Attracting Individual and Corporate Engagement

The Truman Center & The Truman Project
Washington, DC
Individual Giving Programs
Corporate Sponsorships

The Challenge

The Truman Center and its sister organization, Truman Project, is a network of experts in the national security, public and foreign policy professions.  With over 2000 members in sixteen chapters across the U.S., the organization identifies and develops the next generation of leaders as they work to reimagine how national security and foreign policy can be more effective, and bring greater benefit to local communities across the nation.

When a new President and CEO sought to reprioritize the organization’s impact and relevance, along with its financial model, renewed emphasis was placed on private philanthropy and corporate support.  After decades of reliance on a small group of private foundations and one major benefactor, the challenge was to redesign donor messages and communications channels, and create structures to attract individual and corporate engagement.

An open full-time chief development staff position had yielded a disparate range of candidates of varying experience and skills.  This uneven pool of candidates had caused some confusion about what staffing could best serve the organization in successfully building private support.

The most urgent challenge was to secure corporate support for a fast -approaching virtual conference.   After a challenging 2020 required planning and replanning the traditional annual in-person conference, a virtual conference offered high visibility  and star power, but needed to be shared fast and effectively with prospective sponsors.

The Approach

Carter Consulting Group was engaged to helicopter in, serving as interim development director in a completely virtual work setting.  Over the course of four months we:

  • Reframed donor communications to highlight value for individual philanthropists and the corporate community.
  • Secured conference sponsorships and major gift project support totaling $170,000, and began multiple additional conversations with future sponsors.
  • Adapted sponsor benefits to virtual platforms, along with engagement and stewardship activities.

Working closely with the President and CEO and the former Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, a virtual fireside chat for sponsors and prospective sponsors was designed and executed.  With the intent to illustrate the value of ongoing engagement with the Truman Center, a series is planned to enhance stewardship with expert content curated for the corporate community.

Carter Consulting Group also designed and oversaw mailing of personalized, year-end review style electronic greeting cards to welcome the new year.

Working closely with the Managing Director of Finance and Administration, we screened and interviewed Director of Development candidates, and worked alongside with the successful candidate for several weeks to ensure the baton was successfully passed for a seamless transition.

The Result

The Truman Center is a fast-moving organization perfectly positioned to partner with high profile philanthropic leaders and industry as the national security community pivots to reinventing policies in a new administration.

Despite obvious challenges, the Corporate Council had a very strong launch in 2020, with all prospects for robust growth in the near term.  Steps to reactivate a nascent pool of individual donors were taken, and several major gifts secured as the new year began.

To learn more about The Truman Center and their work, check out their newest report on ‘Transforming the State Department’

Julie handled even the most difficult personalities with grace and tact, providing us with invaluable insights and thoughtful analyses.
Michelle Powers-Keegan
CDO, Center for Strategic & International Studies
Julie’s enthusiasm and energy inspire staff, boards and volunteers to deliver outsized results.
Stephen Salyer
Immediate Past President & Senior Fellow, Salzburg Global Seminar
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Tudor Place Historic House and Garden
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Pam Traxel
Vice President, Alliance Development and Philanthropy, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
"Julie’s organization, her insights, and her creativity kept our in-house development team on track and reflected a deep understanding of working with volunteers, staff, and the donor community."
Patrick Muhlen-Schulte
Managing Director, The Washington Ballet
"Julie handled even the most difficult personalities with grace and tact, providing us with invaluable insights and thoughtful analyses."
Michelle Powers-Keegan
CDO, Center for Strategic & International Studies
"Year-end solicitations with major donors were looming. Julie Carter parachuted in when we needed expert guidance—her grace and good humor helped us exceed our goals in every way."
Jenna Ben-Yehuda
President & CEO, The Truman Center
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Patrick Muhlen-Schulte
Managing Director, The Washington Ballet
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Michelle Powers-Keegan
CDO, Center for Strategic & International Studies


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