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Capital Campaign Consultant RFP Q&A

1. To clarify, you want consultants who are willing to actually solicit on your behalf. Is that correct? Will congregation members or staff also solicit with guidance from the consultant? Will you be adding to in-house staff or depending only on the consultant?

We will expect the consultant to do some solicitations, yes. Staff, primarily the ED and the Rabbi, will also solicit (with consultant guidance). Lay leaders and volunteers may                      solicit in partnership with the consultant for those donors to whom they are the primary connection/relationship. We do not anticipate adding staff at this time.

2. Your timeline is very aggressive. Is the “plan” for the property complete (ie. architect’s renderings, cost estimates, partners)?

We recognize that the timeline is aggressive; while the building plan is not yet complete, we expect to have some preliminary figures in a couple months. In the meantime, we have             potential donors with interests in the vision who are awaiting our contact. 

 3. Will other agencies who will share the site with you also be engaged in fund raising concurrently with TOL or will all partners participate in one combined campaign?

While one or more stakeholders will provide resources to assist in fundraising; we anticipate this being one comprehensive campaign.

4. Do you want the consultant to handle data management and record keeping or will there be an in-house business office to handle that? Do you have fund raising software?  

 To be determined. We do not currently have fundraising software with the capacity for this campaign.

5.  The RFP indicates that you would like to move directly into a campaign. Would you be willing to consider a feasibility/planning study or incorporating some elements of such a study in the early campaign work?

 While we understand the value of a study, we have potential donors with interests in the vision who are awaiting our contact.We anticipate a quick launch for a silent phase.

6. Has any capacity analysis been conducted to date? Have you identified your lead donors for the campaign at the high 7-figure or low 8-figure level?

 We do have some lead donors identified - both individuals and foundations.

7. The RFP indicates that you would like to go public with the campaign in the fall of 2020? Is there flexibility on this timeline?

 Depending on the results and success of the silent phase, yes we could delay or move up.

8. The RFP mentions "individual major donors, foundations, and corporate giving opportunities in the Jewish and secular communities, in the Pittsburgh area as well as in other major urban centers, and in Europe and Israel.” Have you already identified potential donors in Europe and Israel or will you be looking to the consultants to help you identify those donors?

  We have been approached by potential donors in Israel and Europe, but would be happy to have the consultants identify more.

9.Approximately how many donors currently give on an annual basis? How do you currently keep track of donors and donations?

 As a synagogue, we do not have annual donors; we have members. We currently have 250 households on our membership rolls. We use a proprietary software made for   synagogues to track members' dues payments and other donations. We will likely need additional means of tracking for this campaign.

10. Are you requiring the consultant to conduct solicitations or might the solicitations could be conducted by TOLOS staff and volunteers with us advising on them ?

While some board members, staff and volunteers might be the primary connection and would set up and attend donor meetings, we do expect some solicitations to be conducted by the consultant.

11. The RFP indicates that the campaign is anticipated to be mid 8-figures. What is the ballpark range for the comprehensive campaign (ie. design, construction, endowment, programming, etc.)?

As we finalize partnerships and stakeholders, we will be able to determine needs and costs and fundraising goals. Those processes are concurrent.

12.  Has an initial budget been identified for development efforts including any system needs (ie. CRM, Donation Processing, etc) the campaign consultant, and other development needs? If so, what is the projected range?

A detailed budget beyond grant-funded allocation for project consultants has not been developed.

13.   The initial strategy development and goal setting timeframe is incredibly accelerated for a Capital Campaign, especially given the Pesach Holiday and anticipated closures/absence of key leadership. Is there a reason for the accelerated timetable, and is there any flexibility?

While there is some flexibility, we are aware of potential donors who are awaiting our contact, so we wish to reach out to them as soon as possible.

14.  While only the initial concept exists, are there any renderings even if just conceptual for visualization purposes? If not, when will those be available for use with donor cultivations and conversations?

Project planning is a concurrent process; we do hope to have some visuals available in the summer.

15. It appears that a steering committee is already assembled. Is that the same as a campaign committee? If so, can you please provide an outline of committee member expectations? If not, what role does the steering committee play moving into the campaign?

The Steering Committee is providing oversight and management for all of the re-building processes. A campaign-specific committee will be appointed  with input from the Campaign Consultant

16.  Beyond the Executive Director and Rabbi/Hazzan, which additional staff members within the organization will be assigned to work on the campaign? Is there existing development staff or administrative support?

The synagogue employs only three other staff other than the ED and the Rabbi; one is a program director and the other two are maintenance staff. Volunteers will be filling out other roles.

17. Will the Capital Campaign Consultant be expected to manage donation processing, or will that be handled by the synagogue?

This is currently an on-going conversation, but likely will be handled by the synagogue and a contracted accounting/bookkeeping firm. 

18.   Does the synagogue have established gift acceptance policies and procedures?

Not yet.

19. Have any pledges towards the campaign been made to date? If so, approximately how much and by what categories (individual donors, foundations, etc.)?

No pledges as of yet, but high interest from both identified individual donors and foundations (national and local)

 20. Have board members already made pledges to the campaign? What percent of the board have made pledges? What are the total pledges to date?

Not yet.

21. Was there an established annual giving program (outside of memberships) prior to the shooting? If so, how many donors (what percentage) made gifts on an annual basis? How much annual revenue was generated by fundraising efforts?

As a synagogue, we have memberships and not an annual campaign or annual donors. Some members donate above the dues amount and there are a few low-key fundraising projects or events. On average, 30% of operating income is from dues. Tree of Life currently has 250 membership units.

22. How engaged will the Men’s Club, Sisterhood Group, and Young Jewish Committee be in the campaign? How many members does each of these groups have?

The members of each of those groups are members of the synagogue and provide programming and volunteers. We have not planned for their specific involvement.

23. What will happen if fundraising is not completed in Spring 2021?

Fundraising is always on-going, we hope to have most of the funding in place to begin renovations and construction. Spring 2021 is not a hard stop.

24. Page 3 of the RFP states that the consultant will “work with the Steering Committee, Trustees, Executive Director, and other stakeholders to identify campaign leadership, including campaign chair and campaign committee members…” What is the difference between the Steering Committee and the campaign committee?

The Steering Committee is providing oversight and management for all of the re-building processes. A campaign-specific committee will be appointed  with input from the Campaign Consultant  

25. Will there be interviews or an opportunity for representatives of the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha (TOLOS) Congregation to meet with the finalist consultants before formally engaging them in the project?

The Steering Committee and building stakeholders will be involved with interviews and hiring decisions.

26. In the aftermath of the attack, were financial gifts made to TOLOLS by individuals, foundations and corporations? Did they come from across the country/around the world? How many gifts were received and what was the total amount given? 

After the attack, Tree of Life received hundreds of donations from individuals, corporations and foundations. The outpouring of support from around the country and the world was of great comfort. We will soon be completing the allocations process for those funds-- the majority of the donations received will go to the victims' families, the wounded, and the others on site on October 27, 2018. Other funding will be given to the police department, held for memorialization, and a portion will be given to each of the other two congregations that were worshipping at the Tree of Life building that day. Some funds will remain with Tree of Life -- restricted in use to rebuilding the congregation. The specific dollar amounts are not yet publicly available.

27. Are these gifts what led to the conclusion on page 3 of the RFP: “Donor interest is high and community support for the project is widespread.”? Was a fundraising study done to contribute to this conclusion? 

In part, yes. We have not done a feasibility study, but are aware of a number of potential donors awaiting our contact.

28. Who is represented on the TOLOLS Steering Committee and stakeholders group? Are there prospects for giving included in these groups? 

The Steering Committee is made up of synagogue members, all members are ultimately prospects. The stakeholder organizations are identifying additional prospects related to their missions. This campaign will be a collaboration among all stakeholders.

29. Was the “schedule” on page 4 informed by a professional fundraiser? (To raise a “mid-8-figures” amount will require much more time than 10+ months and more time should be dedicated to the major gift phase than the public phase.) 

As noted elsewhere, interest is high and silent phase can begin almost immediately.

30. Has there been any outreach in major cities (New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles) to identify and cultivate prospective leaders and donors? 

Various community leaders from Pittsburgh have had conversations with potential major donors in most of the major cities.

31. Would members of TOLOLS be considered as prospects for financial support?


Thu, October 1 2020 13 Tishrei 5781