff and volunteers continued to reach out to every donor on their list. Leadership was elated to reach an important fundraising benchmark of 70% of construction costs as Villa gradually reopened to students, adults and staff. Now the organization is poised to seek foundation support to bring them home.

Building on Strength
Imagine raising funds for a school that the students aren’t even able to attend. That’s the challenge Laguna Blanca School in Santa Barbara faced when the pandemic closed down their campus shortly after they launched their $8.5 million Building on Strength capital campaign. Persevering, school leadership continued to speak with passion and conviction about the future. NGA partnered with them to creatively use technology to replace fundraising committee meetings and tours. Fundraising best practices (modified for the times) paid off. In September 2021, Laguna Blanca cut the ribbon and welcomed students into their brand new Center of Science and Innovation.

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