Essentials for Fundraising Campaign Success
If conducted properly, consultants learn valuable insight—insight that was gained by a promise of confidentiality. As campaign counsel, the consultants can guide you to success without violating this vital pledge.
In addition, the consultants not only can and should judge organizational readiness (leadership, staffing, systems, etc.), but they also have experienced the dynamic of working with the organization and its key staff—those who will be relied upon during the campaign. This all comes together in an assessment of how much help and what kind of help (from strategic to hands on) the client will need to be successful. In so many ways, a successful study is a “test” for the eventual campaign.
A reminder: We firmly believe success means not only hitting the campaign goal but hitting it in a reasonable period of time. Campaigns that are not strategic and drag on forever do not build confidence.
After working for a large national firm, I returned to a chief development officer role at a major organization. When it came time for campaigns, I retained counsel.
Some of the more veteran nonprofit leaders reading this will recall the American Express advertisement: “Don’t leave home without it.”
Our advice: “Don’t embark on a major campaign without counsel.”
The average nonprofit leader may be engaged in a few campaigns over their career. Some maybe just one or two. Experienced counsel:
- Will have been running campaigns for decades.
- Will not only have the experience, but the strategic insight (most vital).
- Can craft the right plan.
- Can conduct the essential research.
- Can be your accountability partner and confidence builder.
- Can share things with volunteer leaders that you might not feel comfortable sharing.
Successful organizations invest in the right advice in the right areas.
One leadership practice is to learn from those more successful—and learn from their mistakes. In our nonprofit arena, typically higher education and health care have the strongest fundraising programs. It is in these arenas we find it most rare if an organization does not take the right steps, including retaining counsel, for a major campaign.
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.