Established 1995, the Lycée Français de Chicago is a preeminent pre-K-12 independent school with over 750 students granting French and International Baccalaureates.
If you are considering a capital campaign in your organization’s future, the Lycee Francais de Chicago’s case study is the quintessential roadmap to success:
K2 was engaged by the newly placed Head of School in the Lycée’s 15th year. An expiring lease 2-3 years out and a growing school enrollment was on the mind of everyone and proved to be the perfect catalyst for exponential growth in philanthropy (from $150,000 to $1M+ in a few short years).
The fundraising challenge for International schools like the Lycée comes from its very richness: Families come from over 35 countries where they are unaccustomed to the traditions of philanthropy as a requisite source of independent school funding. Expatriate families may only reside locally for a few years; large numbers of alumni reside outside the U.S. In a campaign setting, such a transitory constituency provides — quite literally — a constantly moving target.
"Lycée families come from over 35 countries where they are unaccustomed to the traditions of philanthropy as a requisite source of independent school funding."
K2 Role &
We identified and recruited key influencers within the parent community to help design the campaign process. They became the transformational leaders who influenced parents to participate resulting in 99% parent participation in annual fundraising, year after year.
As the fundraising program became institutionalized, the Lycée was alas in a position to identify land for a new campus. Securing the land hinged on raising enough money in time to complete the purchase.
K2 discovered midway through the feasibility study that lead gift levels, while extremely generous, were still falling short of what was necessary to proceed with the new campus. With a deadline looming on the down payment for the land, we returned to a few select donors with an urgent new question: “Would you consider increasing your gift so we can recommend proceeding with the land purchase and construction with confidence?” Their generous responses made the new campus possible.
Sometimes, success hinges on bold and timely questions asked of the right people.
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