Saint Mary's College

“We wanted a firm that understood Catholic higher education, private institutions, women’s colleges, and fundraising with women. Campbell & Company understood these aspects of fundraising and helped us not only achieve our goal but surpass it by $25 million. ”

– Shari Rodriguez, Vice President, College Relations, Saint Mary’s College

About Saint Mary's College

Saint Mary’s is a four-year, Catholic, residential women’s liberal arts college known for its academic rigor and faith development. Ranked among the 100 Best National Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News and World Report, Saint Mary’s has approximately 1,500 undergraduate students and 20,000 living alumnae.

The Challenge

In its 2007 strategic plan, “The Path to Leadership,” Saint Mary’s articulated the most ambitious vision in its 170-year history: the College would invest in a range of priorities centered on supporting women who aspire to become leaders in their communities and caring difference makers guided by their Catholic faith. Knowing this plan required a philanthropic investment greater than any the institution had ever achieved, Saint Mary’s sought out the experienced fundraising counsel of Campbell & Company.

Following Campbell & Company’s development assessment and campaign planning study, Saint Mary’s launched its $80 million comprehensive campaign in June of 2008. At the time, it was impossible to predict the trials that lay ahead through one of the worst economic downturns in U.S. history. Together, Saint Mary’s and Campbell & Company crafted a plan to navigate this unanticipated challenge.

The Approach

Recognizing the compounding difficulty posed by the recession, Saint Mary’s worked with Campbell & Company to hone and improve all aspects of their development program. Campbell & Company brought together expertise from across the firm to help Saint Mary’s advance the campaign by providing strategic fundraising counsel, recruiting two development executives, assessing annual and planned giving operations, advising on metrics tracking, and developing campaign communications materials. “The bench was deep for Campbell & Company,” said Vice President of College Relations Shari Rodriguez. “When we needed to bring in talent and resources, they were there.”

The Faith Always, Action Now campaign enabled the School to showcase a bold new vision, calling upon alumnae to act on their faith in Saint Mary’s by engaging their spouses, families and friends in the effort. Just as Saint Mary’s had empowered alumnae to pursue their professional and personal goals, it now encouraged them to take ownership of their philanthropic giving. As a firm with expertise on the evolving role of women in philanthropy, Campbell & Company proved to be the perfect partner at this transformational moment.

The Results

Thanks to this thoughtful, comprehensive effort, the campaign met with early success—including a lead gift of $9 million. Momentum continued to build, and in 2013 the campaign went public after achieving 75 percent of its initial goal. Saint Mary’s ultimately exceeded its goal by raising $105 million over a six-year period: three times more than any other campaign in the College’s history.

“Saint Mary’s and Campbell & Company share a belief that women can rise to the highest levels of leadership—moreover, that women should rise because they have unique and valuable attributes to bring to the table. From this belief, she School crafted a profoundly moving vision for Saint Mary’s future and what it would do for women, for higher education, and for the communities that will be enriched and improved by influential women emboldened to act upon their faith.”

- Peter Fissinger, President & CEO, Campbell & Company