The YSC Academy engaged Cogeo in early 2016 to address the unique challenges and opportunities facing the Academy’s development efforts. By the end of the one-year engagement, Cogeo had assisted the Academy in instituting best-business practices in all aspects of development, ensuring the Academy was prepared for success well into the future. Additionally, the partnership resulted in the raising of $1,200,000 for a 15,000% increase in the Academy’s year-over-year funding and a 1,000% return on the Academy’s investment.
In early 2015, the YSC Academy was staring at a common challenge with uncommon circumstances. Independent schools generally have strong financial support from current parents and alumni. Although the Academy had stellar social support, the school was only 4 years old, meaning they didn’t have alumni yet. Additionally, since 85% of students are on full financial aid, the parents of the students did not have the necessary financial capacity to meet the annual budgetary obligations of the school.
The Academy interviewed 12 consulting firms prior to establishing their first engagement. The hired consulting firm brought traditional independent school strategies to the school, which weren’t appropriate for the unique challenges the school faced.
After one failed consulting relationship, the YSC Academy hired Cogeo in early 2016 and began the process of establishing internal best-business development practices and a major-gifts program.
How Cogeo's Services Helped
Early into the engagement, it was clear that YSC Academy had found its perfect match. Less time was being spent on development activities and more output occurred. Cogeo focused the Academy to establish an annual case statement to clearly articulate the Academy’s history, array of programmatic areas and annual development needs. Link To Case Statement
Next, Cogeo implemented a CRM system strategy to not only capture current activity, but also ensure that all future activity will be organized in a strategic fashion for effective evaluation and readiness for scale.
Additionally, Cogeo initiated the beginning stages of the Academy’s major gifts program aimed to target relationships based on the unique opportunities associated with the school’s closest relationships.
Furthermore, Cogeo implemented its corporate engagement strategies to take full advantage of the State of Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program. Cogeo researched and initiated donor relationships with qualifying corporations to support the Academy through this special tax program.
Cogeo also identified foundation outreach as a prime opportunity to further diversify the Academy’s revenue streams of donation revenue. Given the unique nature of the school, the Academy was well positioned to be very attractive to funding from foundations.
The Academy had never run a signature event prior to working with Cogeo. During the engagement, Cogeo assisted the Academy, leveraging its event management capabilities, to plan and execute the Academy’s first ever open house event, annual event, and private cultivation event.
Finally, the Academy quickly outgrew the part-time internal resource allocation to working with Cogeo’s consultants and saw the opportunity to take even further advantage of the increase in development activity. Cogeo worked with the Academy to perform an executive search and hire their first ever Director of Development.
Results and Return on Investment
The YSC Academy’s investment with Cogeo paid off in a major way and had significant impact on helping the Academy far exceed its annual development goals.
The case statement was a highly effective tool for the Academy in all of its development opportunities. It successfully communicated the depth of its programming and necessary levels of funding support.
Effective data management was the base from which all decision-making was made and integral to the Academy’s financial success. All development outreach was documented within various data management systems and resulted in a robust CRM structure. The Academy’s data management was now prepared for its future development endeavors well into the future.
All three events managed by Cogeo’s event management services were a tremendous success. Each have established a strong precedent for their unique value-add qualities to the Academy’s overall development strategy for many years to come.
By the end of the first year’s engagement, Cogeo had successfully secured the Academy’s first ever Director of Development leveraging Cogeo’s executive search strategies and tactics. The strategic hire was the next logical step toward significant growth and expansion of the Academy’s overall development strategy.
The Academy’s major gifts program, corporate engagement program and foundation outreach program all yielded outstanding financial success. Before working with Cogeo, the Academy had raised $80,000 for all of its programmatic needs. By the end of the first year’s partnership with Cogeo, the Academy had raised a total of $1,200,000 for a 15,000% increase in donation revenue and 1,000% return on its investment.