A Cultivation “Aha”

A Cultivation "Aha"

Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse of Northwest Louisiana

Shreveport, LouisianaThe Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse of Northwest Louisiana (CADA), of Shreveport, Louisiana, provides substance abuse education, prevention, and treatment for adults and adolescents. CADA has worked with Benevon since 2007, but it was not until the state of Louisiana switched to a managed care climate in 2012 that the benefits of working with Benevon became fully apparent.

Up until that point, CADA had done business primarily with the state of Louisiana, invoicing the state and being reimbursed based upon a per diem contract. When the state switched to the managed care system, their billing system was completely turned on its head.

"Several agencies and organizations like ours, which were a little bit smaller than us, actually didn't survive the cut," says Bill Rose, executive director. "A big part of this managed care climate, it really squeezed out the smaller guys that didn't have the cash reserves, couldn't afford the expensive audits and accreditations."

As CADA moves forward with this new way of doing business, they have integrated the Benevon Model into every part of their work.

"What we were able to do the past couple of years is integrate Benevon into everything that we do, which not only assists us in filling the gaps that we have in services, but now all of our communications, employee newsletters, our quarterly newsletter that we put out, goes to everybody, so our employees are getting involved, and hosting tours, and becoming Ambassadors," Rose says.

"Now we have a lot of staff involvement, so in addition to the (involved board members), we have a lot of really invested staff members who are trying to introduce people to CADA as well," says Kirsten Howard, communications coordinator.

Rose has also become more comfortable with the asking process.

"It hit me that this whole cultivation piece was (key)," Rose says. "Because we're not just waiting until the Hope Luncheon to ask donors for pledges or money. We're cultivating these relationships with people throughout the year. So it makes a difference in our fund development, but it also makes a difference in the relationships that we have."

Rose compares his efforts to ask for money before adopting the Benevon philosophy of cultivation to his efforts after. For one of his first asks, he says,"(Board members) just kind of threw me in there unprepared. Although it was a guy I knew for 20 years, I never developed a relationship with him based on the model. I thought because I knew him it was going to be easy for me to ask him to give us a Leadership Gift, and of course it was the most difficult thing."

In contrast, one of his most recent asks was a local physician that Rose had met when he first transitioned into his current position.

"I developed a relationship with him," Rose says. "We invited him to a couple of donor relation events that we had, a couple of volunteer opportunity events, and kept in contact with both this gentleman and his wife. I contacted them right before the Hope Luncheon. I went down to his office, and it took me about 15 minutes…I told him all of the things we had done since we'd met him, spent a little time telling him some of the changes in our programs, gave him some updates, and what his contribution had meant to us. I asked him, would he consider either extending his pledge or increasing his pledge, and he said yes. I don't even think it took 15 minutes."

Rose adds, "Because I had a relationship with this other donor, it made it a lot easier. I knew the things he was passionate about, I knew the things he cared about, and his connection to us. In fact I'm set up, I think next week, to do a similar thing with another donor we've been cultivating for the last year. So I'm not apprehensive about it like I was the first time."

Rose stresses the importance of the coaching in their success with the Benevon Model.

"The coaching makes a difference," he says. "We know that every time we get on our call, (our coach) is going to ask us about our specific goals related to Benevon. It keeps the development department, the volunteers on the team, and myself on our toes, and really makes us understand what it is that we need to be doing related to this model."

These organizations have generously contributed their stories with the understanding that our readers will not contact them directly. Instead, please contact us with your questions. Thank you for your consideration.

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