10 elements to success for your next campaign
Posted on: March 20, 2018 at 10:43 am

By Joyce Penland, CFRE

You’ve no doubt heard the adage about the frequency of capital campaigns: You’ve just completed one, you’re in the middle of one, or you’re planning the next one.  Wherever your organization finds itself, it’s always good to examine your team’s readiness to undertake a significant capital campaign. 

Here are some of “elements of success” that we at Lee+ Associates consider when working with clients that are considering a capital campaign. This is not an exhaustive list but can serve as a framework as you plan and strategize for your next effort.

  1. Is your organization perceived as fulfilling a public need that merits support from the public?  In other words, how’s your reputation among your clients, your donors and the community at large?
  2. Is there a sense of urgency and understanding on the part of both your internal and external constituents as well as campaign leaders and volunteers of your compelling needs?  Do they share a common commitment to the future of your nonprofit and its mission?
  3. Do you have dedicated and influential Board members who will give the campaign wide-ranging and enthusiastic support?  Can they be pacesetters for the campaign?  If not, then examine your Board makeup and take steps to cultivate new members to fill in the gaps.
  4. Do you have an Executive Director who recognizes the importance of fundraising and public relations?  Is s/he willing and capable of devoting energy and the necessary time to the campaign?  Start “managing up” if your ED needs training to make public presentations or needs polishing in cultivating, asking and stewarding lead gift donors.
  5. Have you recruited a corps of dedicated volunteers to serve as the campaign committee, headed by a capable and influential chair who will devote the necessary time and energy to the campaign?  And will they make stretch gifts to the campaign, setting an example for others to follow?
  6. Do you have an experienced, capable development staff in place that is skilled in planning and executing a campaign? 
  7. Do you have a history of support?  Has your organization built a broad base of annual support and have you cultivated a sufficient pool of major gift prospects (individuals/corporations/foundations) to be called upon to jump start your effort?  If not, start cultivating them now, asking for their input and listening to their thoughts and concerns.
  8. Does your nonprofit have a clear, compelling, urgent, and well-crafted case for support?  Do your needs resonate with supporters?  Can you articulate how the campaign will make a difference to those you serve?
  9. Have you considered the timing of your campaign? What’s happening in your community that can have positive and/or negative impact on your nonprofit’s campaign plans?
  10. Do you have the budget and technology capable of handling a campaign today? Do you have the processes and procedures in place to produce attractive campaign materials, to adequately record and receipt gifts, to send acknowledgement letters in a timely manner, to conduct campaign events, and to ensure that donors are thanked with the same enthusiasm as they were asked?

Hopefully this list will help guide the necessary conversations you must have with your staff, your leadership, your volunteers, and your donors as plan for future capital campaign endeavors.

If your team needs help, Lee+ Associates has a long history of successfully partnering with nonprofits in the planning and execution of a capital campaign.  Our third-party assessments of your fundraising programs, our educational retreats, our coaching and planning expertise, along with our professional feasibility studies help position nonprofits so that you can remain in tune with your donors and focus your energy on realistic and productive strategies.  Call us today at 210-733-0893 to begin the conversation on your capital campaign.