Since 1927, St. Petersburg College, a former community college turned four-year degree institution, has been the backbone of higher education in Pinellas County, Florida. With 11 campuses and quality, affordable degree and training programs for high-skill jobs, St. Petersburg prepares its graduates, many of whom are nontraditional students, for upward mobility in the local workforce. While admiration runs deep for the college’s transformational work, St. Petersburg’s annual fund had stagnated and the database was in need of major updating and reorganization.
St. Petersburg brought on Graham-Pelton to test a comprehensive campaign. As part of our analysis, we discovered that the college had been asking only for scholarship funding. While important, it didn’t inspire visionary or transformative giving. And it didn’t provide funding for programs that not only get students in through the door, but also across the graduation stage. We identified that donors often believed the college received significant state and federal funding. And although faculty and staff giving was generous, many still referred to St. Petersburg as a community college.