With a history of educational excellence going back nearly 50 years, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy had a high bar to maintain when they set their sights on opening a second lower school campus—while expanding and enhancing their main campus. The independent school in Suffolk, Virginia, approached us in 2013, just before their 50th anniversary, and engaged us to conduct a campaign planning study. It was clear to our consultants that the school had a strong base of support, a great advancement team, and a solid comprehensive development program in place—and a staff that was willing to learn how to conduct a successful campaign. Through in-depth analysis, we determined the financial potential was there, but the critical element to their success would be the identification of the right leadership for the campaign. Their board had been somewhat involved in their annual fundraising, but a new level of engagement in pursuing major gifts was going to be necessary to do all they wanted to do.

We coached them on how to recruit and engage leaders, both for a campaign leadership committee and beyond. We guided their board and staff through the campaign, working alongside them every step of the way, from launch event to major gift calls to staff retreats, to training of board and staff, even reviewing grant applications for them. They excelled at relationship building, tapping key board members outside the campaign leadership committee who worked alongside campaign leaders to secure very large gifts. As a result, NSA far exceeded their $6 million fundraising goal—surpassing the $8 million mark—both for enhancements to their main campus and to create the new campus in Harbourview, which opened in September 2016 just in time for NSA’s 50th anniversary celebration!

“The consultants immersed themselves in our school—The Curtis Group has become an unofficial member of our team, staying in communication almost daily and keeping us on task. In both our planning study and our campaign, they’ve given us great advice and feedback. Best of all, their assessment of how much money we could raise has been accurate!”

Kenda Goldberg Council ’91, Director of Advancement
Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, Suffolk, Virginia