Pointing the Way
Charting your constituents’ understanding of the mission is the first step in mapping the “case landscape.” As part of the feasibility study, you should also seek feedback on constituent perceptions of your strengths and challenges, your reputation, and the relationship between the proposed campaign and the organization’s ability to fulfill its mission. Based on the responses to these questions, you should be able to find sound recommendations for how to turn these findings into a strong and well-communicated case for support.
Establish strong volunteer leadership
Volunteer leadership is crucial to a successful campaign, and a feasibility study can do much more than tell you who might be the best chair for the campaign. It’s an excellent opportunity to assess the current volunteer structure and membership, and to recruit new volunteers. The study should answer:
- Who are likely candidates for campaign leadership roles?
- How can we better engage volunteers in the work of our institution?
- What can we do to support the board in supporting the organization?
- What volunteer committees will we need during the campaign, and what should their activities be?
One of the most telling questions we ask constituents is whether they would consider a volunteer role during the campaign. In the minds of many, time is the most valuable resource, and their willingness to commit time says as much about “buy-in” as their willingness to make a monetary contribution.
In terms of volunteer leadership, it’s important to remain flexible and to involve key constituents in ways that work for them. For example, a board member of an independent school had to resign because of the demands of his business. The school thought it had lost a valuable resource. When we asked whether he might be willing to be involved in the campaign in some other way, he answered, “This campaign is important to the education of young people in our community. I definitely want to be involved.”