The Ohio CPA Foundation is the philanthropic arm of The Ohio Society of CPAs (OSCPA). Its mission is to promote and raise awareness of the accounting profession among students in high school and college. The Ohio CPA Foundation funds scholarships and a variety of programs, including a week-long immersion program, a student leadership conference, campus ambassadors, and efforts aimed at attracting diverse students to the CPA profession.
In the spring of 2014, The Sheridan Group completed a full Development Assessment and presented a Comprehensive Development Plan based on those findings. The plan included a re-organization of staff responsibilities, efforts to specifically brand the Foundation as a partner and asset for The Ohio Society of CPAs, and coordinated efforts to cultivate and solicit prospects among OSCPA’s membership.
The plan was approved in June of that year, and the firm provided Development Counsel over the next six months as the plan was implemented. Our initial efforts helped the Foundation grow direct mail revenue significantly, secure three major gift commitments (including a $50,000 pledge) and launch and planned giving program targeted toward long-time, long-involved members.
Today, thanks to the path for success outlined by The Sheridan Group, which most notably included a formalized Annual Fund Campaign, The Ohio CPA Foundation has seen a nearly 90% increase in annual giving from individuals and organizations. That success has been attributed to The Sheridan’s Group recommendations and actionable steps to heighten the visibility of the Foundation among OSCPA members, develop and promote a renewed case for support, engage Board members in fundraising initiatives, develop a meaningful donor stewardship plan, and re-engage past donors.
“We first learned about The Sheridan Group through their work on the re-launch of the ASAE Foundation and were recommended to them by ASAE colleagues. We were very pleased with our experience working with them. They took the time to really understand where we were as an organization and sought valuable feedback from prior donors, current and past volunteer leadership, as well as staff. The recommendations that came out of the Development Assessment were relevant and appropriate for us as an organization, which in turn helped ensure the Development Plan they created was manageable and tailored for us. They played a critical role in the initial implementation of the plan as well, helping to make sure that everything went smoothly – it was wonderful to have their guidance in facing those initial challenges and to have them as a ‘sounding board’ for ideas. As a result of our time with them, we were able to completely reimagine our approach to fundraising and begin the important process of creating a culture of philanthropy throughout the OSCPA community – we’re already seeing the rewards of this, and we couldn’t have done it without them.”
Karen West, CAE, Executive Director, The Ohio CPA Foundation