Brown University launched its largest ever fundraising campaign seeking $3 billion to enact a ten-year strategic plan. CCS was enlisted mid-campaign to help Brown revisit its plan regarding prospect management and proposal pipelines.

Brown University

Based in: Providence, RI, Northeast U.S., United States

Sector: Higher Education

Key Elements

  • Refreshing the campaign gift pyramid to reflect the realities of Brown’s donor base and mid-campaign donor engagement.
  • Portfolio evaluation and strengthening.
  • Institution of an annual pipeline planning exercise performed with the major gifts team to identify the prospects, investments and cultivation strategies needed to realize at least $300 million in private support annually.

The Challenge

In October 2015, Brown University launched the largest comprehensive fundraising campaign in its 250-year history, Brown Together, which seeks $3 billion in private support to realize the goals of the institution’s ten-year strategic plan. Given the unprecedented scale of this effort, Foundation leaders questioned whether portfolios and its prospect management function was optimally structured to drive giving.

The Solution

With thorough analysis of Brown’s mid-campaign donor base and modeling of its mega and principal donor profile, CCS helped refresh and annotate the campaign gift pyramid, which included identifying, prioritizing, and preparing leadership for the campaign’s remaining transformational gift conversations. In partnership with the Chief Development Officer and the Chair of the Development Committee, CCS likewise facilitated a half-day summit on Brown’s campaign prospect landscape, charting multi-year proposal pipelines and reviewing best practices around portfolio and prospect management with Brown’s major gifts team.

The Impact

By adopting prospect management best practices – including systematic portfolio reviews, new tools for annual pipeline planning, and disciplined reviews of the top campaign prospect lists, Brown strengthened partnerships between prospect research and its major gifts frontline, infusing campaign and fundraising activity with renewed focus, urgency, and accountability. To date, Brown has engaged more than 200 seven-figure campaign supporters (including several donors with ten-figure campaign giving) and passed the halfway mark of its goal.

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