Be Prepared, and Enjoy Great Success
This prospective client had done everything right. They engaged in a strategic planning process to establish priorities for the institution. They initiated a campus master-planning process to integrate the capital needs relating to the plan.
They were building capacity among staff and in systems, technology and communications. Now, they’re looking at a campaign-planning and feasibility study.
When I asked about the president’s commitment and engagement, they shared that her background was in communications and that she was a consummate relationship-builder. When she had arrived at the institution a few years earlier, she had stopped a major campaign in the silent phase, because the proper steps were not taken to ensure success.
As we discussed readiness, they felt that some of their prospective major donors were not quite ready to be interviewed in a planning study, and they understood the importance of building in time for that step.
Pending some additional cultivation and insight and strategy from a campaign-planning and feasibility study, this organization is positioned to enjoy great success in a major campaign.
The key players—from the CEO to the leadership in advancement/development—are willing to accept reality and make tough calls, and they understand the importance of investing in capacity building and essential research to undergird the campaign.
They have been taking steps toward a campaign now for several years. If you are contemplating a major campaign, follow their lead: Make it a multi-year process. You will find your eventual campaign will be much more successful, more rewarding and more fun for you, your staff and volunteers, and your donors.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.