Houses are Built on a Solid Foundation; So are Successful Campaigns

East Gym FloorThe foundation of any successful development effort is a solid, organized infrastructure. The J.F Smith Group’s purpose in conducting an advancement assessment is to evaluate past practices, present opportunities and campaign readiness to meet future fund-raising goals.

For a fund-raising program to be successful, it must be well-organized and well-managed, both internally and externally.  Too often institutions devote most of their time and attention to external preparedness while doing little or nothing to address internal conditions.  An assessment is conducted by an independent facilitator who gathers both objective and subjective data by observing and interviewing as well as by reviewing institutional reports.  This information is then analyzed to produce an assessment of the institution’s fund-raising program.

What Our Clients Are Saying

  • “Our partnership with the J.F. Smith Group truly changed the game for South Carolina State University Athletics fund-raising and exceeded all of our expectations.  The exceptional services, strategic guidance and professional advice that we received not only allowed us to launch the first ever athletics major gift initiative in the history of the university, they allowed us to exceed our working goal of $1.78M and our vision goal of $2M.”

    Stacy L. Danley, II
    Director of Athletics, South Carolina State University
  • “To the J. F. Smith Group:  Wow, Wow, Wow!  You are the third campaign counsel I have worked with, and you are leaving the other folks in the dust in terms of task-readiness, tools for success, and your staffing model.  I can assure you this level of campaign counsel is far beyond the industry standard.  If we follow the plan, we will be postured for smashing success in SAU’s first comprehensive campaign.  This campaign is truly deepening and furthering the reach of our beloved school; this is very exciting!”

    Katherine Simms Berry
    Senior Advisor to Institutional Advancement, Southern Arkansas University
  • “I have worked closely with Jerry Smith and the J.F. Smith Group for over seven years (and two campaigns), and I have found their services and expertise to be invaluable. Jerry and his team are incredibly responsive and goal oriented.  They do a tremendous job building a blueprint for success and have assisted us in reaching our goals by training staff and monitoring the progress of every aspect of our fund-raising efforts.  I highly recommend the J.F. Smith Group to any organization!”

    Dan Grigg
    Vice President for Advancement, Indiana Institute of Technology
  • “Jerry has built a tremendous team. This experienced group of advancement professionals proved themselves to be extremely knowledgeable, and they worked tirelessly with our staff and board to raise the expectations of what was possible. The quality of Jerry’s training has been key to our fund-raising strategy.”

    John Crawford
    Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Valdosta State University
  • “The J. F. Smith Group has been great to work with!  They conducted a very thorough and accurate feasibility study, leading us to an appropriate financial goal for our capital campaign.  They have a very well thought out process that led us to success in our campaign efforts, during which we raised over $10.3 million!  They have been at this for a long time and have a stellar record in helping schools reach their goals.  I can think of no better partner when undertaking something as significant as a capital campaign.”

    Todd Clingman
    Head of School, North Cobb Christian School
  • “One thing I’ve learned is that institutions, over time, become the extended shadow of their leader. Jerry F. Smith is the consummate professional in fund-raising. He has many, many years of experience, and he’s learned a lot of valuable lessons that make him, and his organization, the best there is.  We have partnered with JFSG for two successful campaigns.”

    Jerry Reeder
    Headmaster, Whitesburg Christian Academy
  • “We expected to accomplish a lot with our capital campaign, but one thing we did not expect was that our capacity for meaningful relationships with our families would increase so markedly.  The J.F. Smith Group delivered on their proven strategy to help us not just succeed in reaching our campaign’s financial goals, but also in establishing a fresh culture of productive relationships with our families and other constituents.  It’s great to build the Kingdom by building relationships, and the J.F. Smith Group is helping us do that.”

    Rick Yost
    Superintendent, Fredericksburg Christian School
  • “Acadian Baptist Center has partnered with the J.F. Smith Group for two capital campaigns.  Our first campaign raised $2 million – and the second is currently at $2.45 million and still counting!  A 1,000-seat Worship Center is currently under construction and will be ready for use by the Summer of 2020. We couldn’t have done it with JFSG!”

    James Newson
    Camp Director Acadian Baptist Center
  • “We’re a small shop with a statewide reach!  The J.F. Smith Group understood our needs and made recommendations on how best to achieve our goal of ‘testing the philanthropic waters.’  Our board was pleased with the thorough findings of the feasibility study, and we’ve taken the results from the study and are currently in the Leadership Phase of a capital campaign!”

    Seth Tuttle
    Development Officer Alabama 4-H Foundation
  • “The Food Bank of East Alabama approached its first Capital Campaign with a great deal of trepidation.  From our very first meeting with Jerry Smith and the members of his team, we found that their wide experience, professionalism, rigorous attention to detail, and ability to truly understand our organization’s needs gave us the confidence to undertake this campaign.  They have provided guidance each step of the way and helped us resolve questions and issues.  The campaign materials they produced are attractive with a very professional look and present a wonderful “face” to the community. We are confident that this effort will be a successful one and they assure us they will celebrate with us at its conclusion!”

    Martha Hank
    Executive Director Food Bank of East Alabama
  • Dear Jerry,

    Many thanks for working with us during our staff training exercises in the past several weeks. Quite frankly, I was somewhat skeptical of this method using virtual meetings through Microsoft “Teams” software for our training. Particularly since we have had so many productive training sessions in person over the years.

    I must say, after visiting with my staff, we all agreed the meetings were very productive and informative.

    This is certainly an unprecedented time in the fund raising world and we are making the best of it with the phone and technology.

    Thank you for making yourself available for these types of training meetings and as always for your guidance.



    Dan G. Grigg

    Vice President for Institutional Advancement



    The Virtual Training Was Great! Thank You!
  • We are very proud of our initial success in the capital campaign at Houston Academy. Hiring the JF Smith group as our advisor was easily one of the best decisions we made. Their knowledge of the market of donors and the best practices of running a campaign has resulted in a very efficient and effective first year. We have already begun construction on the lower school with plans on it being ready by fall. I don’t see how we would’ve progressed this far without their guidance. We are very excited about year two of the project and what it will bring for all of the wonderful families at Houston Academy.”

    Reid Dove
    Campaign Chair, Houston Academy

Our Clients

American Sports Medicine Institute
Auburn University College of Business
Greater Birmingham Humane Society
Dothan Area Botanical Gardens
Gordon Tech College Prep
Harding Academy