Fields Forward

The Situation

The Kansas Wheat Commission Research Foundation (KWCRF) was established in 2011 as the official fundraising organization for the Kansas Wheat Commission (KWC). The Foundation works to raise private dollars that, combined with public funds, fund the advancement of wheat research.

Through the wheat checkoff, Kansas wheat farmers have contributed millions of dollars of their hard-earned money towards wheat research. However, as the cost of research continues to increase, so does the need to fund these initiatives outside of the wheat checkoff. The KWCRF was created to allow private individuals as well as all segments of the wheat industry to support wheat research.

The KWCRF had not actively been marketing or collecting funds for their initiatives and needed to create a brand that was recognizable and a campaign to actively pursue gifts for the wheat research community.

The Approach

To better understand the history of KWCRF and what opportunities we had to receive future gifts for wheat research, we facilitated a discovery workshop with the KWC and KWCRF staff. The goal of this workshop was to discuss and identify the values and basic beliefs of the research foundation as well as identify the audiences we were seeking to reach and what values those audiences had. We evaluated where KWCRF wanted to be in five, 10, and 20 years and their thoughts on the wheat industry in the future. Our team also researched comparable organizations and the methods in which they were successful in reaching niche audiences for campaign fundraising.

The Results

The discovery workshop allowed the combined KWC and KWCRF team to conceptualize and build consensus around the direction of a future campaign. As a result of the workshop, we learned that the most effective way to communicate the campaign’s mission was to create a standalone brand. Thus, “Fields Forward, A Campaign for a Sustainable Wheat Future” was created.

Once we established messaging, we equipped staff with sales collateral, a website, and video to take a one-on-one approach to educating key target audiences about the campaign’s initiatives. 

Since the creation of these materials, a $1 million gift has been donated to the KWCRF, and the team is currently in the process of planning a campaign activation for 2020.