Elevate Philanthropy ™
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Success Story

International Rescue Committee

International humanitarian aid group cultivates principal gifts through a newly streamlined and effective stewardship program.

The Situation

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) provides lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from some of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Although they had a steady pipeline of major gifts in the range of $100,000 to $500,000, they recognized the need to significantly expand major gift donors into principal gift donors and cultivate gifts in the $1 to $5+ million range. They partnered with Graham-Pelton to think differently about their challenges and create opportunities.


The Solution

We began by evaluating the IRC’s organizational processes. This led to them developing a strategic plan for their principal giving stewardship program, with a focus on transparency and buy-in within the group. We advised them on how to transform their operations toward a metrics-driven model, as well as build a high-performing culture among their team.

Through an analysis of IRC’s stewardship strategies and benchmarking against other global organizations, we realized the organization could distinguish itself with unrestricted-gift fundraising—a rarity in philanthropy. We helped them grow this part of their program to impressive results.


The Success

Graham-Pelton not only helped further the IRC’s mission, but also the belief of others in the organization’s purpose and outcomes. The IRC’s ability to secure principal gifts improved exponentially and they are now considered at the forefront of unrestricted major giving among international aid organizations.  IRC was able to completely transform their operations and work strategically through a metrics-driven approach to reach new fundraising achievements. They nearly than doubled their principal gifts in just three years. This growth, coupled with their recent $100m MacArthur Genius Award Grant in partnership with Sesame Workshop, enables IRC to provide direct services  to some of the most vulnerable refugee children while creating a new standard for humanitarian assistance.

You can raise more money. We can show you how.