When St. John’s College enlisted the help of Creative Fundraising Advisors, the goal was simply to raise more money. But our experience tells us that money follows vision, when college leaders started talking about significantly lowering tuition at a time when competitive institutions were raising their rates, we quickly identified a compelling vision to make a first-rate college education available for students from all backgrounds.
We shifted the discussion from fundraising to solve financial problems to talking about affordability and accessibility to the unique, high-quality education St. John’s College offers. Many people had concerns that reducing tuition would negatively affect the reputation of the college, but our feasibility testing showed just the opposite; there was an overwhelmingly positive response to the idea. We shaped the case for support around this compelling and radically different vision.
The college is more than 75% to its $300 million goal. Previously reluctant donors stepped forward when the vision emerged. CFA helped secure the lead gift and stayed on to advise the campaign. In 2018, New York Times reporter Frank Bruni found the ideas in the campaign so exciting, he wrote a front-page article about the college.