Cambridge, Massachusetts—"We've transformed our whole organization and really our day-to-day alignment and work, leading right up to taking better care of our major donors, and bringing them closer to the organization."
Make-A-Wish, New Hampshire considered adopting the Benevon Model for some time before finally attending a workshop.
"I think there's something to be said for the right time and place, but I wish we had started earlier," says Julie Baron, president and CEO.
Once they did finally make the decision to implement the Benevon Model about three years ago, they hit the ground running. From their first two Ask Events, they were able to raise well over half a million dollars in gifts and pledges.
The organization, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, quickly saw other benefits beyond the financial gains.
"I think the biggest by-product early on was the synergy between the staff and the board," Baron says. "We were kind of all marching together with a single purpose, and there was a lot of energy around that that had never been there before. I think we all cared about the mission, and we all had strategic goals and plans, but there was never that step in time together that kind of came from using the model."
They were also able to carefully craft the stories that they shared in Point of Entry Events and their Ask Event, and refine the message that they shared with the community about their mission.
"I think it was really about getting our messaging in focus," Baron says. "I think one of the things we struggled with was really moving our donors and our community to understand that a wish was so much more than something just nice to do, and that it really was something that we needed to do, that they needed to be involved with, and that a wish really impacts a child's physical health. It really is an amazing experience for them, a life-changing experience, and a real turning point during their treatment."
Dawn Chambers, a board member, notes that their implementation of the Benevon Model has also had a great impact on the organization's board.
"I would say that the biggest benefit, or the biggest change that I've seen, is that we now have a plan, as a board and staff, and we have goals, and focus, and everyone is on board, right from the staff to the board to the volunteers, everyone," Chambers says.
With a plan in place and the board and staff working together like never before, Baron is excited to see Make-A-Wish, New Hampshire be able to take new steps towards growing their major gifts program.
"We've transformed our whole organization and really our day-to-day alignment and work, leading right up to taking better care of our major donors, and bringing them closer to the organization," Baron says. "We're very excited about it. When we also added a staff person, to help us be able to focus a little bit more…we were able to do that through gained revenue and support. So you know, it kind of fed into each other."
For organizations who are considering the Benevon Model, Chambers has this advice:
"Trust the process, and do it. It's well worth the investment of time and money in the long run. I'm just really happy with the whole thing. It was a tough sell for our board, because it's a lot of money for a nonprofit, but I just think that everyone now…we're all on board, and we're all just thrilled and very excited about the potential. I'm just thrilled that we're not starting from ground zero every year. We now have a system for community awareness and for the funds that we need for our mission."
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