YES, you can successfully raise money right now!
This is the answer to the question we fundraising consultants are most asked in 2020. It's a great question! After all, back in April we recommended our clients consider delaying their campaigns as we all weathered the pandemic induced shutdown.
Every situation is different and not everyone paused. Some, after much deliberation and consultation with leadership, chose to cautiously move forward, rather than delaying. I have had the great pleasure of managing one such client's campaign - - JAXUSA Partnership, in Jacksonville, Florida. This is RDG's fifth campaign with JAXUSA. I have been around long enough to work on four of them, so my level of familiarity with this organization and their community's leadership runs deep.
Aundra Wallace, President of JAXUSA, laid out his case. They needed to be sensitive to the challenges of this unique situation and flexible with their investors, but if everyone else was pausing, the Jacksonville region had an opportunity to take a major leap forward. JAXUSA's campaign leadership agreed, and we developed a strategy to navigate the uncertainty and achieve success.
I won't go too far into the weeds, but we started making financial asks in May -- every meeting has been virtual. This means we are still relatively early in the campaign, but the returns are encouraging. For example, we surpassed our mid-July funding benchmark by 21%. Additionally, we have seen 38% of our committed investors to date increase their funding support for JAXUSA. This subset's increase averages 44% above their collective previous funding level. Furthermore, attendance to virtual small group briefings has increased by an average of 27% when compared with face-to-face briefings held last campaign. Also, commitments are being made more quickly. When compared to the last campaign, our committed investors have collectively cut their decision-making time in half.
Why is it working? Certainly, it took developing a nimble campaign strategy for the situation. However, beyond that, I believe we are achieving success because JAXUSA has a relevant plan for the future and a bold and visionary executive that the region's leadership can confidently get behind. Our campaign cabinet members are leading by example with their financial commitments, while also reinforcing Aundra's vision and the organization's value with every prospect group we place them before. Everyone is pulling in the same direction and encouraging a forward-thinking mentality.
So, in summation, the bunker mentality of the business community during the pandemic appears to be less significant than initially assumed, especially when it comes to economic and talent development. Additionally, going virtual and also pressing forward in a calculated yet sensitive manner, with a relevant plan for how your organization can positively impact your community during the recovery and beyond, works.
In Jacksonville, we still have a lot of work to do. I'm not counting my chickens yet. However, we are proving we can successfully raise significant dollars during this unprecedented time. As a matter of fact, many of the lessons learned over the last few months informed RDG's decision to develop our new AcceleRai$e campaign model, which was mentioned in our last blog. Check out the details here. At RDG, our door is always open. If this blog sparks new questions or ideas for you, please reach out. We are always happy to talk with you.