Perhaps you have also asked this question: “What’s the board’s role in a capital campaign?” I am asked this question with every campaign launch and frequently throughout the campaign as well. I believe there are five responsibilities of every board during a capital campaign:
- Pray – For boards of Christian organizations, this should be an obvious first step. However, prayer is often part of even secular organizations. When it is not, board members can pray on their own for the success of the campaign. Be sure to pray not only to reach the goal, but for the health and welfare of the campaign team especially the campaign chair, CEO, and development director. Also pray for the donors; may they be blessed for their generosity.
- Give – Members of the board should be among the first donors to the campaign. 100% giving from members of the board makes a strong statement of their investment in the project. Donors and foundations love to see that those who are spending campaign funds have “skin in the game.”
- Protect – There is no surprise that the board needs to protect the agency through policies during the campaign. The board should adopt policies regarding gift acceptance, donor recognition and naming as well as freshen up general fundraising and donation policies. The board should also do what it can to ensure that the project you are fundraising for is well conceived and progressing smoothly so that is is completed in a timely manner once funds are secured. Finally, ensure that the agency will be sustainable after the campaign. It is tragic to see an agency get the keys to their new building, and then be too strapped to operate it properly.
- Fundraise – You knew it would be on the list! No, this does not mean that every board member must ask all their friends for $50,000. However, it does mean that board members should help where they can. Help ranges from writing thank you’s, to hosting a donor event, to introducing friends. Yes, if you are so inclined it can also mean asking a friend for money, but a simple introduction to the CEO or campaign chair can be just as helpful.
- Support – Taking on a campaign creates a huge amount of stress on an agency. In many cases, the CEO needs to focus 30-50% of his or her time on the campaign while fundraising staff are working overtime. The board must support the CEO throughout the campaign. This support can take many forms. On the simplest level, checking in with the CEO on workload, stress level, and mental/spiritual health is a great start. On other occasions, the board can approve the temporary hire of an assistant or interim promotion of a COO to ensure things running smoothly. I have even seen board members step in and volunteer in areas helpful to the CEO. Regardless, supporting the CEO and staff through the campaign is critical to maintaining a healthy organization.
Fundraising is a team sport. Is your team ready? DB&A helps boards, CEOs, and fundraising teams align so they can you can reap a bountiful harvest. Contact us today to learn more.