In the early 2000s, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) successfully absorbed the operation of the Greater Washington Society of Association Executives (GWSAE). At the time, both entities had in operation successful association foundations, the ASAE Foundation and GWSAE’s Center for Association Leadership. As part of the consolidation, the ASAE Foundation brand was shelved in favor of the single charitable foundation, the ASAE Center for Association Leadership.
In its first 40 years of operation, the ASAE Foundation had established a track record of successful fundraising, including two multi-million capital / endowment campaigns in the mid-1990s. Over time, the Center lost momentum. Accordingly, to re-establish the role of philanthropy in supporting its leadership, research, innovation and diversity initiatives, ASAE re-launched the ASAE Foundation at the 2010 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, but with very little strategic direction in place.
In 2011, ASAE President and CEO John Graham, CAE, engaged The Sheridan Group to bring some much-needed structure and focus to the Foundation. The firm applied the combined experience of its principals, along with its tried and true development planning methodology to set the ASAE Foundation on course for increasingly successfully annual fund growth and major donor engagement.
The initial phase of our work, a Development Program Assessment, was structured as described here. The key deliverable from this planning process was an 18-Month Comprehensive Development Plan, which addressed the following areas in detail:
- Case for Support
- Annual Giving
- Major Gifts
- Planned Giving
- Volunteer Leadership
- Staffing / Infrastructure
The Sheridan Group provided ongoing counsel to assist in the plan’s implementation through 2011, including assisting in the hiring and orientation of the Foundation’s first Vice President for Development, Stephen Peeler. Since implementing the Development Program, the Foundation has experienced extraordinary increases in Annual Fund growth each year, as well as a resurgence of volunteer involvement, and, in 2013, is celebrating its 50th Anniversary of operation in support of the advancement of the association management profession.