Chief Advancement Officer
Colorado Springs, CO
We build lifelong faith by helping parents and caring adults talk with their kids about what they otherwise wouldn’t one conversation at a time.
2006 : It all began at Chick-fil-A
Co-Founder, Jeremiah Callihan pitches Co-Founder David Eaton an audacious idea at Chick-fil-a. David pitches Jeremiah on a name...Axis. David jumps in and designs presentations and a preliminary website, while Jeremiah builds out the contact list and begins sending letters to churches and schools.
2007 : Let's GO!
Axis incorporates and files for 501(c)3 status. Axis books a Christian school in California for their very first live event. David trains five local twenty somethings on the presentation, and they do their first live event.
2012-2014 : Reframing Strategy
Axis' less than ten employees reframe the mission from customer and strategy being direct to the student, moving towards directly to the parent. Axis decides digital resources should be created for parents. Axis' first digital event is produced, based on a live event.
2015-2017 : Firsts
Axis launches the first issue of the Culture Translator email, first online summit, first Parent Guide and finishes the first multi-six figure digital product sales. The list grows from 5,000 to over 50,000 people.
2018-2019 - Million Family Movement
Axis creates the 'All Axis Pass' membership. Traveling speaking teams come to an end to focus on scalable digital resource creation. The Million Family Movement campaign is created to reach one million families by end of 2020. Axis lowers the membership price by 80% to $9.99/mo and $99/year with the $630,000 cash gap covered by Million Family Movement donations from the 2019 campaign.
2020 & Beyond
The first phone app launches making Axis' resources more simple and accessible for caring adults than ever before. The list is currently at 500,000 people with 200,000 actively engaged with Axis resources on a monthly basis. Lifelong faith has always been the mission. They've changed as they've needed to, and are more passionate about it than ever before. The stories they hear fuel that fire. The next step is to find the ultimate measurable outcome that's better than using conversations as the metric for impact.
Our Vision: To see all caring adults equipped with the conversation, discipleship, and culture translation skills needed to reach the next generation for Christ.
STAFF, FINANCES & LOCATION
The Axis Departmental Leadership Team is composed of six highly-competent, hard-working, impact-motivated individuals. Both Co-Founders have served Axis for 13 years. The leadership team provides oversight of 20 staff members in the following areas: Engagement, Content/Resources, Advancement, People & Process, CFO, CEO. Each individual team member brings a variety of experience and expertise to their role that adds value to the organization. They freely disagree, and work together to choose a collective voice. They are talented and passionate people that love the narrative, origin story & the mission. Each of the aforementioned leadership team members provide oversight for their respective teams.
Axis' CEO, Jeremiah Callihan, provides high-level oversight for the entire organization, and has a unique communication style that encourages team individuality. They work hard at daily interactions with one another and respect each other's leadership style, as well as team leadership style. They try to live out the values they espouse for the organization and make a conscious effort to give each other grace under pressure and hear each other out before making collective decisions.
The Axis staff is young, with nearly half the staff under 30 years old. For many, this is their first job, and teaching them how to ‘work’ and basic practices is often necessary. The environment is casual (yet hard-working) and familial. People deeply care about one another. It's common to know about one another's lives and there is an intentionality, especially with leadership to model this. There is the ability to move up and around in the organization--a growth-mindset focus.
Axis integrates internal values to help define their staff culture, values and practices through a Staff Vision Card. The Axis team pursues healthy balance and is truly SPECIAL as they...
The core organizational values of Axis shows a Third Way using these 4 C’s…
Axis has navigated peaks and valleys, but the team has sought God’s wisdom & authorship at every turn. They are in adolescent years as an organization, but growing up, still changing and adapting with system, personnel, and strategic growth, systems and processes. There is a need for more advanced tactics and consistency moving forward. They have learned to listen and understand each other as they have grown together.
By investing in Axis, you are partnering in the mission to bring families together to pass on the legacy of faith to the next generation.
Axis' annual budget is $3,235,000 and the donation revenue budget is $1,962,000. Generosity is valued and encouraged. Axis membership must feed and be supported by generous philanthropy that helps them reach more families with the mission and resources of Axis. They are committed to operating with ethical, professional, and Biblical integrity.
LOCATION - COLORADO SPRINGS
*CONSIDERATION MIGHT BE MADE FOR A REMOTE CANDIDATE*
Colorado Springs is a conservative, family-oriented community with strong military and religious organizational ties, with Denver representing more of a progressive city an hour to the north. Political and religious differences are part of the landscape.
Colorado Springs, which sits at an elevation of 6,035 ft., is a city in Colorado at the eastern foot of the Rocky Mountains. It lies near glacier-carved Pikes Peak, a landmark in Pike National Forest with hiking trails and a cog railway leading to its 14,114-ft. summit. The city's Garden of the Gods park features iconic red-sandstone formations and mountain views. Colorado Springs offers more than 60 area attractions, including trains, museums, parks, a zoo and more.
In 2017 and 2018, Colorado Springs received several accolades. In 2018 U.S. News named it the most desirable place to live in the United States. The previous year, Colorado Springs placed second on U.S. News's list of the 125 Best Places to Live in the USA. The Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings found that Colorado Springs was the fastest-growing city for millennials
There is a very young and active population in the front-range of Colorado, known for its beauty, Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, mountain activities, and an outdoor lifestyle. One could expect sunshine over 300 days a year! Many non-natives have moved to Colorado from others states to build a new life. The average median price of homes listed currently is $349,000.
WHAT THEY DO
Discipleship for the Whole Family
Axis is known for helping parents and caring adults have meaningful conversations with their teenagers. They build parent confidence in understanding their teen's world and help them connect effectively with their teens. They serve as the Axis between denominations, theological experts, pop-culture and technology trends. They help caring adults navigate teen culture through a biblical lens to equip them for meaningful conversations that build lifelong connections.
I wish there were 100's of groups like Axis. We are losing the next generation, and we need help from people like Axis to reach them.
Dr. Tim Keller, Author & Speaker
ALL AXIS PASS
Being a member and consistent user of the All Axis Pass is the ultimate goal for all constituents of Axis. Our next goal is to maximize members becoming Axis donors and to maximize Axis donors being members and consistent users. With the All Axis Pass, caring adults are equipped to have lifelong conversations using: The Culture Translator Premium, Parent Guides, Conversation Kits, Expert Interviews, 10-Day Teen Talks, Family Experiences, and more! Parents will be empowered to break down barriers and talk confidently with the next generation about any topic in their world with unlimited access to the Axis Library! ALL Axis resources listed below are included.
The future direction of Axis is in encouraging membership by constituents, then drawing the donor base primarily from those memberships. Secondarily, drawing from the non-member a la carte customer that doesn't want to jump all in at $10/month or $100/year for the All Axis Pass.
It’s hard to keep track of everything teens are into, let alone know how to talk about them. But it doesn’t have to be! Axis has created over 90 downloadable PDFs to help caring adults understand the things teens face, how to have conversations about them, and how to biblically disciple the teens in their life into lifelong faith through it all. Topics such as: Purity, College Prep, Sexual Assault, Finance, Failure & many more!
Axis provides a way to experience a Summit, virtually. Caring adults can grow as a disciple maker of the next generation through the wisdom of today’s thought leaders. They have interviewed over 250 parenting and discipling experts to help provide encouragement and equip parents with wisdom on how to raise their teens in today’s world. Topics such as: Understanding Your Teen, Parenting Relationships, Gen Z Faith and more!
Understanding tricky issues like gender, pornography, suicide, and drugs as well as philosophical concepts like evangelism, leadership, identity, and relationships with teens can be missed in the busyness of life. These topics are a tool for drawing parents and teens closer together. These video conversation starters help caring adults learn and discuss these important issues with their teens. Conversation Kits bring generations together around a common gospel.
It’s hard to keep track of everything teens are into, let alone know how to talk with them about those things. But it doesn’t have to be! The Culture Translator is Axis' free weekly newsletter, translating new developments in pop culture to help parents and faith leaders understand and disciple their teenagers.
Ready to tackle a deeper conversation as a family? These family experiences allow family's to come to the table together. This isn’t a lecture or a class for kids. These family experiences will allow for a family to tackle a subject together and come to an agreement while building amazing memories together!
It can be a struggle to bring up topics like pornography, drugs, or suicide? A guide is needed to help caring adults grow in their own knowledge and start or deepen the conversation about these topics with their teen. Parents can lLearn through 10 days of incredible content and take a deep dive into hard topics. They will grow in their own knowledge of the climate of the world their teen lives in. They will experience content through interactive prompts to help start a conversation.
OPPORTUNITIES & CHALLENGES
Axis has trusted God to meet the need in the assignment He has set before them. Lifelong faith has always been the mission. They've changed as they've needed to, and are more passionate about it than ever before. The stories they hear fuel that fire. The next step is to find the ultimate measurable outcome that is better than using conversations as the metric for impact. The donor base is strong and they are looked at as an industry leader in shaping discipleship within the family, but Axis is entering a season of necessary growth to cultivate stakeholders in order to to meet the growing needs of the organization.
Axis has a remarkable origin story. Two Co-Founders, Jeremiah Callihan & David Eaton, started and remain intimately involved in the organization in which they birthed over a Chick-fil-A sandwich. They are young, sharp and excellent at their individual crafts. Their collaboration is as unique as they are unique. Guiding the ship with a founding CEO and President at the helm can be challenging if there is mis-alignment. Respect is necessary for the origin story as well as learning how to balance the nuances that could be seen as challenges, but are also Axis' greatest strengths.
David Eaton, President and Co-Founder, single-handedly serves Axis’ major donors. He is creative and skillful as he builds relationships with key stakeholders, and he is seen as the “face” of Axis that builds donor confidence and trust. Understanding how to build rapport & obtain respect from David, while supporting his presence and impact, could be a delicate challenge. Collaborating with David to provide oversight and empower him to do what he does best will take time and a deep level of trust that doesn’t happen overnight but will create exponential impact for Axis. Finally, finding the right balance of partnering side-by-side with David while reporting to Jeremiah will be a nuanced challenge for the CAO.
Despite the incredible success of donation revenue (2019 donor revenue was $1.08M Major Donors, $710k Major Donor Vision Event, and $211k from Annual Donors), there is a need for a well-thought out and defined strategic plan and system built around donors. The department of Advancement continues to develop but processes aren’t yet secure. Balancing the smaller individual & mid-sized donors with the major donor, yet valuing them all greatly has not been easy and smaller Annual Donors have been underserved. Annual Donors have been steady year-over-year for 2017, 2018, and 2019 (respectively $247k, $231k, and $211k) and Major Donors have increased ($348k, $704k, and $1.79M). The CAO will need to build an integrated donor strategy while also building the team needed to help Axis grow into that strategy. There have been high high’s and low low’s, and a flattened-out balance is likely needed for sustainability
At times, a tension can exist between the various Leadership team areas. There is a great deal of pressure on the income bringers (Engagement & Advancement), so different tensions form because of it. There can be a sense of internal vs external competition with the revenue streams coming from both donors and customers. There is also a tension noted between Resources and Engagement...let's make something vs let's make something beautiful. Communication between Advancement and Resources has proven frustrating for both parties, as big promises might be made but execution is not a practical reality.
The fastest way to a person's heart is through their kids, grandkids and family. Axis has captured the hearts and attention of 500,000 caring adults engaging with Axis. The content is strong, known and set-apart. Generations are being bridged, and done in a very different way, with an Axis voice. They know how to talk about hard things and empower others to do the same with those they love. The impact reverberates across generational, theological and cultural lines.
The people that make up Axis are young, talented, fun, and highly-relational. Many of them describe the environment as family. There is a love for their Axis community and they genuinely love being together, caring about the work/life balance and living out a healthy existence both in their own homes and through their work life. They are doing what they see as awesome and engaging work, living and breathing the culture of today through a Biblical lens. They understand that what they do is having an impact.
Everyone desires to see the mission advance and works hard to keep up with the fast pace that it demands. There is a good deal of grit, and ability to pivot at a moment's notice. This allows them to be agile, swift and responsive to a world that is constantly in motion. Because of this, there is often an underlying current that exists that fosters a growth mind-set ; to provide the groundwork for individual contributors to move up and around to tackle new ventures or ideas.
In the area of Advancement, there is huge potential, being one of two revenue producers with future plans to build out the team with two additional hires, to build a department that becomes a healthy Advancement Team. The ground has been laid to institutionalize and operationalize the major donor and annual donor strategy; to raise the bar and income within the individual donor category, specifically. The table has been set to dive deep into the donor world through new ideas, ultimately landing on a new strategy. There are new contacts to be made through an already-devoted audience of Axis users. There’s an opportunity to partner with the Engagement and Resources department to unify the call to action and messaging across Axis’ branded platform toward membership and then additional philanthropic giving from members. This will allow our constituents to see the natural flow from product to donation. Because Axis desires for members to have financial and time “skin in the game” in order to be motivated to use our resources, we think there should always be a place for membership to be sold. What happens after $9.99/mo. or $99/year membership is the opportunity for the advancement department to capitalize on. David Eaton has proven to be a trusted voice for Axis stakeholders, and they respond.
THE NEXT SEASON OF LEADERSHIP
The ideal candidate should possess:
Axis places a high value on relationships and building relational capacity. Leaders are to serve with transparency and authenticity. The next Chief Advancement Officer MUST be energized by relationships, as they will be externally focused representing Axis with high visibility. The role is not "plug and play" but is more flexible, elastic and requires someone who is quick on their feet; who can keep up with a swift pace, and understand the culture.
Great value is placed on someone who can be a bridge builder, and understand the unique nuances of leading a relatively younger team in a dynamic with strong individuals that make up the Leadership Team. They must be team-driven and collaborative, but boldly and concisely able to make decisions, being both competent and confident; but willing to learn, offering an energizing and fresh perspective.
S/he will be willing to sustain and withstand the tension that comes with the expectations of both creating and executing upon a development strategy, targeted-goals & the building a sustainable infrastructure to support them. Terms like innovative, strategically creative, highly-relational, passionate, articulate and firmly grounded are best used in describing this leader.
The Chief Advancement Officer will be someone that sees relationship as an art-form and can build the strategy and infrastructure to support it.
Job Title: Chief Advancement Officer
Reports to: Reports to Jeremiah Callihan, CEO. The Chief Advancement Officer is member of Departmental Leadership Team.
Direct Reports: Executive Assistant and partners with President, David Eaton, as Axis' Major Donor Rep. They'd like to hire a Major Donor Portfolio Manager and another Major Donor Rep in the future, which would report to the CAO.
Conditions: This position is salaried. While hours are typically 830am-5pm Monday through Friday when in the office, hours will vary in relation to customer meetings.
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Axis' desire is to focus on operationalizing and institutionalizing a more intentional major donor and annual donor strategy. Other strategies can wait until these are more established systems at Axis. Generosity is valued and encouraged. Axis membership must feed and support and be supported by generous philanthropy that helps them reach more families with the mission and resources of Axis.
The Chief Advancement Officer is a key member of the Axis leadership team. This position serves as a head fundraiser for the company, managing all donors and their donations, as well as, keeping a portfolio of key high capacity relationships and partnerships. They are also responsible for leading the entire Donor Advancement Team, as well as creating and executing the Donor Advancement Annual Plan.