Advancement Advisors Group

Advancement in Action

Planned Giving Capacity Building


The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank has received many generous donations through planned giving over the years, particularly through gifts included in wills and estate plans. But it had not been active in talking to its donors about these types of tax-smart giving strategies.

The pandemic had generated substantial growth in the organization’s donor base. The Chief Development Officer and Director of Major and Planned Gifts saw the potential impact of planned giving on the organization’s mission to feed people in need and mobilize the community to eliminate hunger.

The Food Bank hired Advancement Advisors to provide planned giving expertise and overall project management as it worked to relaunch and enhance its planned giving program, evolving the program from a reactive approach to proactive strategy. Advancement Advisors’ services included everything related to planned giving, including policies and procedures, prospect review and identification, draft communications and promotional pieces and training for staff and Board members on how to start conversations about planned giving with potential donors. Through its Feed the Future program, the Food Bank launched its revisioned legacy society as the Heirloom Society with a formalized stewardship program for planned giving donors along with ongoing strategies for cultivation and solicitation of a variety of planned gifts from its most dedicated and generous supporters.

Campaign Management

After 32 years in the historic Produce Terminal, Contemporary Craft was faced with a critical relocation challenge because of private redevelopment of the building. In June 2018, Contemporary Craft’s Board of Directors concluded that remaining in the redeveloped building would not be financially sustainable. The organization’s leadership found a permanent new home and launched a campaign to raise $5.5 million to fund the purchase and renovation of its new facility. The leadership team engaged Advancement Advisors, a long-time consultant for Contemporary Craft, to help staff manage the campaign, plan solicitation strategy and keep the project on its tight timeline.

Just as the campaign was about to go public, the pandemic hit. With more than $5 million already secured – enough to fully fund the purchase and renovation – the team decided to focus on raising operating support during the shutdown. With the renovation completed, the new building opened in September 2020 under COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. As the restrictions were lifted, Contemporary Craft welcomed artists, students, patrons and the public to enjoy the exhibits, classes and shopping at The Store in its new space specially designed for creativity.

Capacity Building and Coaching

Established in 1980 as a program of the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh, the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh was created as a comprehensive resource center dedicated to helping people learn about the Holocaust and offer programs designed to counter intolerance and hate in all its forms.

To expand its work and elevate its footprint across the region to become a national organization working to end hate, the Holocaust Center planned to become an independent, nonprofit organization. The goal was to join forces with the campaign to rebuild the Tree of Life site in Pittsburgh and together transform a site of tragedy into one of hope, remembrance and learning. To accomplish this ambitious goal, the Holocaust Center needed to raise $450,000 – in just a few months – to cover its first year of operating expenses in advance of this transition.

The organization had very little experience or tradition of raising money from individual donors. To raise the funds needed to build the infrastructure to support its growth and vision for the future, Advancement Advisors helped the Holocaust Center identify potential major donors, target gift amounts and plan strategy for personalized solicitation, as well as developing the strategy and drafting appeal copy for its first-ever board solicitation and a multi-channel public campaign. The Advancement Advisors team also provided customized training to the Holocaust Center Board of Directors, not only to teach them the skills needed to cultivate and solicit gifts, but also to help them understand and embrace their role in fundraising as board members. The Holocaust Center surpassed its fundraising goal and successfully made the transition to an independent organization in July 2022. With continued guidance from Advancement Advisors, the Holocaust Center had its most successful end-of-year campaign, with Giving Tuesday results that were three times the previous best.

Interim Fundraising Management

When Sojourner House lost its development director at a crucial time in 2021, it turned to Advancement Advisors for interim services. Advancement Advisors stepped in to provide interim fundraising management services and to help successfully execute its largest fundraising event of the year just a few months later. In addition, Advancement Advisors facilitated an awareness building campaign and website update in conjunction with the organization’s 30-year anniversary. The result was a 66% increase in donations from individual donors that year, as well as a 50% increase in the average gift size. And to facilitate the new development director’s success in the role, Advancement Advisors drafted an onboarding plan as well as a fundraising plan that included updated gift policies and planned giving recommendations.

Capacity Building, Coaching, Feasibility Study, Campaign Management

Adagio Health has always had strong community support. Years before Advancement Advisors was formed, Adagio engaged our consultants to aid in successfully extending its fundraising efforts. More recently, Adagio Health engaged Advancement Advisors to help develop an individual giving program as it worked to diversify its funding sources. During that time, a new full-time fundraiser was hired to lead that effort. The Advancement Advisors team provided coaching, guidance and support during the transition. As Adagio Health continued to grow and lead in addressing pressing health needs in the community post-COVID, it engaged Advancement Advisors once again to conduct a feasibility study for an endowment campaign. Upon completion, Advancement Advisors recommended that Adagio Health move forward with the campaign and served as campaign counsel. Adagio Health has reached its endowment campaign goal, and while doing so successfully engaged both long-time and new supporters.