The landscape

Many independent schools have been built on the support of families, many for generations, who are dedicated to the school’s mission and the communities they serve. Charlotte Country Day School (CCDS), an independent, JrK-12 coeducational school in North Carolina, accomplished several fundraising campaigns throughout its history based on this kind of support–a small donor base of trustees and families. As the school’s needs and community evolved, its leadership realized that reaching beyond this small, committed constituency was integral to reach its goals and secure its future.

The solution

In 2014, Charlotte Country Day School partnered with GG+A to uncover the possibilities. GG+A conducted a feasibility study and developed a campaign operating plan for an unprecedented $54 million campaign. To achieve this goal, GG+A worked with CCDS to build and execute a plan that expanded its major gift pool by analyzing the school’s network of current and former families, alumni, and friends. The result was a list of new prospects with the capacity and likelihood to give, as well as the potential inclination to support a campaign of this size.

To help the school learn more about its community, GG+A conducted a donor survey to understand donor attitudes and their responses to messages and campaign priorities. And, to ensure that systems were in place to execute a campaign, GG+A provided concrete recommendations involving organization, data systems, prospecting, stewardship, and communications. This data, along with a strong foundation, were instrumental in developing a successful campaign strategy.

Throughout the campaign, GG+A worked closely with the campaign co-chairs, head of school, and advancement team to implement that strategy, continuing to offer advice on principal gifts strategy, campaign communications, and the role of the board, among other issues. Before the school launched its campaign publicly, GG+A conducted a mid-campaign assessment for the school to help it understand where it was having the greatest success and where focused attention might drive greater fundraising.

The result

This campaign closed in June 2020 having raised $90 million–$36 million more than its goal. CCDS has raised critical funds for new and reimagined buildings that have transformed the campus, endowment and annual giving, and laid the groundwork for sustainable philanthropy. GG+A was proud to be the school’s partner every step of the way from the feasibility study until the campaign celebration.