Client Stories

Shively Christian Church, Louisville, KY

When Shively Christian Church began to outgrow their facilities, the elders and staff realized it was time to investigate the possibility of relocating.  The leaders in the church also recognized their limitations.  In order to understand what it would take to raise the funds and develop and implement the plans to relocate, they would have to consult an outside professional who had the knowledge and experience to help them.  “The main goal for us was to get professional expertise and some empirical data from our congregation regarding our plans.  We also wanted to find out more about the overall health of our church,” explained Brett Baker, the Senior Associate Minister of Shively Christian Church.

Baker, who had experience with church consulting, ultimately turned to The Covenant Group to help them because they had a proven record of success and he knew their experience was just what the church needed.  “The Covenant Group is a lot more comprehensive than other firms we interviewed.  We chose them because of their ability to tailor a customized approach that fit our congregation,” Baker explained.  “The Covenant Group was also very specific in measuring things important to us in our context.”  Based on the survey findings, The Covenant Group recommended that Shively Christian Church delay the campaign and implement a strategic planning process that would attend to gaps uncovered by the survey and create a shared vision for the future.

Baker is confident that the church will continue to benefit from The Covenant Group work.  “We are very pleased.  Dr. Moisan and his team helped us conduct a survey and implement a planning process that produced results.  We now know our glaring weaknesses and critical issues.  Dr. Moisan helped us build a plan and consensus from which we have launched several important initiatives.”

The leaders of Shively Christian Church are confident that their work with The Covenant Group has been of great value to their congregation. “The Covenant Group fit us very well,” concluded Baker.  “Len and his team are very professional, and I would definitely recommend The Covenant Group to any other organization looking for a high level of knowledge and experience.”


Ronald McDonald House, Louisville, KY

In 2001 when Executive Director Hal Hedley contacted The Covenant Group for help, they were facing difficult circumstances.

“Over 1,000 families per year were knocking on our doors for help,” said Mr. Hedley.  “They were coming to Louisville from out of town and needed a place to stay.  Their children were being treated in local hospitals and most of them had acute illnesses or injuries.  We had to do something.  We were turning away over 200 families per year.”

Ronald McDonald House has a longstanding reputation as a home away from home for families in need, so deciding to build wasn’t difficult; the need was compelling.  Mr. Hedley and the Board went to work and designed a plan to acquire space and build more rooms, rooms that would accommodate an additional 400 families.  The larger problem was figuring out where the $4.5 million they needed would come from.  That’s when Mr. Hedley and the Board contacted The Covenant Group.  Referring to The Covenant Group CEO, Len Moisan, as the ‘campaign architect,’ Mr. Hedley noted, “My first impression of Len was the strong development background he came in with as a professional.”

The Covenant Group conducted a feasibility study, helped develop a case for support, designed a campaign plan, and then provided campaign counsel to implement the plan.

Mr. Hedley noted that because of The Covenant Group’s record of achievement and reputation for success, he had high expectations.  He commented, “They met my expectations in all areas.  It would have been nearly impossible to exceed my expectations … they were high because of the background and reputation The Covenant Group had established … I am impressed with their work.”

Results

Ronald McDonald House has achieved their campaign goal of $4.5 million

Also, 400 additional families … families in need … will be able to stay at Ronald McDonald House


Paula York, Louisville, KY

Tim Hester, President of Paula York, engaged the strategic business planning services of The Covenant Group.  For nearly 30 years this family owned business had served its clients well.  But according to the owner, it had also, “been around the block a few times” and needed a new perspective on how to move forward.

Hester engaged The Covenant Group to help him begin composing a usable and practical strategic plan that would form the direction that the company would take.  Nine months into implementation, Hester expressed his excitement about the results, “We have written clear vision and mission statements, we have solidified and celebrated our core values and we have begun implementing our plan.”  In addition to developing a consensus among employees regarding company values and direction, the plan has helped to develop processes that encourage staff to assume ownership and accountability for the results of their work.  Hester credits The Covenant Group with facilitating a “true team approach to the market even though we have several different product lines that can operate as stand alone business units.”

In addition to the changes that Hester has seen in employee attitudes and the culture of his organization, he has also reaped some personal benefits in the process.  “Working with The Covenant Group has really helped me prioritize and stay focused on my most important goals, professionally, personally and spiritually.  They have encouraged me not to over-commit, so I can be successful in the areas that are the most important.”

Of course in business, success is always measured in bottom line results.  Hester noted, “Our revenues are up 32% over last year and our profits are at levels we have never seen before.  The work The Covenant Group have helped us complete this past year has moved Paula York Inc. further ahead than any work we have done in the past 10 years!”


Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN

“When I came on board in 2002, there was some administrative transition.  I wanted to put some emphasis on our development efforts and pay more attention to our growth in that area.  We had a good development department in place, but the university was relatively new in its efforts at nurturing and providing support for its development activities.”

Those are the words of Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, the tenth President of Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  His early tenure was highlighted by a heightened focus on MTSU’s fundraising activities and an increased emphasis on nurturing positive donor relationships.  He called on The Covenant Group to assist the institution in their transition.

Dr. McPhee believes that the transition was significant, and that The Covenant Group’s involvement was essential in keeping momentum.  “I made some organizational changes and decided that we needed new leadership in our development area.  So, one of the first things I asked The Covenant Group to do was a development audit.  During this process, Dr. Bill Rothwell of The Covenant Group really became a senior advisor to me.  His expertise and energy helped MTSU in a number of ways.  He got involved, he was enthusiastic, he got to know the people in our community – he became part of the university fabric quite quickly.”

The Covenant Group served in an advisory role for over nine months.  During this time we conducted a development audit, created a communications piece entitled “Creating an Endowment,” oversaw various day-to-day activities within the development department and assisted in identifying, screening and interviewing the new Vice President of Development.

“I was particularly interested in not losing ground during this important time.  Not only did The Covenant Group provide general support and advice, I can point to that specific outcome in terms of dollars.  Dr. Rothwell was instrumental in developing the conceptual paper which led directly to a $1.7 million gift to our Nursing School.”

Dr. McPhee summarized his thoughts.  “I really have no suggestions on what they could have done to improve their service to our university.  A lasting result of their involvement has been the more focused nature of our donor relationships.  We can now interact with our donors and more clearly articulate the needs of the university, and that has strengthened our development efforts considerably.”


Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Louisville, KY

Louisville’s landscape bears the signature of Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture.  In 1891, Mr. Olmsted, the mastermind behind New York’s Central Park, the grounds at Biltmore Estate and the U.S. Capitol Grounds, was invited to Louisville to help establish a park system.  The result was a stunning array of 18 parks and six parkways.  They are Louisville landmarks and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Nearly 100 years later, a nonprofit organization was established to help preserve and enhance these masterpieces for generations to come, the Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy.  When they needed to revitalize a capital campaign to grow their efforts, they called on The Covenant Group.

Kate Chandler, Executive Vice President for the Conservancy, said that The Covenant Group did not stop at providing campaign assistance.  “Dr. Moisan and his team not only helped with the campaign, they really helped to lay a solid foundation for our entire development process at the Conservancy.  We have had a development effort in place; however, it was not strategic in its approach and had not reached its potential.  Len stepped in, made suggestions to our board, and they listened and acted on his counsel.”

“For example, in conducting the Feasibility Study, Dr. Moisan identified other areas that could be strengthened. He assisted in creating a job description for a development director and then served on the search and interview committee in landing that individual – me!”  Ms. Chandler had previously served on the development staff of a large Louisville nonprofit, and she commented on how The Covenant Group performed.  “They added more value than other nationally-recognized consultants I had observed.  Len’s knowledge of the city’s philanthropic landscape and the players was invaluable.  And, his expertise was welcomed and respected by our board.  In some cases, he would share ideas and concepts that they may have heard before, however, he carried a level of validity with the board that resulted in action.”

Kate discussed the numerous project update and status meetings led by Dr. Moisan.  “Many times, we would go to Len’s office a bit down, wondering if we would make our goal.  Each and every time we left reinvigorated!  Len was always enthusiastic and he is a creative problem solver.  He would send us away with new ideas, new strategies and a renewed sense of optimism.” It paid off.  “We have exceeded our goal of $4.3 million and we are not done yet! The campaign has a few months left for the public phase and we are already at $5.2 million!”

Ms. Chandler summarized her experience with The Covenant Group. “I would not hesitate to involve Len and his team again.  Len was not like a paid service provider; he really became our partner in the process and helped keep us on track.  To all my fundraising colleagues I would enthusiastically recommend him.  And, I have done so.”


Jeffersonville Carnegie Library Foundation, Jeffersonville, IN

The Jeffersonville Carnegie Library Foundation was on a tight schedule.  They took on the task of renovating the old Carnegie Library facility to become the new home of the Remnant Trust, arguably one of the finest rare book collections in the world.  Their goal was to raise $4 million to cover the costs associated with the renovations and the move from the current location. This task became even more challenging due to the fact that they were given only three years from the earliest discussions, to have the project completed and the doors open to the public.

After engaging The Covenant Group as campaign counsel and then completing a preliminary feasibility study, the campaign process began.  However, the Foundation needed some materials and a video to “tell the story” of the project and the plans.  The Covenant Group and its associates went to work on the design and production of a video and collateral materials.  According to Tom Lindley, Chairman of JCLF, the results were “outstanding.”  He explained “the marketing materials were so important.  They really made people see what we were proposing and what we were offering to the community.”

During the Quiet Phase of the campaign, volunteers used the video and marketing pieces to help generate excitement about the project and make the case for major donors to give.  “They really made a tremendous impact.  They made our ‘sale’ so much easier,” Lindley stated.  “We used them as leave behind pieces to help donors build pride and ownership in the project.”  Lindley added, “The materials and the video were so well done, they really told the story well and moved people to action.”

Lindley is convinced that the investment the Foundation made into the marketing package was a wise one.  “The marketing materials are done well and among the best I’ve seen for any project.  They are that good.”  He added, “it was money that was very well spent.”


Home of the Innocents – 2nd Campaign, Louisville, KY

The Home of the Innocents faced a dilemma.  They had just completed a highly successful and well publicized $25 million campaign.  The goal was to build a new facility which would consolidate onto one campus four previously separate locations.  The expectation was that the expanded space the new Children’s Village offered would serve the Home’s projected growth for at least ten years.  No one anticipated that just one year after moving into the new facility, the Home would reach maximum capacity.

Linda Medley, Vice President of Development, recalls, “We realized we already needed to look at expanding again.  We knew the public would question why we missed the mark on our forecasts, why another campaign already?”  Again the Home looked to The Covenant Group for help.  “After the success they helped us achieve with the first campaign, it was evident they should be involved again.  The Covenant Group provided a good, sound feasibility study and audit which helped us to focus on our short and long term goals.”

The feasibility study revealed that $16.5 to as much as $20 million more could be raised from the private sector.  The plan was to use these funds to build 4 new buildings.  The proposed new construction consisted of a shelter cottage to house the most high-risk children, an advanced therapy center, an expansion of the pediatric convalescent therapy center and an assessment center, the first of its kind in Kentucky.  Later the plan and the goal were expanded to include a fifth building, an on-campus school which would service children too medically fragile or emotionally traumatized to attend off-campus, public schools.

Medley commented, “the first campaign was easier because at that time the need was very visible.  It gave people a great chance to get involved with the Home of the Innocents.”  She continues, “With the second campaign we had to deal with a downturn in the economy and donor fatigue.  People were not as inclined to give.”  However, with The Covenant Group’s help and a committed Executive Committee the Home is well on its way to surpassing its goal.  To date, they have raised over $16 million in private support and the addition of endowment funds, government funding and other public support puts the total raised at close to $33 million.  All five new buildings are scheduled to open next summer.

Medley credits The Covenant Group’s extensive involvement as key to the campaign’s success.  “They were very involved and did a good job of preparing the Executive Committee and keeping them on task.”  She concluded with an enthusiastic recommendation of The Covenant Group. “They are very comprehensive in their approach.  They are ethical and helpful, regardless of the size of the organization.  I would not move forward with any campaign or strategy without their involvement.”


Hikes Point Christian Church, Louisville, KY

Hikes Point Christian Church came to The Covenant Group for help with their Grand Opening.  Senior Pastor, Scotty Richmond commented, “After spending a year taking care of facility renovations, we decided that Easter Sunday 2000 was going to be our Grand Opening.  We had an average Sunday attendance of about 200 folks, and we wanted to really launch into the community, to let them know that there was a new church in town!”

Pastor Richmond continued, “Dr. Moisan helped us put a timeline together, and then he held us accountable to that timeline.  He rendered an invaluable service to help me in leading this whole program.”

The Covenant Group provided strategic coordination of the new member drive.  They oversaw the effort, which included the following:

  • developing a targeted list of households near the church
  • producing 10,000 copies of a three-minute video introducing the church
  • distributing the video to targeted households with the help of church volunteers
  • purchasing display advertising in local print media
  • placing radio spots on Christian and secular radio stations
  • sending out direct mail postcards to over 50,000 people
  • getting a web site up and running

As a result of this effort, Hikes Point Christian Church’s attendance jumped to 486 on Easter Sunday, and in the following four weeks they averaged over 250 people each weekend!

Mr. Richmond expressed his appreciation for The Covenant Group.  “Without Dr. Moisan’s assistance in terms of planning, preparing, securing resources and keeping us accountable to our goals, I don’t believe we would have succeeded at the level we did.  We still have newcomers almost every Sunday – we’re still reaping the benefits of his company’s efforts.”

He added, “Also, the event really mobilized and unified our church to accomplish a goal – it strengthened our existing members.  We joyously celebrated our victory.  Overall, it was an extremely positive experience for our whole church body.”


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.”


Decorative Components Inc., Grand Rapids, Michigan

Decorative Components Inc., a manufacturing company based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, researched many companies before choosing The Covenant Group to help them in creating new marketing materials.  “We have used The Covenant Group in the past for several studies,” explained David Breslin of DCI.  “We have always been pleased with their work, so they were a definite candidate for this project as well.  We just wanted to do our research and find the best value available.”  After pricing several other options, DCI realized that The Covenant Group was the obvious choice.  “They were half the price of anyone else in their market and their quality was outstanding,” Breslin said.  “The Covenant Group is very competitive.  We received excellent, top-notch products and spent half of what we would have elsewhere.”

The Covenant Group produced a comprehensive marketing package that includes brochures, fact sheets, mailers, and a website for DCI.  “I am very pleased with the materials as far as their appeal and usability,” Breslin said.  “The products have not only met my expectations, they have actually exceeded them.”  Soon after The Covenant Group implemented DCI’s website, Breslin found a potential buyer.  “We had a hit on our website from a company out of Michigan,” Breslin explained.  “I followed up with them the very next day and scheduled an appointment for the following week.  I met with the buyer, received samples and prints of parts to quote, and eventually this company offered $1.5 million worth of business to us!  Now this is what we intended to happen when we asked them to design our website.  Without it, we would never have had this opportunity.”

Breslin mentioned that The Covenant Group’s organization, responsiveness and integrity helped to make this process easier for them.  “The Covenant Group did everything they were supposed to do,” Breslin said.  “Dr. Moisan is true to his word.  If ever I needed something from him, he followed through for me immediately.  In today’s business world, it’s hard to find that kind of accountability.”

Breslin also noted that he would happily use The Covenant Group again, “I couldn’t find a reason not to use them for future projects.  We are very pleased with the products and service we received.  We are happy with what we had to pay for them, and we couldn’t ask for better results.  Overall, it was a slam dunk deal.”