TAKING THE HELM of a campaign to raise $35 million dollars in five years for a women’s college in Nevada, Missouri, is no small endeavor. It had never been done before, not only in the school’s history, but in the history of small college fundraising and at a time when smaller colleges are going by the wayside or converting to coed. The Campaign began when the economy was at a downturn and fundraising dollars were shrinking.
Barbara Andes was just completing her term as President of International Chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood which included serving as an ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees at Cottey College. She was familiar with the needs and goals of the College and was a part of the discussions about creating the fundraising Campaign.
With Dr. Judy Rogers’ firm backing, Barbara accepted the challenge of leading the charge. She was just the leader needed to oversee Dr. Rogers’ vision and carry out the Board of Trustees’ plan. She brought years of volunteer service as part of her background, which would serve her well as nearly her entire team was made up of volunteers. She brought connections to supporters in nearly every state, province, and district, relationships built from her leadership as President of International Chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood. These contacts weren’t just volunteers, they were women, armed with a passion for education and boundless strength to work tirelessly until the job was done. Many times on the Campaign trail, volunteers voiced that they would do anything Barbara asked. Barbara had earned a reputation during her presidency that she would never ask anyone to do something that she would not do herself. In this spirit they carried out the plan that would involve 96 Awareness Events around the country and Canada.
Each month the team would meet via conference call as volunteers would often be in other parts of the country.Together they racked up 6,000 minutes of calls. Barbara and Dr. Rogers never missed a call. Prior to each call, committees were to prepare and share reports on what had been accomplished and what was being planned. This enabled the group to stay focused and connected on the goal, often piggybacking on others efforts to create a synergy beyond compare.
The committees became a force that would remain committed to the goal until the end. Those committees continued to add enthusiastic helpers along the way, and by the end of the Campaign OVER 5800 VOLUNTEERS had become involved.
Often Dr. Rogers served as inspiration during the calls, relaying stories about campus happenings. The Cabinet focused on what worked and left behind what didn’t. Support consistently poured in on the home stretch, the monthly goal weighed in at a daunting $600,000 per month. When the final numbers were tallied, they not only hit that monthly goal, but doubled it from April 2013 through the end of the Campaign in January 2014.
Celebrations were a part of each call, not with excessive costly means, but often simply by knowing that they were enriching education for young women. They were rewarded by the lifelong friendships and spirited bonding. And sometimes by the sound of music. Barbara sent greeting cards that played the song “Celebrate,” and during calls you could often hear it play in the background as someone would open their card to spread the joyful tone.