The landscape

Rodale Institute, widely recognized as the birthplace of the organic movement, has been the global leader in regenerative organic agriculture for over 70 years. The Institute’s focus on research, farmer training, and consumer education has significantly contributed to the growth of the organic movement. Historically funded by grants and the organic food industry, the Institute recognized a significant opportunity to engage more constituents and accelerate expansion of organic agriculture across the country and beyond.

The solution

With a goal to reach more prospective donors, the Institute turned to GG+A to assess its advancement program. Did it have the staff and resources to optimize its fundraising? GG+A recommended a greater investment in fundraising staff, program support, and communications to elevate the Institute’s fundraising. GG+A deployed its analytics, DonorScape, that revealed an entire new high-potential prospect list. With this new data, it was clear that individual, major, and planned gift programs needed to be enhanced. A refreshed board was enlisted as committed donors and advocates of the Institute.

Armed with new prospects and a reinforced program, it was critical that the Institute communicate effectively across its many stakeholders and prospective donors. GG+A’s strategic communications team crafted a messaging platform for the Institute, advised on a new approach to annual giving messaging, and wrote a case for support. And, to ensure that they were hitting the mark, message effectiveness was evaluated among the Institute’s constituents through GG+A’s SurveyLab. These refined and tested messages equipped gift officers with the tools to successfully solicit all levels of prospects.


The result

Equipped with the right data and tools from GG+A’s work, Institute leaders accomplished an extraordinary 73% growth in private philanthropic support between 2017 and 2019. This restructuring, the newly energized board, and sharpened communications are the pillars for its renewed and enhanced program. The Institute is poised to increase private gifts and build a sustainable program of increased philanthropic support.