Elevate Philanthropy ™
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Success Story


Esteemed organization for the support and advocacy of LGBT seniors expands its fundraising programs and finds new donor audiences by communicating its value.

The Situation

LGBT elders are twice as likely to live alone, and four times less likely to have children than their heterosexual peers. They also have a poverty rate of 21.6%, far higher than that of cisgender, straight men and women, and sometimes fear having to go “back in the closet” to avoid being denied housing.

Since 1978, SAGE has supported the needs of LGBT seniors through advocacy, education, and connection with essential services—all while giving them the dignity and respect they deserve. But the SAGE team had reached maximum bandwidth, both because of staffing issues and internal inefficiencies. Because they had a significant number of priorities and fundraising initiatives underway, they asked Graham-Pelton for help.


The Solution

We stepped in to help with a variety of fundraising programs, from maximizing support of New York City’s first affordable, LGBT-friendly senior housing development, the Stonewall House, to growing its national impact by developing a volunteer leadership network and donor pipeline in key markets. We also worked with SAGE to formalize processes for their major gifts initiatives and make them more robust. And we conducted data analysis to identify top prospects. Along with staff-identified prospects, we vetted these audiences and created solicitation plans.

For one housing project, we also elevated SAGE’s case for support from a nuts-and-bolts approach to one that clearly communicates their commitment to solving the problems faced by LGBT elders. In this way, we helped SAGE engage with, as well as elicit emotion and passion from, both existing and new donors.


The Success

We helped SAGE strengthen their fundraising committee, equipping them to enhance their volunteer support and output. By providing them with the organizational and structural tools they need to excel, they felt the confidence to conduct solicitations. We also helped them develop a national engagement plan to encourage connect major gift prospects and donors to SAGE’s work in target growth markets, creating robust volunteer leadership and a strong giving pipeline.

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



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