Need: Determining community support for major institutional campaign
Service: Pre-Campaign Planning
Asked to help the Cincinnati Art Museum determine the community’s likely response to a proposed institutional capital and endowment campaign of historic proportions, The Yunker Group conducted a pre-campaign planning phase involving confidential conversations with approximately 50 community leaders, arts patrons and philanthropists. The project concluded with a thorough report of findings as well as a set of carefully-crafted recommendations for the Museum’s consideration.
Reflecting upon the process, Museum Director Aaron Betsky suggested that the greatest strength of the work completed by The Yunker Group was the extensive engagement with the donor base. He said those who were interviewed were “universally impressed with the depth of knowledge and sensitivity with which Jim Yunker and his team engaged them in conversation.” Mr. Betsky continued, “The final report gave a clear portrayal of how donors feel about our organization and what they might be willing to do to support us. It concentrated heavily on donor perceptions, prejudices and opinions.” He added that the report was extremely useful and productive, if a bit cautious. “It stirred us up and made us aware of things we needed to know…even some things that disturbed us. They took the time to do it right.”
Museum Trustee John P. Williams commented on the pragmatic approach used by Jim Yunker and Penny Pensak in conducting the interviews and analyzing the outcomes. “They were able to get our constituents to disclose their feelings with incredible candor,” he noted. “I believe the ability to evoke confidential information reflects on their very professional interviewing skills and their personal integrity. People sensed that these consultants were truly concerned with helping the institution make improvements. And the resulting evaluation of our strengths and weaknesses provided the impetus for our board to make some tough decisions, giving full consideration to the best plan for moving forward.”
Both agreed that the final report was “insightful, deliberate and clear,” written in plain, unpretentious language that all could understand. Mr. Williams added that the Museum also benefited from the experience of the The Yunker Group team. “They’ve worked with a broad range of organizations, so they come at problems with a well-rounded understanding of diverse solutions. So impressed were we with their approach and the outcomes that we’ve engaged them for additional assignments.”