When fundraising, Krystal Simon doesn’t look far for inspiration.
As chief development officer of Barnabas Foundation Inc., Simon is on fire for the mission of the camp assisting disabled children.
“It’s a lot easier to break boundaries when you feel so passionate for an organization you love,” she says. “It’s truly a dream come true witnessing how we are making a difference.”
That dedication led Simon to increase fundraising by 52 percent to $1.2 million since her arrival at the organization in 2016. In that time, she increased fundraising numbers at the Big Party Marathon & 5K by nearly half, achieved 93 percent growth for the Glamping for Camping fundraiser and increased donations through Give Ozarks by 657 percent in one year to $43,427.
Simon also expanded the camp’s fundraising events by initiating the Eat, Drink & Give fundraiser, which raised $65,000 in its first year.
Simon credits her sales abilities to time spent working for Jack Stack, developer of the Great Game of Business open book management system.
“I created a solid strategic development plan with a focus on building strong donor relationships,” she says, “including a communications plan for the Barnabas brand and a vision for Barnabas fundraising events.”
Separate from events, Simon raised $200,000 in private grants in 2017 – translating to 567 percent growth from the prior fiscal year.
“My contribution to achieving this growth has been on refocusing our fundraising and donor strategy on solid communication and storytelling,” she says.
Simon has attracted and retained donors via monthly newsletters, personal phone calls and handwritten notes. “It’s extremely important to engage our donors via a multitude of outlets and ensure they understand our mission and feel confident about where their dollars are going,” she says.
Simon also tackled a worker deficit at the camp by hiring a recruitment director and creating an external marketing team. The Barnabas Ambassador Team works in the community year-round to garner involvement and volunteerism.
“We’re empowering these individuals to spread the word about Barnabas,” she says. “This activity has proven to be a low-cost, high-return investment.”
When investments are made in Camp Barnabas, Simon utilizes the gifts to the full extent. For example, in August 2017, when an anonymous donor gifted the camp $100,000, media outlets picked up the story, helping spread the word about Camp Barnabas.
“The ripple effect of his gift was huge,” she says. “We used this as an opportunity to publicaly share how this donation would allow us to further our mission.”
Simon similarly utilized a mansion gifted to the camp by Major League Baseball pitcher Cole Hamels. The donation of the 32,000-square-foot home on Table Rock Lake, situated on 100 acres, garnered international coverage.
“Our website traffic increased by an average of 11,000 percent with 15,594 percent more searches for Camp Barnabas,” Simon says. “All these opportunities brought an increase in donor awareness as well as camp and volunteer interest.”
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