Just the other day, I consulted an organization about their quest to launch a capital campaign to serve their ever-increasing need in the community. Many of the organization’s leaders and board members expressed excitement at the possibility of approaching a few donors who could write a check for the whole amount of the campaign.
Due to this, a few of the board members questioned why they needed to go through the campaign readiness strategy in the first place: “Let’s just go ask them!” Though I shared their enthusiasm, the problem was that they could be rushing the project if they didn’t develop a readiness strategy. The timeline for a well-planned capital campaign usually takes 12-18 months or longer. Organizations that tend to be impatient walking through the steps of a capital campaign, typically fall short of the campaign goal.
Proper planning now will set your Corps/Area Command and the community in a much better position for success and help you not rush your campaign process. Consider these five campaign readiness strategies to better ensure campaign success:
1. Determine if the Mission Planning Study is compelling enough. The Mission Planning Study must build a solid rationale as to why you should consider implementing a capital campaign. Once confirmed, a case for support prospectus would be created and shared with a donor to determine if the project is possible during the feasibility study. To a donor, knowing how much their support solves a particular need is vitally important. Providing a compelling vision and an opportunity to engage can be critical for the success of a capital campaign.
2. Establish a strategic plan and put it in place. Strategic planning serves as a map to lead the Corps or Area Command into the future. Especially when considering a capital campaign, the board and staff can use this foundational document to make decisions and focus on what is truly important. For example, the organizational structure, the need for additional staff, or an increase in budget.
3. Review your major donor stewardship practices. Your capital campaign is a crucial moment for the Corps or Area Command. If you want the campaign to be a significant success, you must have major donors who feel engaged with the organization before the campaign begins.
Here are five questions to consider:
- Have you met with your top 25 donors recently?
- Is your donor base up-to-date?
- Do you thank and receipt to donors within one-week of receiving their donations?
- Are you engaging them in your work at the Corps or Area Command and offering them meaningful opportunities to invest as a volunteer?
- Do you have a positive annual cash flow and at least 3-6 months’ cash reserve?
4. Identify the right advisory board members, staff, and volunteers. Do you have an advisory board of influence, affluence, and wisdom? Are members well-trained, committed to the cause, financially giving, and currently involved in fundraising? Is there a succession plan for officers before or during the capital campaign? Are board and staff relationships healthy?
5. Hire an experienced capital campaign consultant. Hiring a capital campaign consultant can help you answer relevant questions you may not have thought about such as:
- What is the future of the community and how will this campaign complement the future of the community’s vision?
- How is the Corps or Area Command doing in stewarding their major donors and what steps can you implement to improve fundraising for the campaign?
- Once the campaign is complete, how will the Corps or Area Command be able to sustain a significantly larger organization?
A consultant will also be able to help manage and plan the timeline of the campaign. A capital campaign is a complex undertaking. It is critically important that it’s done right the first time.
Conducting a Pre-Campaign Readiness Assessment will not only help you understand the Corps and Area Command’s needs and challenges, but it will also help you establish a realistic timeframe to complete the campaign successfully.
A capital campaign can vary between 12-18 months or longer to complete. Given campaigns are such a significant undertaking, conducting a campaign readiness assessment will help your Corps or Area Command better ensure you reach your goal.
Are you ready for your campaign? Are you sure? Contact us for a free one-hour consultation today >>