Evansville Catholic Interparochial High Schools, Evansville, IN

Evansville Catholic Interparochial High Schools (ECIHS) faced a challenge.  A capital campaign completed in the late 1990’s, had allowed the two high schools (Memorial and Mater Dei) to make some much needed renovations at both campuses as well as build a gymnasium and an auditorium.  However, the total cost to complete the projects exceeded the funds raised leaving the organization with some unplanned debt.

By 2005, the need for debt reduction in addition to some new and costly repairs necessary at both campuses caused the schools’ administration to consider another campaign.  Although the funds were essential, they knew projects like debt reduction, new boilers, paving parking lots, etc. would make it difficult to evoke passion and support from donors.  That’s when they called on The Covenant Group for assistance.

Andy Goebel, Campaign Co-Chair recalls, “The Covenant Group’s services were extremely valuable.  They helped us determine some other projects to add to the campaign to allow people to feel more connected to it.  They helped us develop a case statement to tell our story, assisted with our marketing materials, and laid out an efficient volunteer structure.”  He continued, “The Covenant Group’s approach is a tried and proven process which offers structure, guidance, training, motivation, positive thinking and, when needed, cheerleading.”

Sarah Wagner, Director of Development, added, “They did a great job of keeping us on task.  We had a 64 member campaign advisory committee.  The Covenant Group’s experience really helped us keep all of the meetings organized.  They created action items for each member to clearly define what each person would be accountable to accomplish.”

Goebel points to The Covenant Group’s track record as a factor that separates them from other firms.  “They just don’t fail.  We checked their references and each one was a positive indicator that The Covenant Group could help us achieve the results we desired.”  Wagner noted that in her past experience with other consultants, “you sometimes get the feeling that you’re on the clock.  I never felt that way with The Covenant Group.  They are so accessible.  I still call on them for help and guidance.”

To date, ECIHS has achieved their campaign goal of $6.5 million.  One concern of the leadership team was the effect a capital campaign would have on other fundraising activities such as annual fund drives, financial aid and other special events.  They assumed that conducting a capital campaign would draw funds away from these other efforts.  Surprisingly, Goebel reports that the exact opposite happened.  “The increased awareness created by the campaign actually helped us raise more money in these other avenues; fundraising for special events alone increased by more than 50% last year.”  Wagner is quick to echo his comments.  “Fiscal year 2006 – 2007 was our largest fundraising year ever in terms of both dollars raised and attendance at all events.”

Equally impressive is the effect that the campaign has had on participants throughout both school communities.  “The feedback has been very positive,” said Wagner.  “The Covenant Group showed us creative options that allowed people to give in ways that best met their individual needs so that everyone could get involved.”  Both highly recommend The Covenant Group to other organizations seeking counsel.  Wagner states, “The Covenant Group is able to empathize with the challenges that accompany the capital campaign process.  Yet, they offer positive suggestions on how to creatively attack and overcome them.”  Goebel concludes, “If you hire The Covenant Group it is in your best interest to follow their advice and recommendations.”