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Camp Oochigeas, Nashville Symphony Receive AFP’s Highest Fundraising Honors

April 2, 2008

(April 2, 2008) The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) awarded its highest fundraising honors, the Campbell & Company Awards for Excellence in Fundraising, to Camp Oochigeas, in Toronto, Ontario, and the Nashville Symphony.

The awards, which recognize organizations that have developed campaigns, projects or techniques that have grown and increased their fundraising infrastructure, program and results, were presented during the AFP International Conference on Fundraising in San Diego.

Two awards are given, one in the Small Category, for organizations with five or less persons in the fundraising department, and one in the Large Category, for charities with more than five individuals in the development office.

A Historic Capital Campaign

The Nashville Symphony is being honored for its historic A Time for Greatness campaign, which raised $123 million in five years, from 2001-2006. The total represents the largest amount raised ever for an arts organization in Tennessee in a single campaign. Even more impressive, whereas most concert hall building projects are conducted with public funders playing a major role, the Nashville Symphony raised more than 90 percent of campaign revenue from private sources.

Through its Nashville Advisory Council, a coalition of more than 350 members of the Nashville community committed to the project, the symphony was able to reach out to a variety of donors and keep them informed and inspired about the campaign. A Time for Greatness attracted more than 3,860 gifts, including 34 individual and corporate gifts of $1 million or more.

“Campbell & Company is so pleased to be able to honor the Nashville Symphony for its remarkable campaign that underscores how critical private support and volunteer engagement is to the fundraising process,” said Peter Fissinger, CFRE, president of Campbell & Company. “The advisory council the symphony created to reach out to donors across the Nashville community is a fabulous idea for any nonprofit organization engaged in a capital campaign. The campaign is a textbook example that all organizations should look to as they begin their own fundraising efforts, and the Nashville Symphony is to be commended for its efforts.”

Extraordinary Increases

Founded in 1984, Camp Oochigeas provides enriching volunteer-based camp experiences for children affected by childhood cancer. Programs are offered throughout the year at their camp facility in Muskoka, Ontario, as well as The Hospital for Sick Children and other locations in Toronto.

Camp Oochigeas was recognized for the tremendous growth in its Sporting Life 10K Running Event. In 2006, the camp received about $25,000 in donations from the event. But in 2007, the race generated more than $275,000, or 11 times more than the previous year.

One of the key aspects of the event’s success was the camp’s strategy to challenge Toronto law firms to compete against each other to raise a total of $50,000. In 2006, the camp engaged one firm, Davies Ward Phillips and Vineberg, LLP, to join the event and saw tremendous results through gifts from its employees. Building on that success, the camp recruited 24 law firms in 2007. All told, the firms raised more than $138,000, well over the goal.

“The results are a testament to the amazing things that can happen if charities don’t just try to solicit contributions, but rather engage donors and get them involved in the process and the goal,” said Paulette Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP. “Even more amazing is that this incredible campaign was run by just two staff members. AFP is so pleased to be able to recognize the tremendous work of Camp Oochigeas and its Sporting Life campaign.”

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