Founded in 2002, Growing Home provides farm-based training for people with employment barriers. Located in Chicago’s Englewood community, Growing Home operates the city’s only high production USDA certified organic farms while leveraging its unique job training model to help hundreds of area residents find meaningful and sustainable careers.
In the fall of 2018 the organization found itself at a crossroads with two vacant leadership positions, and they brought Evolve consultants on board to serve in an interim leadership capacity for their year-end campaign. Pleased with the results, they kept the consultants on board through the following spring to lead the organization’s fundraising efforts and to guide the direction and execution of their spring gala event.
After seeing great success with their year-end campaign, Evolve team members stayed on board in an interim leadership capacity to analyze the organization’s 2018 fundraising practices and design and implement a data-driven 2019 development plan. With both the Executive Director and Development Director positions vacant in early 2019, the plan was designed in a way that allowed for customization and evolution as the organization’s leadership team grew and the consultants transitioned off the project mid-year.
As a part of that plan, Evolve consultants led Growing Home’s development staff team to execute the organization’s most successful spring gala event in history. The event served as a wonderful example of the many roles galas can serve, and the ways in which the event planning process can double as a donor stewardship and cultivation effort.
Successful fundraising stems from powerful stories. When our consultants began working with the development team at Growing Home, it was immediately apparent that there was an unlimited pipeline of life-changing stories to share. The challenge was in how to leverage those stories to exceed the organization’s fundraising goals and to help them embrace a year-long culture of giving. Rather than seeing initiatives like the year-end campaign and the spring gala as one-time events, Evolve consultants focused on integrating these campaigns into a larger yearlong fundraising and communications strategy.
“We hired our consultants to coordinate our year-end campaign while we were without a Development Director. We were so pleased with their work that we kept them on to coordinate our Annual Benefit, which exceeded its fundraising goals and earned 22% more than the previous year. The consultants were extremely organized, reliable, flexible, and pleasant to work with. They were efficient and produced more outputs than I have seen with most consultants. Most importantly, they were knowledgeable and creative. They knew how to leverage our existing strengths while bringing in new ideas to increase efficiencies and outcomes. I would recommend the Evolve team to any organization looking for quality development support at a very reasonable rate.”