Elevate Philanthropy ™
Sign up for our mailing list
Success Story

St. Bonaventure University

Renowned Franciscan university creates new academic programs and shores up endowment while completing an ambitious three-pronged strategic plan.

The Situation

A top-ranked New York university with a history of preparing students for career achievement, St. Bonaventure University is known for its loyal and forward-thinking alumni base – one that is committed to ensuring success for the university and future Bonnies to come.

This forward-looking approach was also evident at St. Bonaventure, which was undergoing master planning, campaign planning, and a rebrand. Graham-Pelton was enlisted to build on their momentum with comprehensive campaign support, including a Campaign Readiness Assessment and Planning Study.


The Solution

We began by evaluating St. Bonaventure’s preparedness for a seven-year campaign, which would nearly double the university’s run rate. We developed a case for support, articulating the university’s new and bolder vision for revitalizing the campus with state-of-the-art buildings, increasing enrollment, building a robust endowment, and expanding premier academic programs. Its new School of Health Professions was among the latter, a gateway to graduate studies in healthcare that was projected to not only raise the university’s profile, but also fill a critical need within New York’s Southern Tier. The School of Health Professions ultimately inspired the largest single gift in the university’s history, culminating in a record-breaking year overall, with nearly $20m in support contributed by more than 5,800 alumni and friends.

As part of the campaign infrastructure creation, we developed goals and metrics, reporting, policies, and documentation, and guided priority sequencing. Additionally, we provided St. Bonaventure’s advancement staff with cultivation strategies and guidelines for prospect management, as well as recommendations for campaign committees and volunteer leadership.


The Success

The untimely passing of St. Bonaventure’s 21st President, Dr. Dennis R. DePerro, was a staggering loss for the community. However, guided by his progress toward tearing down silos, encouraging collaboration, and opening the lines of communication with faculty, students, staff, and alumni, Graham-Pelton continues to counsel their resilient team of advancement professionals on the development of a strong prospect pool and donor base, major gift optimization, and individualized prospect strategies.

St. Bonaventure’s  campaign now runs ahead of projections, including an outpacing of dollars raised. A Bolder Bonaventure, indeed.

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