Richard Bland College, the only public junior college in the Commonwealth of Virginia was founded in 1960 as a branch of The College of William and Mary. Its sole mission is to prepare its students for transfer with junior status to both public and private colleges and universities throughout the region.
In order to respond effectively to a projected shortfall in the availability of higher educational opportunities over the next decade, RBC sought and received approval from the General Assembly of Virginia to conduct its first-ever capital campaign to provide two new residence halls, improve campus amenities and increase the school’s scholarship endowment.
Prior to considering a campaign, RBC had a formative development program, with less than a full-time equivalent position dedicated to institutional advancement. Constituent communications were inconsistent; the College’s fundraising software was obsolete.
In 2005, The Sheridan Group conducted an Advancement Readiness Assessment and a Campaign Feasibility Study and for the College to determine the viability of raising $5 million in private support as part of a comprehensive $30 million initiative, including a $25 million bond bill from the Richard Bland College Foundation.
The Sheridan Group concluded that a $5 million campaign was feasible through a three-phase campaign over a 24-36 month period. We additionally recommended that RBC use this campaign as an opportunity to dramatically upgrade its ongoing institutional advancement program, complementing it with a comprehensive marketing, public relations and communications program for future capacity.
The RBC Foundation retained the services of The Sheridan Group as Campaign Counsel in the late spring of 2006 and initiated the initial Nucleus Fund Phase of The Campaign for the Future of Richard Bland College.
With the full support of the College President, a strong Campaign Cabinet was recruited with dedicated and hard working Co-Chairs and three high-profile Honorary Co-Chairs. The College of William and Mary’s Board of Visitors made a gift to help with the initial Campaign expenses, and its Office of Development assisted RBC with wealth screening and prospect research services. A grant early in the Nucleus Phase of the Campaign from a generous local foundation covered all campaign operating expenses. Two additional local foundations, as well as The College of William and Mary, made early challenge grants to greatly assist the Campaign’s initial momentum.
Having completed a successful Nucleus Fund and Leadership Gifts Phases, the Campaign went ‘public’ fall of 2008, and celebrated the successful attainment of its $5 million goal in early 2010. Notably, by following the campaign operating plan’s institutional advancement plan recommendations, RBC’s institutional advancement staff was able to steadily increase the Annual Fund throughout the duration of the Campaign.