Strategic Planning Study Executive Summary (June 2017)
Purpose and Process
To determine the viability of a proposed $25,000,000 capital campaign, and to develop a preliminary plan, timetable, and the strategy and tactics to achieve maximum philanthropic support.
Seventy-two (72) discussions were conducted with Seminary of the Southwest (Southwest) Board of Trustees, past Trustees, Alumni, Staff, Friends, and Charitable Foundation executives.
Study findings were compiled and analyzed, and recommendations were developed for Southwest leaders to determine the best course of action.
Perceptions of Seminary of the Southwest
Nearly all (95%) study participants had a “very positive” or “positive” perception of Southwest.
Top strengths: Seminary Leadership (46); Location (35); Faculty (27); Diverse Academic Programs (23); Iona Collaborative (10); and Latinx Ministry (9).
The three (3) most often cited challenges: Awareness of the Seminary (27), Competition with other Seminaries (23), and Scholarship Availability (19).
Preliminary Case for Support
Ninety percent (90%) of participants had a “very positive” or “positive” response to the Preliminary Case for Support, and 8% had a mixed reaction.
Roughly one-half (48%) of participants said Scholarships were the top funding priority to continue Southwest’s outstanding programs and services for students.
Participants viewed Student and Family Housing (47%) and the Library and Learning Complex (37%) as “high” priorities to strengthen awareness of Southwest and competition with other seminaries.
Feasibility and Timing of the Proposed Capital Campaign
Seventy-seven percent (77%) of participants said that a $25,000,000 goal was feasible.
Nearly all (87%) participants said this is the right time to move forward with the campaign.
Enhance the Case for Support and emphasize clear purpose and vision
Explain the Case for Support elements in detail, impact of the Learning Complex, the importance of expanding and upgrading housing, and how these improvements would attract and retain students.
Clarify areas that were unclear, specifically the Learning Complex.
Emphasize Southwest’s core strengths and vision for the future.
Secure volunteer leaders to assist in campaign preparation and execution Campaign leadership should begin with an ad hoc Cabinet to be recruited by the Dean, and comprise 10 to 15 high- level leaders among Trustees, alumni, Episcopal leaders, and donors.
Orient and engage volunteers and empower them through training and support.
Develop a coordinated Campaign Plan to help ensure full success
Conduct the campaign by visiting the best prospects first and building on success.
Develop materials to incentivize “stretch” support and targeted marketing to constituents.
Produce gift recognition and naming opportunities to honor and celebrate donors.
Focus on regional giving beyond Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, Texas.
Incorporate planned giving, providing opportunities to make a long-term impact on Southwest.