Aquariums: A Case Study in Transitioning from “Fundraising” to “Philanthropy”

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CapDev had worked on campaigns with the NC Aquarium Society in the past, and more recently was brought back in for the task of developing a comprehensive major and annual giving plan.

“The Aquariums had had a number of successful campaigns that have helped build our nationally recognized Aquariums,” said Senior Counsel, Kevin Jacques, “and now it’s time to build a comprehensive development program to meet long-term education and conservation priorities.”

The plan CapDev is now developing will include both annual giving and major gifts to meet capital and program needs.

Referred to as Living Treasures, this new initiative for the NC Aquarium Society is making great progress already:

  • increased the number of new donors through a new Business Membership program and Offshore Club
  • developed a major donor relationship program
  • organized a board-led Development Committee to actively plan and initiate development programs with staff

Making the transition from a campaign-to-campaign fundraising culture to a true “culture of philanthropy” is showing its rewards. The NC Aquarium Society has made grants of over $7 million to the aquariums to renovate the Roanoke Island Aquarium and to support education and conservation system-wide.

NC Aquarium Society Director of Development, Jay Barnes, said of the relationship, “We are very appreciative of all that CapDev has brought to the table, and we have already seen the benefits.”

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