June 2012.

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

Armbruster Consulting continues to serve its mission and the missions of its clients. Since 2009, our vision has been to do great things and make an impact. We continue to consult with a variety of nonprofit organizations looking for guidance in actualizing their goals. In the beginning it was a one-person office but over the past few years, Armbruster Consulting has expanded to include an amazing and talented group of professional consultants, freelancers and agencies. Whether working individually or as a team, we provide the expertise needed by our clients for a variety of projects and goals.

The diverse group of nonprofit organizations that we are proud to assist every day includes the ALS Association, National Marfan Foundation, Cure Duchenne, Beyond Batten Disease Foundation, Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation and Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer.

Below we have shared some of the recent highlights of our work. Our hope is that you are inspired by the ideas and that you find some useful suggestions for your own projects and plans.

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation – The Run to the Sun Relay was launched last year and in just two short years has raised over $500,000 for Beyond Batten. The event is a 95 mile overnight relay hosted in Austin. http://www.beyondbatten.org/ (Project Management and Concept Development: Rachel Armbruster; E-Communications: Lindsey von Weller)

Lesson: By creating an once-in-a-lifetime experience and having a strong list of potential runners with a passion for the cause, we are able to have a high fundraising minimum while keeping the event simple and focused on the mission.

Cure Duchenne – In partnership with Sally and Mack Brown, Cure Duchenne hosts Champions to Cure Duchenne, an event at the UT Golf Club which features Austin’s top chefs, former football players from the University of Texas and live and silent auctions. The event has raised over $650,000 in 3 years and continues to attract new sponsors and attendees. The goal is to expand the event model to more cities in partnership with other collegiate coaches. www.cureduchenne.org (Strategic Consulting: Rachel Armbruster; Event Management: Kristen Deweese)

Lesson: In year three, we analyzed the silent auction results from the two previous years and found that items with a value of under $200 were almost 50% of the items but only raising 5% of the funds. By removing those items this year, the auction was easier to manage, attendees had easier access to the items being offered, and we raised more money this year than ever before from the silent auction. It was hard to fight the ‘we need more items’ feeling but the commitment to the strategy paid off.

ALS Association National Events Team – Armbruster Consulting provides ongoing support for a variety of programs including One Dollar Difference, national walk program marketing, corporate partnerships and chapter event management staffing support. http://www.alsa.org (Consultant: Rachel Armbruster; Project Manager: Angie Schlanger)

Lesson: A major roadblock to local event management success is allowing yourself to get focused on the production details and not focusing on the relationships. Whether it’s recruitment of new participants, stewardship of sponsors or working with volunteers, by creating a day-by-day action plan for relationship development, a group can see tremendous results.

ALS Massachusetts Chapter – After launching the Ride to Defeat ALS, the Massachusetts Chapter decided it would be best to outsource the management of the project including rider recruitment, fundraising support and e-communications, and volunteer management. The ride continues to grow and is becoming a new source of revenue for the chapter. http://webma.alsa.org (Consultant/Project Manager: Jodie Dolgner)

Lesson: Recruitment of a working volunteer committee is essential to the success of an event but may take more than one year to build. Understanding the strengths of the current volunteers and where help is needed is wise so that you can clearly communicate what you need and who you are looking for. It is much easier to gather volunteer recommendations when you say ‘I need someone who has accounting experience and a passion for cycling that may have been impacted by ALSA’ than ‘I need more steering committee members’. Be as specific as possible.

ALS Golden West Chapter – ALSA Golden West is hosting the 8th Annual Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS. This year has been dedicated to revitalizing their volunteer force, sponsorship outreach, and creating new event management processes and plans. http://webgw.alsa.org (Project Manager: Jason Glassner)

Lesson: Be sure your event’s success does not rely on one single individual. By diversifying the management of the event production, the relationship management, and the volunteer support, you can ensure that the event will continue to be strong when turnover occurs with staff and/or volunteers.

The National Marfan Foundation – Over the past 6 months, we have worked with The National Marfan Foundation to create a new independent fundraising program including branding and messaging, and provided recommendations for their national volunteer program including chapter management. The next phase of work includes collateral development, systems implementation, and more. http://www.marfan.org/marfan/ (Strategic Consultant: Rachel Armbruster; Project Management: Jodie Dolgner)

Lesson: To review the case study for the National Marfan Foundation, please click on the link provided. http://rachelarmbruster.com/e-newsletter/national-marfan-foundation-case-study/

Texas Premier Football Camp Foundation (TPFCF) – Over 200 children will gather for 2 days of football instruction from former University of Texas players and current NFL athletes. We are assisting with event coordination, marketing, and sponsorship, for the 6th annual football camp and the corresponding golf tournament. http://texaspremiercamp.com (Project Manager: Angie Schlanger)

Lesson: Be sure you and your board of directors have a clear vision for your programs. For TPFC, Phase One of the camps is to host paid participants with the long-term goal of hosting underprivileged youth and adding an elite camp for high school students.

No Marine Alone – Organize a cross country bicycle ride for the Marine Graduation Foundation. Tasks include fundraising strategies, underwriting/sponsorship packet development, volunteer organization and web enhancement. http://nomarinealone.com/ (Project Manager: Angie Schlanger)

Lesson: Create a solid logistics plan to eliminate any difficulties along the way. Course selection and execution timeline is very important with weather always being a factor. Implement solid online fundraising opportunities and promote them along the way at a variety of mini events.

Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation – Event planning and logistics execution. In addition to event management, we provide ongoing marketing and development support, web support and grant writing. http://www.louisebatz.org (Strategic Consultant: Rachel Armbruster; Project Management: Catherine Albertson; Grant Writer: Lindsey von Weller)

Lesson: When managing ongoing projects for any nonprofit, establish and work through a solid long-term plan. This will keep you and staff focused on an end goal.

We are proud to be assisting these fantastic organizations and feel blessed to be working with such passionate, smart, and inspiring clients. To learn more about how we might be able to help your organization achieve its fundraising goals, please contact us at angela@armbrusterconsulting.com or visit us online at www.armbrusterconsulting.com

In the News

The Aglaia website recently published a story on Pi Mu authors, Rachel’s story can be found here,