Junior Achievement of Central Ohio (JA) has long connected with and inspired Columbus youth through a continuum of progressive learning experiences. With programs anchored in career preparedness, the organization is uniquely positioned to lead the movement against Central Ohio’s growing skills gap. (Data shows that by 2020, Ohio will have created 1.9 million new jobs in expanding industries; however, only half the population will be prepared to succeed in these roles.)
To meet this need, JA empowers 28,000 Central Ohio students through experiential programs each year. Students from 235 schools learn work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy through hands-on programs. Through championing the next generation, JA is set to establish Columbus as home to the most talented, most skilled, and most successful workforce in the country.
Because this endeavor is no small feat, board members knew expert advice—a third-party consultant—would be critical. According to Beth Tyburski, vice president of development and communications, “Benefactor Group was the primary choice due to numerous recommendations within the community, as well as its solid track record in the nonprofit sector.”
As Benefactor Group and JA began to collaborate, a first and critical step was to build a case for support: a comprehensive, resonant document that tells prospective donors what JA will accomplish with their philanthropic gifts. A sound case speaks to the head and the heart; it articulates a clear vision, demonstrates quantifiable impact, and positions investments as congruent with a donor’s values. Consultants Megan Simmons and Ann Bryson took the lead on this process; Tyburski shared that “Benefactor Group did its due diligence and came prepared, minimizing the amount of staff time we had to spend while keeping us involved throughout the process.”
The most valuable takeaway from the case for support was the legitimacy and validation that it lent to the organization, showing key stakeholders that JA was truly ready to expand its footprint in Central Ohio. Looking to the future, Tyburski knows the case will be a major asset as JA works to develop central messaging around the brand. In addition, Tyburski plans to leverage this tool for grant applications to ensure consistency in tone and content.
The case for support process emboldened Junior Achievement of Central Ohio staff as they head into the fall, providing a useful “launch point” to work from. As Tyburski shared, “Over time, this tool will evolve, but it’s an excellent staple, a framework to strategically build a robust argument, further engage active donors, and build momentum.”
If your organization is considering a case for support, please reach out to Benefactor Group at 614-437-3000 for more information on our team and services.