What would you do if your major funder cut back on their support? The Rotary Clubs of Monroe County recently faced this dilemma with Camp Haccamo; a very special summer camp serving approximately 200 children and young adults with different abilities – all at no cost to camper families.

At this point, the board knew their current funding model was unsustainable. With their reserve funds quickly eroding, they asked Causewave to help revive Camp Haccamo’s fundraising program.

Our work together began with a survey designed to test current perceptions of Camp Haccamo. It survey confirmed what the board was feeling – that those who know Camp Haccamo, love it. For campers, it gives them an amazing adventure, away from home, for a full week. For caregivers, it provides much-needed respite.

The survey also revealed that many Rotarians had no relationship with the Camp, despite the support provided by their dues. The Rotary has been the primary funding source for the camp, so this disconnect exposed a threat.

Michael Ponomarev, a Causewave volunteer, conducted community-wide research on similar camps in Monroe County. He found that Camp Haccamo is unique in its breadth of different abilities it serves, and that there is an opportunity to serve many more families in need.

Armed with the research findings, the Camp Haccamo board participated in a brand development workshop facilitated by Causewave. The group developed a new brand platform that defined Camp Haccamo’s target audiences, personality traits, and their brand promise.

The brand came to life in an inaugural fundraising appeal last fall. With the letter, Camp Haccamo began building relationships with two key audiences. A long-time Camp Haccamo family shared their story with Rotarians, and an enthusiastic camp counselor shared her experiences with other potential donors. 

Keeping in mind Causewave's goal of capacity building, our staff worked closely with Camp Haccamo's board on the 2016 appeal, while preparing them to run it independently this fall. Together, we created a project plan, vetted the donor list, created appeal templates and e-blasts, assisted with website optimization, and wrote customized thank you letters.

Camp Haccamo board member, Dick Butler, sent a note to project manager Mary Hadley saying, “It has been a pleasure working with you and Causewave on completing this project. You’ve shown a warm, can-do approach, focusing on solving the problems as they arose. Thank you for that!” 

And we thank the Camp Haccamo board, and staff, for living their motto of “service above self,” as they passionately continue such important work in our community!

March 2017