Need: Raising funds for a first-ever North American event
Service: Campaign planning and counsel
The Organizing Committee of the World Choir Games 2012 retained Smith Beers Yunker to plan an intensive 18-month effort to secure charitable gifts and grants in support of the 7th World Choir Games. Known as the “Olympics of Choral Music,” previous Games had been supported by governments in Europe and Asia making this their first North American venue to be funded by donors and sponsors. Following the planning stage, the firm was engaged to provide counsel, direction and management of the fundraising effort.
Lee Ault Carter, U.S. Co-Chair of the Games, found Smith Beers Yunker to be an invaluable partner contributing to the success of the campaign.“They helped us raise $5.5 million. Our target was $4 million, but we kept right on going – just like a little Pac-Man,” says Lee. “I believe that without them, we would have had to work three times as hard ourselves, or we wouldn’t have been able to raise nearly the money that we did. The firm’s members were generally more buttoned-up and more willing and open to do whatever they needed to do to get that job done. I think those were things that set them apart.”
Lee believes, “If you’re going to be effective in this business, you need to know what people are trying to do – and Jim Yunker understands that. He also has a wealth of experience and expertise that he can draw from, and that’s essential. Jim also respects confidentiality. When you have a conversation with him, you can trust that information won’t go any further, and that’s important.”
Nick Vehr, managing director of the Games speaks highly of the qualities Smith Beers Yunker brought to the campaign: “They were very professional, organized, supportive and responsive to the needs of the World Choir Games’ professional staff and, especially, its volunteer fundraisers. My experience with SBY reinforced for me the value of engaging highly specialized professionals for such a need and, then, listening to the advice they provide.”
“Our single biggest challenge, especially as it pertained to fundraising for the World Choir Games, was developing community awareness of precisely what this wonderful event would be and what value it would bring to the community. SBY was most helpful in proposing and implementing a process of information sharing to address this particular need.”
Nick adds, “In addition to their experience, knowledge and discipline, the most valuable contribution they shared was their professionalism and persistence in supporting a primarily volunteer organization.”