Case Story

Charlottesville Ballet

Charlottesville Ballet includes Charlottesville’s only full-time professional dance company, a center for dance education, and an after-school dance education outreach program. The Ballet was founded in 2007, gained nonprofit status in 2010 and ran completely on a volunteer basis until 2012, when the board hired their first paid staff positions

Board Reforms

Like any nonprofit, Charlottesville Ballet faces the challenge of building a strong board and engaging board members to fully take advantage of their passion and their skills. By sending a board member through the CNE’s Board Academy, they were able to initiate a shift in the culture of their board. The Ballet recently experienced some transitions in board composition and has been working to attract new board members and increase board diversity. By drawing on CNE resources, Charlottesville Ballet has been able to take a strategic approach to growing and developing their board.

CNE’s Board Academy also provided the necessary training when we first implemented our board of directors, and has had a significant impact on the efficacy of our board
governance.

Sara Jansen Clayborne, Co-Founder

CNE’s Board Academy has also helped strengthen our board governance and encourage board members to be active and engaged with their roles both within the organization, and in regards to the organization’s involvement within the broader community.

Emily Mott Hartka, Co-Founder

CNE has provided our organization with training, resources, and tools that have fostered incredible growth over the last eight years. Programs and classes have helped staff develop strategies to achieve long-term development goals and implement processes to ensure organization sustainability. We look forward to our continued growth as an organization and as active and engaged community members through CNE’s training and classes.

Sara Jansen Clayborne, Co-Founder

CNE supports strategic planning

Charlottesville Ballet grew rapidly between 2011 and 2013, increasing their Academy students by 500%! This experience prompted the organization’s leaders to seek a healthy plan for future growth. They turned to CNE for guidance in this process. Participating in CNE workshops encouraged Charlottesville Ballet to initiate a strategic planning process. Through their planning sessions the Ballet’s leadership identified fundraising and board development as priorities.

Various lectures and seminars have provided the necessary education for our leadership, staff, and board to implement new strategies and systems to ensure the progress and continued development of our organization. One such lecture by Sam Davis on organization sustainability spurred us into our first strategic planning meeting that enabled us to focus on long-term growth and goals.

Emily Mott Hartka, Co-Founder

CNE increases fundraising capacity

Through their strategic planning process, the Charlottesville Ballet identified the need to acquire additional space—more studios to serve more dancers and dance students. But buildings cost money. So with the help of CNE, the Ballet’s leadership organized their first capital campaign—and their first direct mailing campaign. CNE’s Annual Fund Series, led by Laurie Rogers, had a huge impact on the Ballet’s plans. Laurie helped them think creatively about how to collect data and structure a fundraising campaign. In the end, the Ballet raised a total of $50,000, which allowed them to add 2,500 square feet of studio space.

CNE’s Annual Fund Series, fundraising workshops, and donor search tools in particular provided the knowledge and education to help us produce our first annual direct-mailing campaign. Shortly after, we were able to implement a successful capital campaign which culminated in a total of $50K raised in 6 short months.

Emily Mott Hartka, Co-Founder

Charlottesville Ballet also recently won a $10,000 grant from the Charlottesville Albemarle Community Fund. They credit their win, in part, to the support they received from CNE in developing and honing their pitch. Despite their successes, they also recognize the need to gather more data, take a more structured approach, and to hire a Director of Development to spearhead future fundraising efforts.

CNE builds community connections

CNE programs also offer a great opportunity for networking and peer learning. It’s always helpful to be in a room of practitioners who share your concerns and can offer a unique perspective to your challenges. Emily mentioned that she learned a lot from listening to participants from other nonprofits. CNE also helps nonprofits reach out to the broader community.

We consider CNE to be an invaluable resource to connecting nonprofits with the greater community and providing education to help further leadership within organizations.

Sara Jansen Clayborne, Co-Founder

CNE strengthens organizations and leader

Great leadership requires a broad perspective. CNE programs offer the chance to take a step back from the day-to-day and gain some perspective. Thinking about long-term goal—and how to achieve them—in a professional, supportive environment can be very valuable.

CNE is the broad mentor you can call, to ask how to do something. The broadening moment, for when you’re so in your thing all day long, and then we’ll go to an Annual Fund workshop and totally revamp and see the big picture. It’s a mentor you can call for a practical tip and ask, “Am I doing this right?” “How do other people do this?” which is so helpful. Looking into the future, thinking about how things will affect our organization. The big picture of the scope of our organization, and how we can guide it to be the best. I don’t think you get that from reading a book. CNE is guiding.

Emily Mott Hartka, Co-Founder

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