ACU is an accredited Christian university in Phoenix with a notable student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1. The distinguished professors of this private, nonprofit school are committed to developing the complete person through the integration of faith, learning and Christian leadership. Its estimated enrollment for the 2019-2020 academic years is 750-800 full-time-equivalent students.
OneAccord Nonprofit Principal Dan Peddie provided interim services as a vice president at Arizona Christian University (ACU) during what proved to be a particularly difficult transition in their leadership.
The Vice President of Advancement resigned suddenly from ACU. This transition was unexpected though, in hindsight, apparent.
In the midst of this sudden transition, the school was already facing turmoil within its fundraising activity. A failed capital campaign for the university had resulted in low donor confidence. Contributions were in decline and major revenue streams from tuition and fees were stagnant.
OneAccord was able to immediately step in to provide leadership, direction and new strategies to weather the difficult funding situation.
Dan and his team implemented a positive, forward-looking initiative called Moving Forward, a $7 million plan to fill gaps, address new opportunities for donors and reposition the gift-worthiness of Arizona Christian to the donor community.
Dan also completed an initial audit of all fundraising activities for the school, leadership/staff assignments, board and faculty involvement in fundraising, and budget allocations. This included using a data analytics firm to do an extensive assessment going back five years to produce recommendations for growing target segments of the donor base.
After examining the data, Dan established an annual strategic fundraising plan based on that data to increase funding, the number of donors and renewal gifts from lapsed donors, as well as reaching out to new prospects for first-time gifts.
Additionally, OneAccord worked with the existing efforts of groups on campus who did independent fundraising for particular clubs, teams and class projects. Together they launched an effort to integrate and consolidate resources for more effective, consistent activities in order to avoid donor confusion.
Finally, Dan brought in a marketing specialist who took over communications strategies with a high level of professionalism.
Dan's work led to stabilized funding with an increase in overall donations and number of donors, organizational realignment of fundraising services for both internal and external constituents, and stronger messaging and communications.
Current donor gifts grew, as did sponsorship opportunities for corporate donors, and foundation grants increased. The university established research as a priority and the ACU board participated in rolling out a planned-giving program.
Overall donor confidence increased. Numerous donors renewed their commitments and new donations were secured as a result of the positive view Dan's team created of where ACU was taking its strategic plans for growth.
The school extended Dan's initial six-month interim service to 26 months due to his success, and the university is now enjoying stability and growth in important fundraising strategies. They also successfully launched a capital campaign which Dan helped them establish during his time as an interim vice president.
"Dan did a tremendous job for ACU during a challenging period, providing strategic guidance, hands-on management of a combined advancement and marketing division, budgeting, university-wide leadership at the cabinet level and much more. We will be forever grateful for his work at ACU and look forward to maintaining a strong relationship, including the possibility of involvement in a future capital campaign. My thanks to One Accord for enabling Dan to spend so much time on ACU’s behalf, and to Dan personally for his friendship and encouragement."
— Len Munsil, President of Arizona Christian University