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‘Changing Lives, Changing Times’

Donations 360+ donors exceed camp campaign goal

The PNC camps, N-Sid-Sen and Pilgrim Firs, recently completed a successful $400,000 campaign to offset budget losses from COVID-19 cancellations. 

Camp Campaign organizers share their gratitude in a thank-you video

More than 360 donations to the campaign, “Changing Lives, Changing Times,” brought in more than $418,000 so far, said Wade Zick, managing director of Pilgrim Firs, and Mark Boyd, managing director of N-Sid-Sen.

The campaign strategy was to build “a great team,” share stories, be transparent, ask and thank.

The first task was to assemble a campaign team, a group who could respond quickly, had passion for the camps, understood the importance of the campaign, had some financial development experience and were ready to dive in.  The team included five conference members and five staff: Margaret Swanson and Eric Johnson, co-chairs, Don Mallett, honorary chair, Chris Berry, Mike Denton, James Krick, Alice Ling, Ron Patterson, Kevin Peterson, Kyna Schilling, Andy Warren, Mark and Wade.

They did an incredible amount of work behind the scenes, Mark and Wade said.

• Second, and most important aspect of the campaign was in telling the story and impact of how camp experiences change lives. Young adults who grew up going to camps produced a video, inviting people to share their stories.  More than 30 from churches and partner groups shared in the campaign video.

They collected numerous stories of how camp has changed many lives through the years and shared them in the campaign video that tells why camp is so important to so many.   The video is at

The third strategy was transparency about the financial impact of COVID-19, making the campaign’s timing “a unique giving moment,” Wade said.  The two camps faces a combined projected budget shortfall of more than $400,000.

The board of directors approved a campaign for that amount and kicked if off with the first $200,000 to be matched by gifts from campers, supporters, partner user groups and others receiving the appeal letter.  Organizers overcame the hurdles of having no donor list or recent history of asking for camps.

• Fourth was the ask, starting with a silent campaign approaching prospective major donors ($5,000 or more)—individuals, churches and partner groups, with a goal of securing $60,000 from that phase.  Close to $80, was raised from the leadership donors.

They included the Pacific Northwest Conference of the UCC, the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, the Lady of the Lake Dance Camps, First Congregational Church in Forks, the Summer Acoustic Music Camp, Carol and Ed Coleman, Ruth Cannon, the Hainer Foundation, the Inland NW Sufi Camp, First Congregational Church in Bellevue and an anonymous family.

• Finally, there were the thank yous.  Letters went out within a week of any gift and every donor who gave $250 or more received a phone call from camp directors.  Donors of $1,000 or more were called by the conference minister.

“We thanked all of the more than 360 donors with form letters, hand written notes and many calls,” said Mark and Wade.  “This was a time of deep gratitude for us all, because as we thanked folks for their donations, they thanked us for our quick response, phone calls and letters. Most important, they let us know how grateful they were for the camps and to be part of the campaign, to give back to something that meant so much to them.”

The campaign team also created a thank you video:

 “It means we will not end year in financial stress, have to raise rates or cut staff,” said Mark.

Wade added that “the mission to change lives continues. Even though we were not physically together, we shared stories of what a difference camp has made in our lives.”

“We are saying thank you for an amazing response to our Changing Lives, Changing Times Camp Campaign. The donors helped us achieve and surpass our $400,000 camp campaign goal,” they said.

Because of COVID-19, the Pacific Northwest Conference was not able to do camp as usual this year and the budget projections were not good.

“We went to our churches, camp supporters, church members and partner groups to help us in this time of financial stress and they responded with amazing generosity,” the team said.  “Thank you to all those who gave so generously.

The campaign team said that it’s not too late to give at any time as a way to continue supporting the camps.

For information, call 208-689-3489 or 360-876-2031 or visit To donate, go to and click “donate” in the upper right corner.


Pacific Northwest Conference United Church News © Fall 2020


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