Westminster Christian Academy (WCA) is a Christian school located in the small western Louisiana town of Opelousas. WCA is an established 38-year old Christian school that was looking for a major fundraising opportunity that could eliminate time-consuming product sales and, at the same time, teach valuable character lessons to its students. WCA found Champion and conducted the first Feed The Need event in Louisiana. With an initial goal of raising $100,000, WCA was stunned at God’s favor and blessing when they raised over $200,000 on their first event and another $200,000 on their second one! Many parents and teachers loved Feed The Need as it so closely fit WCA’s mission emphasis of inspiring a worldview in their students focused on making a difference in the world through serving others. Of particular benefit was the ability to involve students in a major fundraising campaign that helped shape their hearts for others who are less fortunate in the process.
Spring Valley School is a small private school in Alabama for children with learning differences resulting primarily from dyslexia and ADHD. Spring Valley had never raised more than $40,000 in previous fundraisers, and given its enrollment of just 63 students, didn’t know how realistic it was that they could raise more. Spring Valley found Champion and launched their first Feed The Need event with a stretch goal of raising $75,000. Their Champion team encouraged them that it was possible to raise more, and to consider an audacious internal goal of $100,000.
As the campaign launched by motivated volunteers, a key administrative leader of the school actively sought to undermine the event due to personal jealousies. Despite these sabotaging efforts, Spring Valley had already raised $40,000 by their Kickoff night, and through Champion’s coaching, encouragement and vision-casting to parents to follow the Champion model, parents were drawn into the heart and excitement of their children being part of Feed The Need. Spring Valley crushed their initial goal – their campaign thermometer passed $75,000 three weeks out, then passed $100,000, then passed $125,000 and finally landed at $154,000 raised! Of this amount, $77,500 was raised in corporate sponsors and underwriters. It was the most successful fundraiser in their history, and it’s a great example of what a small, motivated group of volunteers can accomplish, even in the face of adversity. As a result of Feed The Need, Spring Valley was able achieve high visibility in the community through newspaper articles, magazine articles and story segments shown on three local television news stations. Funds raised from their Feed The Need event enabled them to upgrade their technology, make facility improvements and buy a brand new Chrome book for every student and teacher!
Strait Paths Foundation is located in the small community of Ronks, Pennsylvania, a predominantly Amish town with a population of 362. Strait Paths is a Christian ministry of three staff members that ministers to Mennonite and Amish families throughout Pennsylvania and other states. Because Strait Paths is located in a heavy rural farming area, very few supporters play golf. However, hunting is a big part of the area culture. In a wonderful partnership, we joined with Strait Paths to conduct a Top Gun Sporting Clay Challenge event to energize and mobilize their supporters. We conduct the event each year at a top-rated sporting clay facility several hours away and transport shooters there and back in a chartered bus. Additionally, we helped craft a creative social media Facebook contest between the husband and wife founders of the ministry in which the one who raised the least had to do something audacious and hysterical. And it worked! Strait Paths supporters all over the country loved the contest and responded to the Facebook campaign with generosity. As a result of these approaches, Strait Paths raised $107,000 two years ago and $128,000 on their most recent Champion clay shoot.
Officer’s Christian Fellowship (OCF) is a 70-year old Christian ministry based in Denver that serves 17,000 military officers and their families. OCF was introduced to the Top Gun Sporting Clay Challenge event program through a Champion presentation. They decided to do a local clay shoot on their own to avoid paying Champion on something that sounded so easy. Champion maintained a positive and supportive relationship and wished them success as they planned the event on their own. Three months later, OCF called back and admitted that they had failed miserably in trying to conduct their own clay shoot. They had not appreciated all the processes required to effectively recruit and motivate fundraising participants.
Now OCF had a second request: could Champion help them create a unique national event where ten team leaders would each bring $25,000 to the table to complete a capital campaign project? $250,000 was needed to complete a dormitory expansion at their retreat facility in the Rockies. Champion realized the major draw the Colorado Rockies offered and suggested that an Adventure Event be created that would have especially strong appeal to men. Understanding that the heart of a man longs for a battle to fight, a beauty to win and an adventure to live (John Eldridge – Wild At Heart), Champion created an Extreme Challenge adventure event series of three annual events. Two of these events (Race to The Summit and Over The Top Challenge) were conducted in the Rockies. The third event (The Grand Portage Adventure) was conducted in the Canadian Lakes Boundary Waters.
Given the challenges of mobilizing a geographically diverse support base, Champion used website and video technologies to drive national engagement. We created custom materials that were electronically distributed and created opportunities for participants to raise money through automated three-year pledges. The end-result of this custom Adventure Event strategy? Over $360,000 raised on the first event, and a total of over $750,000 raised from all three events.
The Josh McDowell Ministry is a highly respected and reputable 50-year old national Christian organization based in Dallas, Texas. Josh is an internationally renowned speaker and the author of over 140 books, printed in over 100 languages, focusing on Christian apologetics, youth, family and faith topics. Some years ago during a national ministry emphasis on teenage sexual purity called the 'Why Wait Campaign,' Josh was looking for an innovative way to raise significant money while engaging supporters in a true fundraising process. Through the help of Don Carmichael, the 100-Hole Golf Marathon concept was created. This event concept was so audacious and fun that many golfers were willing to raise $2,500 per person to experience the event -- even those who had no prior relationship with the organization! The event created energy and excitement and drew people to participate. As a result of the 100-Hole Golf Marathon program, the Josh McDowell Ministry added over 5,000 new donors to its donor base and raised over $500,000!
Cornerstone Christian School is a semi-rural school of 200 students located near the small town of Columbiana, Alabama. The first year Cornerstone partnered with Champion, they conducted a Golf & Walk event but struggled to find just eight golfers. Since their culture is more hunting and fishing oriented than golf-oriented, we switched the event from a golf event to a sporting clay shoot with an on-campus student walk to be more relevant to their parents and community. So what happened? Cornerstone went from 8 golfers to 64 shooters! Dads and families got energized and excited, and Cornerstone raised $92,000. To cap it off, of the three female shooters who participated in the shoot, one of the women out-shot all the men and won the entire match!
Bamalax is a small youth lacrosse league in Vestavia, Alabama. Bamalax consists of 101 boys ages 11 – 15 years old. As is the case with most sports clubs, parents had to make significant financial investments in uniforms, equipment, club fees and travel to competitions. Bamalax board members were looking for a way to raise money to cover field rentals and tournament travel and to provide an opportunity for parents to lower their club fees. Board members were also looking for something purposeful that would bring players and their families together to build deeper unity and create a sense of purpose greater than playing the game of lacrosse. Bamalax heard about Feed The Need and used it to create unity and build a focus on serving other children who are less fortunate. With just 101 kids, Bamalax followed the Champion program and raised $114,000!
Victory Christian Academy is a small Christian school of 145 students in the small town of Durant in southern Oklahoma. Victory has conducted eight events with Champion to date, the first six of which were Golf & Walk events and the remaining two were sporting clays and Feed The Need. Victory’s story is the example that even small schools in small towns can raise big bucks. Victory’s first Champion event set their fundraising record, and six of their events have each raised between $80,000 and $90,000.
Savalife is a crisis pregnancy center located in Vestavia, Alabama. The challenge of most crisis pregnancy centers is that they are predominantly female-supported, and it is typically challenging to engage men in a pregnancy-based ministry. Through their Champion partnership, we used a Golf & Walk event strategy to engage both men and women. The golf attracted men, and we combined a walkathon of mostly women and children who joined the golfers at the course and conducted a nine-hole spectator gallery walkathon. We arranged designated prayer stations along the walk where walkers could pray for a variety of needs and people.
On each tee box, we featured signage highlighting facts about Savalife and crisis pregnancy ministry in general. Golfers had an 18-question test with questions related to information highlighted on their tee box signs. Those who scored 100% were entered into a drawing for a new pair of Oakley sunglasses. This contest kept the entire day’s focus on the mission and reason for fundraising.
In addition, we provided free Caribbean cruises to each individual who raised at least $10,000. We had three participants each raise $10,000, and as a result of all combined factors, Savalife ultimately raised $104,000 on their first Champion event.
Young Life in Birmingham, Alabama – a Christian ministry to middle and high schoolers – had been conducting their annual golf tournament for 28 years. On their 28th golf tournament, Young Life raised the most money ever through conducting its own golf marathon. (Young Life’s national office provides a golf marathon handbook to all its chapters that contains tools and directions for conducting golf marathons – information that was “borrowed” from a Young Life event our founder conducted in the early 1990’s.) In this record-setting golf marathon, Young Life raised $31,000 on its own.
The next year, Young Life Birmingham hired Champion to help conduct its 29th annual golf tournament. Even though they already had the official “how-to” handbook, we applied special knowledge and were able to help Young Life increase their record-setting golf event by 300%! With our help, Young Life raised $98,000 with just 27 fundraising golfers!
What made the difference? Expertise. Even though they had the manual, Champion has the one who wrote the book and helped pioneer the concept. The value of expertise offered by Champion is exceptional. As the director of Young Life commented after the event was over, “You guys are really FREE – spending less than 20% on Champion to increase our success by 300% just makes good business sense.”
Hebron Christian Academy is a 37-year old Christian school located in the small community of Dacula, Georgia. Hebron hired Champion to conduct a Golf & Walk Event. Just weeks before the fall event date, we learned that we were the fifth school-wide fundraiser of that fall! Two weeks before the event, Hebron only had $12,000 raised and had no high-school participation. Their volunteers began a 24-hour prayer vigil over the next week. In that final two week period, as the result of prayer, Hebron went from no high school participation to 100% participation, and from $12,000 raised to $84,000 raised! Their event ultimately raised $93,000.
The following school year at parent orientation, Hebron’s headmaster told the school that, because their Champion event was able to raise so much money, the school was eliminating all of their other fundraisers. He received a standing ovation! That year Hebron’s Golf & Walk event increased to $153,000 raised. Over the next several years as we worked with Hebron, they moved away from golf and shifted to a school-wide Celebration Carnival and Prayer Walk event. This event generated a lot more energy and excitement, and as a result, this one event raised $283,000!
Mountain Brook High School band in Mountain Brook, Alabama needed to raise big money to go to New York City on a band trip. Instead of selling candy bars, the band of 45 students conducted a Champion Feed The Need event in the school cafeteria and raised $60,000. The event was an enormous media draw, with numerous newspaper and magazine articles written about it and evening news clips shown on three local television stations. Funds raised by students applied directly toward their band trip. Funds raised from corporate sponsors were applied directly to the band’s general fund to help purchase instruments, music and uniform upgrades.