The Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton, Ohio. In 2002, the staff and board were eager to increase the Hall’s fundraising impact and improve the visitor experience. The Hall had not refreshed its exhibits, technology, and programming for several years. Also it had not conducted a significant fundraising effort since 1963. Our team was engaged to conduct a feasibility study, then facilitate a campaign for renovation, exhibit expansion, and endowment.
After a promising feasibility study, our team recommended a $25 million comprehensive campaign. This would allow the Hall to renovate facilities, revamp exhibits, and create educational outreach programs. Also we recommended establishing a development office and hiring the Hall’s first director of development to support the campaign efforts.
The campaign strategy combined philanthropic commitment from local leaders with national engagement of NFL team owners. Due to the busy NFL schedule, cultivation activities could only take place in the spring. This meant the Hall had to align its fundraising activities with team owner gatherings. The campaign team worked diligently to customize their solicitation approach for each prospective major donor. They also reached out to individual NFL teams’ halls of fame across the country in their fundraising efforts.
Our team lead the search for the Hall’s first director of development. We found a candidate who possessed the right balance of financial acumen, institutional knowledge, and people skills. Then we worked with him to establish the Hall’s development department. We helped him create policies to support both the campaign and ongoing, long-term fundraising.
The Hall exceeded its $25 million campaign goal and brought its facilities and exhibits into the 21st century. Now great design and integrated technology engage visitors like never before. Students who come to the Hall on field trips receive supplemental lessons on history, science, art, and technology.
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