Campaigns as Agents of Change
Why do organizations mount major gift or capital campaigns? Hopefully the answer is to reach strategic objectives that expand their mission, that add new and improved programs or services, or that uniquely address significant needs of those they serve. In other words, campaigns are about change—sometimes incremental, sometimes transformative.
But how often do those charged with designing and implementing a major campaign take into account the necessary organizational and individual changes that are inherent in the campaign’s process and objectives? And does the campaign plan incorporate the necessary project management techniques to ensure that the desired campaign objectives are successfully reached on time and on budget?
Campaigns quite often stall or fail to achieve their objectives for reasons that have little to do with raising money and more about the internal organizational issues or individual behavioral issues that get in the way. If you are currently planning a campaign or considering starting one, here are some key questions to ask:
- Why are you mounting a major gifts campaign?
- Are the drivers of the campaign internal, external or both?
- What part(s) of the organization will be directly impacted by the campaign?
- How will the organization be different when the campaign is done?
- Is the campaign raising funds for a single purpose or multiple objectives?
- Is there a specific time frame that is determining the completion of this campaign?
- Are there specific budgetary constraints that determine how and when the campaign is conducted?
- Are there specific ROI expectations/measures that are based on the outcome of the campaign?
- What internal changes will be needed to implement and operationalize the campaign?
- Who, when, how and at what cost will changes be made?
- Have these changes been incorporated into the campaign plan and timeline?
- Do the individuals involved in the campaign have the awareness, desire, knowledge and ability to make the necessary changes in their attitudes and behaviors to achieve the organization’s objectives?
The level of organizational complexity and the scope of the campaign significantly influence the degree to which the answers to these questions will impact the fundraising process. But nearly every organization faces these issues at some level and would benefit from incorporating elements of change and project management into their campaign plans. By doing so will enhance the potential for successfully achieving the campaign objectives on time and on budget. And who doesn’t want to do that?