I am the Co-chair of the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee’s 2022-23 Forge Our Future campaign which is a combined effort to increase annual giving as well as raise funds for a principal-protected endowment in order to preserve the church’s unrestricted reserves. These two efforts are no small tasks. We were not trying to raise money for a new building or to pay off the debt of the current one. We needed to invite and urge our members to invest in our future. How do we do that? How do we articulate that vision?
I knew from the very beginning that we needed Klote & Associates’ expertise and robust capacity, as well as their unique campaign strategy and process in order for us to be successful. Jim Klote believed in us, and he was confident that his company’s model could help us surpass our original projections.
The first step of conducting focus groups was clearly a critical part of the process as it enabled us to fine-tune a strategy that had a balance of the Klote best practice model as well as being in line with not only our Unitarian Universalists’ values but also the culture of our 180 Yr. old church. As soon as our campaign director was assigned to us, I knew we were in excellent hands. I cannot speak highly enough of him. He met with us virtually in advance to guide us on what to work on to be prepared for his arrival in Milwaukee. And then from the day he arrived, he has not stopped working with us and for us. It is not only his obvious skill and expertise that is impressive, it is his authenticity and his drive and commitment to helping us be successful. He “walks the talk” of a person that sincerely embraces the spiritual connection to a successful fundraising campaign. While the main goal is to of course raise the funds, he was clear that we never want to lose sight of the authentic connections and community building opportunity before us. He attends Sunday service each and every week, taking in the spiritual messages of our faith while getting to know us better and becoming part of our community. This has been most impressive to me.
We could not have done this intensive campaign model of visiting almost 400 households without Klote & Associates and specifically without our consultant. He as taught us, coached us, counseled us, encouraged us and driven us. Not only will we be successful in raising our funds, but we will be smarter, more skilled and more appreciative of what it takes to raise money in a faith community. It has been an amazing experience.
First Unitarian Society