The New Zealand College of Chiropractic recently took a novel approach to fundraising by providing donors with a menu of items they could choose from. Some bypassed the entrée and went straight to the main, raising $250,000 in a weekend. Campaign wrap by Dr Brian Kelly.

Hard-hatted students, a captive audience (literally) of prospects, and leadership by example all helped the New Zealand College of Chiropractic (NZCC) to raise significant funds towards its new headquarters in Mt Wellington (Auckland).

With enrolment growth of 25% a year for the last five years, NZCC, the country’s leading centre for chiropractic education, was outgrowing its campus and needed a new home for its intake of 230 students in 2008.

Construction of a new building started in early 2007 and was completed to lock-up stage by September last year. This was largely funded by college student fees and the government, however the fit-out of the campus presented an opportunity for donors to show their support.

It was decided by the college leadership that a carefully orchestrated campaign to woo donors would be conducted during Lyceum. Lyceum is the college’s annual three-day conference where around 350 practicing chiropractors, alumni, current students and teachers come together for continuing education, motivation and fellowship.

The theme for the 2007 Lyceum (held in September) was ‘Building for a vital future’, and the fundraising campaign fitted beautifully with this.

The most important part of the campaign involved bussing all Lyceum delegates to the new campus for a “field trip” on a Saturday afternoon. Here they were greeted by ‘chiro’ students in hard hats and construction vests who provided a tour of the new building.

As the students were looking forward to moving into the new campus, their natural enthusiasm for the project shone through in their commentary. Their excitement was contagious, and all the touring delegates were soon caught up in the “atmosphere” of the new building and its potential.

At the completion of the tour, delegates were escorted to the lecture hall where they were greeted with celebratory champagne and a “menu” of items they could donate to the new campus.

The menu was divided into three traditional sections, entrée, main and dessert. Entrée items ranged in value up to $1,000, and consisted of things such as library books, desks, chairs and whiteboards.

Mains items ranged from $5,000 upwards and included equipment like audio-visual apparatus and naming rights of rooms. Desserts were priced from $1,000 – $5,000 and included plasma TVs, student computers and furniture.

During the celebratory drinks an ‘ask’ was made to delegates. Speeches by college leaders such as Dr Phil McMaster, Chairman of the board of trustees, explained the importance and benefits of giving. And McMaster himself started the ball rolling by publicly donating $10,000. Indeed every member of the college board made an early gift to the campaign.

At a gala dinner that night the ‘giving menu’ was placed on every table so delegates could consider what they might contribute to.

On the Sunday morning a donation board listing the names of donors and what they had contributed to was put on display. At morning tea and at the conclusion of Lyceum delegates continued to make donations, and all were acknowledged with their name on the donation board and with a special hard hat with the college logo which they proudly wore to show they had donated.

In the days immediately after the conference phone follow-up to people who had not donated elicited a few more contributions.

To date the campaign has raised close to $250,000 from over 50 contributors, with the top gift being $50,000.

While there were many factors that helped make the campaign a success, the five key ones were:

Prospects could see, touch and smell the new building
Student tours – their enthusiasm was infectious
Menu of items to be funded – donors could pick their “price-point” for tangible terms
Leadership – board of trustees were all early donors

Campaign Summary – ‘Building for a Vital Future’ Fit-out of new campus

Delegates at Lyceum 350
No. who donated 50
Highest gift $50,000
Total raised $250,000
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