What was the strategy to promote the campaign and seek donations?
The Mission Excitement Team worked over the summer months to seek gifts for the silent phase and also create a plan to communicate the need to the entire KML Federation. The comprehensive plan included:
Branding the Message – the primary goal was to share our thankfulness for God’s rich blessings. In addition, since this was a Science and Innovation addition, the brand would reflect a feeling of technology and 21st century learning. A hexagon design was used in many of the communications.
Personal Contacts – each member of the Mission Excitement Team made personal contacts to share the message of the campaign and ask for a special gift.
Publications – KML publications, (Connection, Communique, and KMaiL) would include information on the Blessed Beyond Belief campaign. A unique hexagon brochure was produced to share with all our Federation churches, during our special events such as concerts and drama productions, and with interested individuals. We handed out more than 7,000 of those brochures during a four-month period.
Events – special informational events were held to share the campaign details, including the building plans, and to ask for a gift.
Web and Social Media – a special Blessed Beyond Belief website was created and updated throughout the campaign. A number of fun and informational videos were created and shared through our websites and social media.
Appeals – the Fall and Christmas appeals were designed to promote the campaign. In both cases, the appeals generated record donations. The #GivingTuesday effort and a special In-House appeal were also directed to Blessed Beyond Belief and were very successful. Overall, these four appeals accounted for $1,474,041 as of January 31, 2019.
Congregational presentations – each of our Federation churches was encouraged to show the Blessed Beyond Belief video and share the opportunity for their members to give special gifts for the campaign. In many cases, a KML representative was available to give a personal introduction and explanation of the campaign to the members.
Personal Presentations – KML leaders gave personal presentations at every available opportunity. The intent was to share the story and give the various options for supporting the campaign.
Cash gifts were the priority, but pledges were also encouraged, especially for larger donations. Within the plan, donors were encouraged to give their best gift, and large donations of $50,000 or more would be recognized in a special Wall of Wisdom in the new wing.
What was the response to the Blessed Beyond Belief campaign?
Our KML Federation members and congregations were excited about the growth in enrollment and were fully supportive of the plan to build a Science and Innovation wing, but were skeptical that the money could be raised in such a short time.
Additional blessings were also evident:
Foundation Gifts – We received a challenge from the National Exchange Bank Foundation for the campaign. When total gifts and pledges reach $3 million, they would give a gift of $250,000, and when the campaign reached $4 million, they would contribute another $125,000. The Siebert Lutheran Foundation and the Stimac Family Foundation each pledged $150,000. The Antioch Foundation and the Dennis G. Punches Charitable Foundation each supported the campaign with gifts of $30,000. These foundation gifts were not expected, but were greatly appreciated and helped us reach the goal.
IRA Charitable Rollover Gifts – We received $40,395 in IRA Charitable Rollover gifts from twenty donors. These gifts were great blessings from people who donated part of their IRA required minimum distributions to the campaign.
$100,000 Challenge Gift – A special donor offered a gift of $100,000 with the challenge to encourage more people to participate. A goal was set at 1,000 additional donors to make gifts to Blessed Beyond Belief. This was a significant challenge since 1,000 donors is triple the number of donors we normally have in this time period. The challenge was successful as we had 1,289 people who donated to the campaign.
Student Participation – The KML student body was encouraged to participate with their own gifts for Blessed Beyond Belief. A special offering was taken during a morning chapel. About half of the students made a gift. We also received gifts from the students at Good Shepherd Lutheran School in West Bend. Mr. Sievert, their principal, encouraged the participation among the students and they responded wonderfully.
Wall of Wisdom – In an effort to encourage more large gifts, a special portion of the campaign was designed to recognize donations of $50,000 or more. Those who made a qualifying gift would have the option of being recognized in a special Wall of Wisdom. This display includes messages of encouragement from the donors which would provide a lasting testament from these supporters. At least a dozen donors gave $50,000 or more and will have the opportunity to be included in this display.
Adjustment to the Plan – The Blessed Beyond Belief campaign was designed to raise $4.7 million for the addition. At the same time, the KML administration was working with the builder and architect to reduce costs and find alternatives that would still meet our immediate needs. They agreed that if the full addition was built, but only the Science labs/classrooms on the second floor would be finished, the cost could be reduced by roughly $500,000. The lower level classrooms could be shelled in, but not completely finished. This option allows us to build the needed Science rooms and give us flexibility to complete the first-floor classrooms at a future date.
What is the timing for the project?
Statistics from the campaign
This campaign was short on time, but large in need. God moved his people to respond to the challenge in remarkable ways. As of December 31, the statistics showed the tremendous blessings that were received.
1,289 – total number of donors who gave a gift for the campaign
630 – number of people who gave their best gift ever to KML
386 – number of people who made their first gift to KML
Of the four phases of the campaign, the Initial Silent Phase and the All Donor Phase met the predicted goals while the other two phases fell short of the goal. At the same time, the building project was adjusted and the cost was reduced. Based on the reduced costs as well as the tremendous response from our donors, we reached an amount that allowed us to authorize construction of the project.
Conclusion of the Blessed Beyond Belief campaign
This was the shortest and most aggressive campaign in KML’s history. Throughout the seven months from June through January, there were many blessings. This was truly an effort that was so big that only God gets the credit.
In addition to our faith, which is truly our greatest blessing, God has showered us with blessing after blessing after blessing. For all of this, we are truly thankful.
Yet, the effort does not stop at this point. God provided an increasing number of students, and he also provided the financial support to accommodate our growing enrollment. The new addition to our building is a great blessing, but our focus will continue to be on our greatest blessing – Jesus Christ our Savior. Through the Blessed Beyond Belief campaign, we now have the privilege of educating, encouraging and equipping even more students for life and for eternity. All glory to God!
To accomplish the financial goal, a four-part plan was created and shared with the Federation.
$1.3 million – Initial Silent Phase
$1.1 million – Major Donor Phase
$100,000 – Federation Church ownership support
$2.2 million – All Donor Phase
The amazing results are exciting to share:
Initial Silent Phase – special donors contributed $1.3 million. This gave a positive springboard for launching the public phase of the campaign.
Major Donor Phase - We are grateful for our lead donors who offered gifts and pledges of $600,000 to encourage others in our federation to respond. Although, some chose not to pledge their support to Blessed Beyond Belief for years 2019 and 2020, we are grateful for their one time gifts that helped us move forward.
Federation Church Ownership – each of our Federation congregations was given a challenge to support the Blessed Beyond Belief campaign with a special gift that would be over and above their budgeted support for KML. These “ownership” gifts totaled $79,804.
All Donor Phase – we asked every member of the KML Federation, and any friends of KML outside the Federation, to consider making their best gift for Blessed Beyond Belief by December 31. For a variety of reasons, this deadline was extended to January 31. The total from this group was more than $2.2 million.
The Blessings of the
Blessed Beyond Belief Campaign
What was the Blessed Beyond Belief campaign?
The Blessed Beyond Belief campaign is a response to God’s blessings on Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School. Our first, and greatest, blessing is our Savior, Jesus Christ. Beyond our Christian faith, we also are enriched with many additional blessings that are worth celebrating.
Among those blessings for KML is tremendous growth in enrollment. Although the increase was anticipated, the rate of growth was beyond expectations.
In addition, KML’s existing debt in June 2018 was $6.6 million. Although that debt was being managed effectively, our leaders committed to a plan that would not add more debt.
What led to the rapid growth and is it sustainable?
The growth in enrollment over the past four years is attributed to a variety of factors. Our Federation feeder schools provide 85% of our students and they are doing well. School Choice has allowed a number of students to attend KML who otherwise would not have been able to afford the tuition. A few non-Federated students are eager to enroll at KML because of our Christian values, high academic standards, and caring teachers. Overall, these factors have led to significant growth, and conservative projections indicate we will continue growing for the foreseeable future.
Based on current and future demands on our facility and programs, our leaders identified the need to add Science labs as well as general classrooms. Specifically, the addition includes 4 Science labs and 7 classrooms that would meet 21st century learning/innovation demands. The two-story addition would be built in the back southeast corner of the existing school (as shown in pink) and would cost about $4.7 million. KML leaders partnered with Catalyst Construction to work on the plans and ultimately build the addition. Initially, the idea was to put the Science rooms on the first floor and the general classrooms on the second floor, but that plan was modified and eventually the decision was made to put the Science rooms on the second floor.
What are the details of the building plan?