Organizations that are limited in delivering their missions because of budget constraints or outdated funding models
Membership and dues-based organizations whose revenues have plateaued
Special, unique projects and opportunities that cannot be funded through traditional sources of revenue
Volunteer leaders who are passionate and committed, but also reluctant to ask for money
Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development Councils that want to implement aggressive, multi-year strategic initiatives without impacting existing dues and operating structures.
Launching new organizations, or new partnerships and alliances of existing organizations
Urgent projects and programs that may have a finite window of opportunity for funding and execution
The success of our campaign methodology is rooted in three core principles:
Reliance on a process oriented, project management approach. With almost 40 years and over 700 campaigns as our proving ground, we have enhanced and refined an extremely reliable approach to the management and execution of fundraising campaigns. While each campaign is tailored to the unique characteristics and conditions of the client and community, every NCDS project director skillfully and resolutely integrates our proven process along a critical path to maintain desired timelines, and to achieve the campaign goal. At NCDS, we don’t make it up as we go and that means no surprises for our clients.
Strategic use of volunteers and strategic solicitation of funds. Unlike most fundraising consultants, we don’t simply train and educate client staff and volunteers and then watch from the sidelines while they either succeed or fail. NCDS provides a much more hands on experience, especially in the critical task of prospect solicitations. Credible, respected volunteers are essential to any campaign’s success, but very few of them either enjoy or excel at asking others for money. Because we maintain the initiative for planning, executing, and following up every “ask,” and because we limit the volunteers’ time and effort, volunteers love NCDS campaigns. As a result, we are able to recruit the very top community leaders to participate in our campaigns. It’s also why those same leaders frequently summon us to help their other favorite causes and organizations. Some firms have taken this approach to the opposite extreme, serving as “hired guns” that rely more on personal charisma and salesmanship than on sound fundraising principles and strategy. Conversely, every NCDS solicitation is made at the right time, for the right reasons, for the right amount, and by the right people – and with more emphasis on the donor’s needs than the organization’s.
Belief in Return on Investment fundraising. New jobs, higher incomes, capital investments, and expanded tax bases are all “good” for a community. NCDS’ Economic Strategy Center enables our clients to make a much more compelling case than just “the community good” by demonstrating bottom line impacts on select industries and even individual companies in the community. By making a sound business case for our clients’ projects and programs we consistently secure six and seven figure investments from those entities (both public and private) with the greatest stake in the future of the community or region. Moreover, we apply these same principles to “quality of life” initiatives, including arts & cultural projects, educational programs, and social service offerings. Our emphasis on ROI fundraising ensures that every campaign pursues every method of answering the “what’s in it for me” question with something more than just the warm glow of philanthropy.
What They Say About Us
Evan Nolte, President & CEO
Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce
"NCDS has been our fundraising firm of choice since they first helped us devise the Forward Sioux Falls operating model in 1987, and raised $1.8 million to implement it. Not only is the firm exceptionally skilled at raising money, they also understand the importance of generating buy-in and sustained commitment. NCDS has helped us exceed goal in seven campaigns, the latest of which has a $15.5 million target, and when the current campaign is completed, NCDS will have helped us raise $53 million to fund our initiatives. Our top community leaders expect the best from our organization, and the exceptional team at NCDS always works hard to help us exceed those expectations."
Brant Beene, Executive Director
Birmingham Landmarks, Inc.
“Birmingham Landmarks, Inc. certainly made the right decision in selecting NCDS to raise the $7 million needed to fully restore our sadly dilapidated and abandoned former vaudeville theatre in downtown Birmingham. Your firm provided the wisdom and experience to position the project as worthy of support, then structured a winning campaign that was creative, energizing, and relentless in pursuit of the goal. We were especially appreciative of your flexibility relative to our early cash flow issues, and even more so in the selection of the assigned NCDS Project Executive. Because of the success and momentum of your phase of this exceptional campaign, the Lyric staff was able to continue seeking commitments utilizing tax credits, and the total raised now exceeds $11.8 million. Thanks to NCDS, Birmingham can boast of having one of the most spectacularly restored performing arts theaters in America.”
Chris Schilken, Executive Director
Watertown Development Company
“The WDC’s successful $3.5 million capital campaign under the leadership of NCDS marks the beginning of a new stage of advancement for our organization. The team effort – from developing our economic development blueprint to the GROW Watertown 5-Year Strategic Plan – laid the groundwork. And now area business leaders have shown their confidence by rallying behind the WDC so it can help implement our 5-year strategic plan for growth. The WDC is already having a meaningful impact on business development efforts in our area as companies are no longer viewing their contributions as a donation, but an opportunity to be part of building a stronger and growing community.”
Brian Ferguson, Chairman & CEO (Retired)
Eastman Chemical Company
"On behalf of the officers and directors of the Economic Development Alliance, I want to thank you and your staff for the great job NCDS did in helping restructure the Alliance, and for successful management of the fundraising campaign that fully funded our five-year action plan. The NCDS process and format delivered exactly what you said it would do when you met with Alliance members over eighteen months ago. The NCDS process engaged top regional private and public sector leaders and attracted financial support from large and small companies and communities throughout the region."
Marc Jordan, CCE, President & CEO
North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitors Bureau
"As the smaller chamber operating in the shadow of a larger, very aggressive one nearby, the North Myrtle Beach Chamber committed to take its game to the next level. You and the NCDS team not only drove the creation of a bold new multi-year strategy, you generated buy in and a huge boost in revenue. A great side benefit of launching and funding a new initiative was NCDS’ identification and engagement of a cadre of new leaders who had never really participated, much less invested at significant levels. Your methodology works, and your experience in hundreds of other communities paid off for us in a major way. So much so, we plan to kick off the next multi-year campaign this year. In my book, NCDS remains the ‘gold standard’ for community development fundraising."
James Grunke, President & CEO
Erie (PA) Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership
"I have worked with NCDS on 4 successful campaigns in three different communities, Boise, ID, Missoula, MT and Erie PA. Because of their tried and true methodology and expertise, we have always been able to clearly articulate goals and measures of success that investors are looking for in an economic development initiative and been successful in raising the necessary resource to implement the strategies."
Bill Sisson, President & CEO
Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce
“Using NCDS for our five-year economic development campaigns has been the secret to our success. Our chamber has worked with the company for eight campaigns, and we have never been disappointed in their world-class consulting services. They are consummate professionals and become an integral part of the local team from the feasibility stage through the successful launch of the strategy. Their “service after the sale” approach to what they do is a key differentiator and one of the many reasons they are so highly recommended.”
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