Capacity Building

American Diabetes Association
Staging an annual event to measurably increase awareness, community leadership and corporate sponsorship

Leading the fight against the deadly consequences of diabetes and fighting those affected by diabetes, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s largest advocate for those impacted by the disease. In 2012, McDonald Schaefer partnered with the Wisconsin ADA to put on an annual signature event that would measurably impact attendance and community support, and pave the way for future corporate sponsorship opportunities. Short critical staff members just months before the gala, McDonald Schaefer worked with ADA to deliver a tremendous event that resulted in a significant boost in corporate sponsorship, increased community leader support and heightened awareness of the ADA mission throughout the region.

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Forest Exploration Center
Brand new start up organization gets on its feet by defining its mission, recruiting its first board of directors and building an initial operating infrastructure

The Forest Exploration Center’s aim is to improve the public’s understanding of and appreciation for forests and forestry. With the environmental, economic and cultural impact of forests and forestry largely misunderstood, a group of volunteers came together to begin planning a new Forest Exploration Center. McDonald Schaefer helped them to clarify their purpose; recruit and train their first all-volunteer board of directors to guide the organization’s growth; and prepare organizational infrastructure, including policy design, by-laws, handbooks, a communications plan and an initial fundraising plan.

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TYME OUT Youth Ministry & Retreat Center
Catholic youth retreat center faces profound transition when founding director retires

When, after more than 25 years at the helm of this vibrant youth center, the face of the ministry and its founder eased into retirement, the TYME OUT board, staff and supporters knew that a successful transition would not happen overnight. At this critical time in the organization’s development efforts, McDonald Schaefer conducted a development assessment and worked side-by-side with the group during the 18-month transition. Within a year, a new development director had been hired and the organization had successfully repositioned itself with a development program as strong as it had ever been.

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Habitat for Humanity – Greater Fox Cities Area
Habitat for Humanity gets lemons, makes lemonade

It was a good news/bad news scenario when Habitat for Humanity received the good news they would receive a grant to pay for a new Development Director. The bad news was that the chapter had to wait one year before the grant could be paid. In order to make the most of their one year holding pattern, Habitat hired McDonald Schaefer to provide interim services to enable them to get a head start. During this one-year engagement, McDonald Schaefer improved Habitat’s capacity by focusing on their development infrastructure. Priorities included:


• Developing a process for identifying, researching and tracking donor prospects that aided
   relationship building
• Mobilizing fundraising volunteers and equipping them for the strategies and rewards of peer-to-
   peer major gift fundraising, including a board orientation and several one-on-one coaching
   visits to continue to improve their comfort level and effectiveness in major gift fundraising
• A concentrated analysis of annual appeal methods and implementation of significant
   strategies for improving annual fund performance


By the end of this one-year engagement, Habitat for Humanity was well-positioned for continued development growth when the new Development Director arrived.

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Silver Lake College
From annual fund to capital campaign, the College applies best practices to achieve its fundraising goals

When McDonald Schaefer began its work with Silver Lake’s development program, it was clear that an understaffed, inexperienced team would benefit from the discipline of tried and true tactics to win the support of the college’s alumni and community. The findings of a program assessment guided an annual plan and, within a year, progress toward major gift acquisition for capital goals was underway. The first campaign initiative, a $5 million student residence hall, has already been successfully completed.

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