Wesley College – Dover, DE

Wesley CollegeWesley College is a United Methodist institution of higher education that seeks to be among the finest student-centered learning communities in the liberal arts tradition.  While the College was established in the 1870s, it had not previously conducted a comprehensive capital campaign.

In 2011, The Sheridan Group completed a 40-Interview Feasibility Study for Wesley, testing a $20 million Campaign for an Allied Health Center, a Student Activities Center and “Streetscape” a project to turn Wesley into a totally pedestrian campus, as well as increased support to the Wesley Annual Fund.

TSG’s Study discovered a great reservoir of positive feelings about Wesley among its constituents, particularly regarding Wesley’s new President, William Johnston.  Given the College’s lack of prior fundraising success, yet recognizing the positive feelings many had for it, The Sheridan Group recommended that Wesley conduct a three phase capital campaign, beginning with an Advanced Gift Phase for an strategically assessed $5.3 million goal, so that ready leadership and prospects could be recruited and solicited while a broader base of leadership gift prospects and additional leaders were cultivated for follow-on Leadership Gift and Public Phase Campaigns.  This plan had the advantages of fostering immediate success while laying the groundwork for later success as cultivation efforts moved forward.

A prominent Campaign Chair and Advanced Gifts Campaign Cabinet were recruited for The Campaign for Wesley.  The Board of Trustees responded with 100% participation.  Significant gifts were received for all three projects. In the first nine months of an 18 month timeline, the Advanced Gifts Campaign has achieved $2.6 million in philanthropic support.  Simultaneously, the College has secured governmental support for the Campaign’s initiatives in the amount of $3.1 million, further enhancing overall institutional momentum and profile.  Perhaps most importantly, nearly 200 prospects have been identified and are in various stages of cultivation, including a possible naming donor for the Student Activity Center.

The Leadership Gifts Campaign of Forward:  The Campaign for Wesley is well underway, buoyed by the successful completion of the Streetscape/Wesley Plazas and the renovation of College’s new Health Sciences Building.

During this period, the Wesley Annual Fund has grown by more than $100,000 (net of a one-time $50,000 challenge gift in FY 2011).