The Cibolo Nature Center, dedicated to the protection and conservation of the Texas Hill Country, provides education, research and entertainment and outdoor activities to more than 100,000 visitors a year, on 100 acres of trails and wilderness areas. Its challenge is one that faces many newer nonprofits: needing to increase its donated income. CNC was facing growing expenses for programs and activities, and was heavily reliant on earned income from membership fees. Its donors were confused about whether their membership fees also “counted” as their annual gift to CNC. The organization was also overly dependent on foundations for its annual support and leaned heavily on special events to shore up its development program. That’s where Lee+ Associates stepped in to help.
Cibolo Nature Center hired Lee+ Associates to conduct a development assessment to help it create a more diversified revenue stream and to equip it with best practices, policies and procedures to ensure its fundraising stability.
Lee+ Associates created a strategic development plan and our team led the staff and board through an analysis of three years of giving, reviewing the internal and external environment, creating the goals and objectives of the strategic plan for growth, shaping the projected budget required to get there, and producing a detailed annual development plan to boost desired results. Lee+ Associates recommended merging CNC’s membership program with its charitable program, allowing all donors to become “members” thus promoting their ownership and their continued philanthropy. The plan also tripled the number of members, increased amount of dollars raised through contributions, and helped diminish the amount of time staff members spent on membership renewals each month.
What Lee+ Associates delivered:
Cibolo Nature Center took Lee+ Associates‘ assessment and planning tools and used them to boost its donor base and raise more money, especially from individual donors. Marion Lee said, “Helping an organization increase its donors and raise a greater amount of dollars is the bottom line. It’s how we measure success.” Additionally, Cibolo Nature Center now can utilize its staff resources more effectively, work according to well-established policies and procedures, and keep its focus on donors. “The fact our development assessment worked and got immediate results means it was successful.”
“I just wanted to let you know how successful your recommendations have been for the Development Department. We have increased year-end giving dramatically. We are enthusiastic about continuing to follow your suggestions.”
CAROLINE CHIPMAN EVANS