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Neighbors’ Educational Opportunities

Faced with the fact that they were losing the lease on the space that had housed their operations for over 50 years, Neighbors’ Educational Opportunities (NEO) knew they needed capital to develop an alternative home.  Jane was brought in to develop a comprehensive campaign to engage the community and a nine-month plan to raise the capital needed to make a major move.

Jane worked with the Executive Director, Rebecca Reiner, and the NEO Board to formalize the organization’s “story,” create materials to engage key audiences, align board members, and develop a strategic plan for the launch of their capital campaign. 

As part of this effort, Jane conducted one-on-one interviews with NEO Board members to determine their understanding of the challenges and the roles they would be willing to play. 

She also conducted a series of structured conversations with key community stakeholders, including educators, political figures, industry leaders, and others involved in the overall economic and social develop of the communities in Lake and Porter Counties.  These conversations revealed both challenges and opportunities, with several leaders sharing specific suggestions and ideas. 

Armed with this information, the NEO Board met in a two-part offsite meeting to explore the issues raised in the interviews.  In facilitated exercises, the group explored and aligned their understanding of the challenges by creating a draft of NEO’s current value proposition.


Jane also helped the group develop possible engagement approaches, commit to actions, and create a shared ownership of specific friend-and-fund raising initiatives.  To facilitate this, we developed a simple “talking points” tool based on a clear three-part model of NEO operations, a timeline for the launch, and a plan for a series of community events to educate and engage support.  Jane also helped them target funding sources for larger grants and create the building blocks for the grant applications they would prepare.

An important part of the process was the development of a limited set of key messages that would serve as “talking points” for the Board in engaging support and a foundation for the communication strategy going forward, as well as a campaign Facebook page to build engagement with key stakeholders and help them stay informed throughout the fundraising and building process.

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