Achieve was founded in 1996 to pursue the mission of ensuring that all students graduate from high school ready for college, careers, and citizenship. Over 20 years, it established itself as a national voice on college and career readiness, drove policy change, and engaged with key constituencies in the tertiary education sector.
Achieve came to Orr Group at a pivotal point in its growth and influence. It wanted to perform a strategic review to revisit and redefine its target audiences, the needs in the field, and its unique value. In conjunction with that strategic review, Achieve wished to reevaluate its approach to development, nonprofit board recruitment and funding to support future growth.
Orr Group undertook a development assessment to evaluate Achieve’s fundraising infrastructure, capacity and assets. From that assessment, we designed a development plan setting out Achieve’s greatest opportunities for growing and/or diversifying revenue, and the messaging, systems, leadership and infrastructure needed to support that effort.
Responding to the recommendations in Orr Group’s report, and following turnover in the development department, Achieve brought us on as a fully embedded partner, with an Orr Group Director serving as Interim Chief Development Officer and an Orr Group team providing strategy, leadership and implementation support. With our assistance, Achieve built a solid pipeline of existing and new qualified funding prospects, as well as developing comprehensive systems and processes for managing the prospect pipeline and key donor relationships.
In the fiscal year coinciding with our partnership, Achieve raised over $3.5 million, surpassing its goal of $2.5 million. Over the course of our partnership, we also helped Achieve to strengthen its board, establishing a strategy and criteria for board recruitment, by identifying prospects, and preparing materials for recruiting and onboarding new members, including job descriptions and marketing materials.
Orr Group also conceived of, and led fundraising for, Achieve’s first Benefit Dinner in conjunction with its 20th Anniversary, an event featuring acclaimed author J. D. Vance that shone the light on Achieve’s great work, celebrated its achievements and rallied supporters around its mission.
The Orr Group team served in the role of interim Chief Development Officer, providing strategy, leadership and implementation support.