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Success Story

St. Petersburg College

College noted for transformational opportunities calls on Graham-Pelton to help them inspire transformational giving.

The Situation

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.


The Solution

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.

As a strategic partner, we guided St. Petersburg in thinking bigger, while still being practical. We helped them enact a mindset shift and move away from asking only for $20,000-$50,000 gifts and toward mega gifts. To support this work, we collaborated on hiring and staff restructuring to build a high-performing Foundation office where every role is clearly defined and plays to a team member’s strengths.


The Success

We continue to serve as St. Petersburg College’s trusted counsel and adviser. We are in the process of conducting visioning sessions to help define the college’s “big” ideas, which will inform the case for support of a $30 million campaign. This represents an increase of $5 million over the tested goal because there is so much untapped potential in the donor database and with corporate and foundation gifts. The St. Petersburg staff is also at work on shoring up the annual fund, asking for programmatic and facility support as well as scholarship support.

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



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