Planning Workshop

Friday, February 28, 2014
Noon–4 p.m.
SC Private Dining Room

Paul Ince, Chair

Attended: Jim Borchers, Gaspare Calvaruso, Joe Cook, Cindy Elking, Kelly Felber, Dianne Garrison, Paul Ince, Scott Lewis, Scott Liebel, Mike Lissner, Pete Novak, Jeanne Paxton, Seth Peimann, Chuck Pilliod  Staff: Dr. Ron Chesbrough, Tara Cochran, Kasey McKee, Betsy Schneider, Sharon Schreiber

State of the College

The planning retreat started at noon with lunch in the Student Center Private Dining Room.  At 12:30 p.m., Dr. Chesbrough welcomed the group and gave a brief summary of the state of the college. He also touched on the innovative programs coming out of the long-range planning process and the importance of the Foundation’s vision of transforming lives and strengthening communities. 

Todd Galbierz, vice president of administrative services, gave a brief presentation on the college’s financial outlook.  SCC remains on budget despite lower enrollment and reduced property values and state funding which are the three financial drivers that make up 98% of our operating budget of approximately $37 million.  There are a number of initiatives that are going on that will help with providing resources, as well. 

Kasey McKee provided a progress update on nine strategic plan objectives (out of 38) that were prioritized first: : Honors Program, Dual Admission Programs, Developmental Programs, Domestic and International Recruitment, PreK-12 Partnerships, Quality Courses Program, Quality Workforce Programs, Advising Model, and Development of Faculty and Staff.  She highlighted points from their action plans under consideration for FY15. These action plans will are being presented to Cabinet for consideration in April, to the Board of Trustees for approval in June, and those approved will then implemented in FY15. All of the action plans will be combined into a master implementation plan.  A report to the Foundation Board of the approved and funded action plans will be presented later this summer.

Questions & Comments:

  • Do we have any measures in place to show how effective our recruiting efforts are or are not?  Is there a metric in place?
    • Currently we do not have that data but it is being considered within the new action plan.  We are hoping with domestic recruitment to couple it with a measurement structure backed by data.  
  • When it comes to international recruitment, a suggestion was made about partnering with area churches to help international students feel acclimated to their new community environment.  She is aware of a Methodist church whose pastor works closely with the international students at Lindenwood.  They host dinners once a month. One month the French students prepare a meal for and socialize with church members.  Another month it would be with another group.  This would open up communications with a lot of volunteers that could help the foreign students feel more anchored here.  
    • That is a wonderful idea for a new partnership.  We do have one fantastic partner with Calvary Church and they have come over many times with our student clubs and helped volunteer.  
    • One of the things we need to consider when servicing these students is a homestay program as we know housing is a big obstacle for them.  Housing is a component that definitely needs to be looked at.
    • We also have to look at local foreign students whose parents are here on work visas.  That is a population in itself.  There won’t be a major expense in recruiting them, but what this committee is wanting to do is build a support network or structure for them right now.
  • Barat Academy currently has a large population of students from China who have outstanding study and work skills that have inspired the other students. SCC might want to reach out to them to establish a partnership so those students are aware of the option to continue their education here at SCC.  Also, all of these students live in a house together, so that is an easy transition for them.
  • This planning process looks like it could take up a lot of time for faculty and staff.  Are they up to it?
    • There has been some planning fatigue, but we’ve remained flexible with the timeline and moderating the pace.  
    • One recommendation would be to find little “wins” along the way to keep everyone going.
    • Right now, we are finding that some of these projects can be funded now and some later, we have begun to look into the psychology internally of the messaging of what gets funded and what doesn’t and pointing out what we have accomplished.  
  • Will requests from these strategic plan action plans start coming to the Foundation’s mini-grant and scholarship committee for funding?  
    • If the board is open to it that would be a fantastic idea.  We may be able to use some of those resources as long as they are within the structure we have set up.  Maybe some initiates in the $1,000 range could benefit from a multi-year grant.  
    • This could supplement our process and help us make decisions since it is already hard to choose which projects are the most in need with the limited resources available.
    • We are trying to become a better institution in some very specific ways in a time where our enrollment and property values are declining.  We are going to have to get creative and make hard decisions.  We will have to start looking at other funding sources to achieve our high aspirations.
  • It may seem a little overwhelming given the number of initiatives, but what I like is given the limited resources of time and money, perhaps only the very best ideas will get funded or focused on.
    • Yes, we have made it very clear that when the plans get presented to Cabinet, they will be “competing” for resources.
  • This process will also determine what programs are no longer needed, too?
  • Yes, this is allowing us to look at consolidation of processes or programs.  It will be a better way to streamline our resources.

BREAK: The group took a short break and reconvened at 1:55 p.m. in the Student Center Private Dining Room.

State of the Foundation

Paul Ince, Foundation Board President, spoke to the state of the Foundation and expressed his gratitude to all members for their hard work and dedication this year.  Some of the highlights included: 

  • The Foundation has generated more than $1.7 million dollars since its establishment in 1992.  
  • Over the last five years, the Foundation Board has grown net revenues exponentially, established an endowment fund, and improved financial reporting.  
  • We, also, have true investment funds that are growing, and the SCC Employee Sponsored Program continues to grow and contributes about $25,000 a year.  
  • Paul gave a brief summary of this fiscal year’s finances to date and how funds are generated
  • As for the future, the Foundation staff has started to position themselves to better prepare themselves to be focused and ready.  Kasey is involved with SCC planning, Betsy is spending more time on major giving, and Tara is taking over a lot of the event planning.  The Foundation Board’s role will become more focused on major giving, as well as telling the story of SCC.  

The group participated in a group activity with members at their table.  Participants shared stories pertaining to one of three questions about their educational journey.  

Joe Cook, Foundation Board President-Elect, talked about the important role of board members.  He emphasized the importance of leadership within this aspect - planning long-term but executing in the short-term.  This Board’s impact on student success is a collective impact and is shown by the 100% participation of the Board’s annual board appeal.  He expressed how this board comes together, talks about the issues, and makes plans for the future.  He outlined a few personal thoughts on how he believes this board could perceive their individual contributions of time, talent, and treasure to the board. 

A friendly reminder was made regarding the deadline to submit names for the FY15 term: March 15.  

Betsy Schneider updated the group on the progress of major giving tracking and reporting.  She began her presentation with the three goals that were set in FY14:  

  1. Understand our current donors
  2. Identify probable donors 
  3. Work with SCC leadership to determine financial gaps.  

Betsy briefly summarized the information that was distributed ahead of time relating to the five cycles of fundraising within the Moves Management (MM) approach. Then, she showed how we can infuse this approach into Raisers Edge (Foundation’s donor database) in order to track donors within the ‘pipeline.’ Knowing who is in the pipeline is necessary to grow; especially, if we want to be ready to launch a comprehensive campaign.  

She walked the group through the different reports that can be automatically generated and reminded the group that one way to identify probable donors is by inviting them to an Explore Breakfast.  The next two are scheduled for March 20 and April 29. 

Questions & Comments:

  • Do the reports show if these are first time donors or recurring donors?  That information could be valuable down the road especially for the budgets.
    • Yes, I can breakdown that information, as well as by initiatives.  We can also pull data on who gave last year but hasn’t this year.
    • When we do our budget, that data is extracted out of our Raiser’s Edge program by what they give.  We can then look at it by event side-by-side.
  • In the theoretical scenario of the $1 million campaign, is the target on identified people or those people who have definitely given in the past?
    • It will be on the people that made it through the 2nd stage of the fundraising cycle: qualification.  There are resources, like screening tools, which we will ask for in our action plan to help us make sure we aren’t asking too much or too little.
  • How many people are currently in the Foundation pipeline?
    • We don’t actually have that information yet because we were waiting to confirm the template and process with you all. Now that we have finalized everything, we will update donor profiles in RE and should have a report ready for the board at the April meeting.

Preparing for Our Future

Kasey McKee presented information as it relates to preparing for our future. Two complementary strategic plan objectives related to the Foundation are being addressed over the next 12-months: ‘Expand federal, state, local, and private funding’ and ‘Expand the role of the Foundation in funding programs and projects’. The presentation focused primarily on expanding the role of the Foundation and provided information on:  

  • The desired outcomes if we expanded the role of the Foundation. In other words, if we expanded the role of the Foundation, what would that mean for SCC? 
  • The people who would be impacted if we expanded the role of the Foundation. In other works, who are our target audience(s)?
  • The current snapshot of our activities and initiatives, along with industry best practices so that we can better understand the gap between the two and articulate resources and actions needed to be ready to successfully expand the role of the Foundation. 

Preparing for a comprehensive campaign was mentioned, along with necessary prerequisites to success. Key items to focus on in FY15 included: 

  • Continued focus on building stronger relationships and donation histories 
  • with those key groups who will be instrumental in a campaign
  • Giving SCC leadership time to:
    • Articulate a clear image of itself in accordance to its strategic plan
    • Identify funding objectives based on important and legitimate institutional plans, goals, budgets, and needs coming out of the strategic planning process 

Then when the time is right, together, in conjunction with the Board of Trustees we can start identifying possible campaign goals and determining what it would take to finance the initiative.

Questions & Comments:

  • A question was asked how our current environment fundraising of gross revenue from major giving/grants, individuals, and businesses compare to other community colleges.  
    • Unfortunately that is hard to define because community colleges are set up so differently and there are so many variables involved.
  • Is the goal for more individual vs. more business gift giving?
    • The more mature development shops that are raising significant funds for institutions, typically receive 80% of their funding from 20% of their donors. Research shows that the only way to achieve and maintain this is with more major gifts from individuals and private foundations, since they have greater flexibility. We have not done an analysis on our donors, but we will have an opportunity to do more analysis when we incorporate the Moves Management approach.
  • What is our general event revenue on a yearly basis?
    • It mainly comes from the Friends & Alumni Fundraising Events (Rhythm & Ribs, Golf Scramble). Gross is about $91,000 and net is $45,000. Roughly 2 to 1.
  • Some schools are aggressive in getting donors.  For example, if a student provided the Foundation with names of 25 individuals they could solicit, the student would receive a sweat suit as a gift.  This letter was sent even before the student stepped on campus.    
    • Some places are very aggressive. We are looking to strike a balance and progress in a way that feels natural.  As we build alumni strategies, we will bring this back to the group to decide how best to reach out.  We are actively working on a full-fledge alumni program, but we need a structure in place before we start reaching out.  
    • A good opportunity to keep in mind are those people we’ve given scholarships to.  This will give us an opening to contact them and build networks.
  • With the $1 million goal scenario, we would roughly need a little over 100 people to give 80% of the money. If we take the 11,000 alumni who received a degree or certificate at SCC and throw the divisive 1% population in that 11,000 alumni, we have that 100 people that could write those checks.  We have that population in front of us to say nothing of all those other relationships.  The alumni is important and if you attended that school, then you would have a reason to think about donating to the school if they called.
  • Kasey asked the group considers this campaign approach appropriate.
    • Yes, coupled with the strategic process and knowing that the campaign will come out of this, it makes sense and is very important for this group to see so they will get behind this and get involved with the funding initiative.
  • Are you looking to launch a campaign 18 months from now?
    • Not that soon. More than likely it will take 18 months to identify campaign goals and identify the steps needed and then launch the plan in the silent phase in 2 – 2 1/2 years out.
  • Are you looking at an outside party to do the feasibility study?
    • An outside party typically does the feasibility study because the skill set is so specialized. 
  • When talking about alumni, do we ever look at alumni from the Foundation Board or the Board of Trustees?
    • That has come up in a few committees meetings on whether or not to start up an Advisory committee group to connect a group that has an infinity to us and would like to stay current in what we do but they don’t want the commitment of being a board member.  We need to look more closely at this.
  • Like at a 4-year institution, donors and potential donors are treated with special opportunities like lunching at the President’s home, given tickets to sit in the President’s box at the theater, etc.  How are we going to continue relationships with donors when they’ve come to expect such treatment like that given at the 4-year institutions?  Simple things like tickets available for theater productions or dinner or drinks at a member’s home and then bringing them on campus for an event would increase our visibility and get donors or potential donors on campus and interested in the college.
    • It is a good point. We will have to build that as we go.  It takes money to make money, but we will invent that process in as sophisticated manner as possible.  We have people in this room that are practiced at doing something like that, so it can be done.  
    • A comment was made whether donors to a community college would expect such special treatment and whether they would prefer more of their dollars going to the bottom line.  
    • Faculty members love to show off their programs and some have really fun bells and whistles in their classrooms that they would love to showcase to outside individuals.  These experiences would be a great supplement to other traditional fundraising events and would be a great way to bring awareness to a campaign.

 Rhythm & Ribs Update

  • The group turned their attention to Scott Lewis to talk about the upcoming Rhythm & Ribs fundraising event.  This year the event will be held on Thursday, June 5.  Ticket sales start April 15.  The Rhythm & Ribs committee has been in discussion about how to go about getting the Board involved in ticket sales and was wanting to brainstorm a bit on it today.  Several different strategies were tried over the last couple of years with the team competition working well the first year, but not so good the second.  

Questions & Comments:

  • Have we thought about going to corporations and selling blocks of tickets to them to give to their employees?
    • That was tried previously with the Music and More tickets for $25 (100 for $2,000).    A couple of years ago more of our sponsors took advantage of the lower ticket levels, so those ones that were able to create their own packages did the Music and More rather than the VIP tickets so they could get more of their employees to the event.  So, we could look at offering different packages levels maybe with the general admission tickets instead.
    • It might be a way to introduce it to smaller businesses that have 50 employees or less.  It is just another inroad with those organizations to participate at a different level especially if they can’t be a $1,000 or $2,500 donor.
    • One of our former board members gave them to his clients.
  • Is the goal to get as many people on campus or to sell to the right group?  Is it about numbers and attendance or the type of group?  What should the philosophy be?
    • Two years ago we had the perfect weather and approximately 1500 people showed up. We might have been able to squeeze a few more in but the event looked full and was successful from a revenue standpoint. Last year we did not have the best weather and we only had 1100 in attendance.
  • Do we want 1500 VIP or 1500 general?  What is our goal?  Focus on few right people and not the volume of ticket sales?  Is this a fundraiser or a friend-raiser?
    • It is a fundraiser.  The Foundation is staffing that event so it definitely needs to raise money.  The proportion of VIP tickets (350) to general (1150) seems to be working. We just have to sell out the VIP area. 
    • The goal is to introduce your network to SCC in hopes they will grow with us. By offering two different ticket levels enables the board member to identify the type of people to invite.  
  • Do we know the revenue per attendee?  Even though they come in with a $5 ticket doesn’t mean they aren’t spending big money possibly even more than the VIP person?
    • It was calculated that the average $5 ticket totaled about a $20 sale.  
  • How many VIP tickets were sold last year?
    • It was down last year.  100 VIP tickets are given to businesses as part of their sponsorships. We sold approximately 150 tickets last year for a total of 250.  
    • This board should be able to sell out the VIP tickets.  
  • I think we should see a big difference with having the event on a Thursday.  We aren’t competing with graduations, etc.  
  • I think that once we start getting comfortable and focused on the alumni and their experience and ties while they are here, this type of event will be considered fun and may bring them back to campus every year.  Maybe when we get around to the ‘ask’ portion, this will be one more thing they will identify with our campus.  

After much discussion, the group was interested in selling more VIP and general admission tickets to get more people on campus.  Betsy will create a new $5 group ticket package for variety of options.  

Planning for Today

Kasey directed everyone’s attention on the planning for the next fiscal year (FY15).  After discussion, the group agreed the focus should continue to be on enhancing and expanding our major giving and alumni development initiatives.  The executive committee will draft the plan for review and vote at the April board meeting.

For FY16, we will most be asking the College for additional staff in order to adequately expand the role of the Foundation in funding programs and projects.  

Questions & Comments:

  • Are there any initiatives to increase our general endowment?
    • No, we do not have a focused effort in place to acquire new gifts specifically for the endowment.  
  • What does everyone think about that?
    • In the long term, I think we need to build it up.
    • We do.  That is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves in 20-25 years.  
    • Collectively as a board we are committed to giving 10% of our unrestricted revenue.
  • Do we have a goal for the endowment?
    • Not at this time. Betsy did do some research into whether it is wise to embark on an endowment campaign separately from a comprehensive campaign, and she found mixed results.  
    • Instead of doing an official campaign, maybe we could put a line item into our plan so we remember it and it doesn’t fall off our radar.  
  • We should have a goal even it if isn’t money we can spend.  Maybe $20,000 or some simple like two gifts of $25,000 a piece next year.  What tools do we have in place to do this?  What is our mousetrap?   
    • Maybe instead of a dollar amount being the goal, how about having the goal be a certain number of gifts to the endowment? 
  • Would it be good to start with a goal of a number of gifts rather than dollar amount? 
    • Yes, and not get fixated on the dollar amount.  Work more on the process first.
    • The goal should be to grow the endowment.  We already have a goal to get money from our events.
    • It will be nice to have an endowment at a level we can be proud of.  We can show what we are spending the money on but also show that it is continuing to grow.  
    • It is important that the goal is realistic.  We don’t want to fall short which would equate to a negative response.  If we can show that we were able to reach our goal, then people get excited about it.
    • Everything must be very positive.
  • Is there a creative way, or a comfort level, where we can write this line in in the budget?
    • We can put $0 in the line item.
  • There are other programs we haven’t studied or considered, too.  The back page of MU’s alumni magazine has the MU Life Annuity Program.  That is a program as a tool in our bag as to one of the ways to raise money.  We do need to set a goal, though.
    • That is a good thought and will give us a chance to practice a team approach with a specified initiative focusing on major gifts, etc.  I think there is a creative way we can do that.
    • There can be a lot of great learning out of that.

The meeting adjourned at 4 p.m.