7 Fundamental Principles of Major Capital Campaigns
Through the implementation and analysis of hundreds of capital fundraising campaigns, my company has identified several fundamental principles that are keys for success. We believe adherence to the seven enunciated principles below will be critical to producing optimal campaign results.
1. Strong leadership is vital
Perhaps the greatest determinant to success in any campaign is the quality of its leadership. It’s essential that the area’s top business and community leaders play active roles in the campaign and make exemplary financial commitments early in the campaign process. Leadership by example is the most effective kind. The influence of strong leaders and the example of pacesetting lead pledges can then be leveraged throughout the prospect base. When people of stature make strong commitments and provide enthusiastic leadership, others follow.
2. Leadership recruitment must be done strategically
Leadership recruitment should be done in person by the campaign director, accompanied by appropriate volunteers. Since making an exemplary pledge should be a prerequisite for serving in a campaign leadership position, you should solicit and recruit the leader simultaneously. Therefore, you shouldn’t formally recruit leaders until after you’ve developed appropriate presentation and solicitation materials, and completed prospect evaluations to determine appropriate ask amounts. Recruitment should be done in a strategic order with great care to place the right people in the right positions at the right investment levels.
3. In-person solicitation is most effective
Visit prospects in person, present them a strong, personalized rationale for support, and ask them to consider substantial commitments. The campaign director should attend every solicitation meeting unless strategic considerations dictate otherwise. Volunteer leaders should accompany the campaign director on major solicitations, as determined by consensus during campaign leadership team meetings. Telephone, mail or electronic solicitations should only be utilized at the end of the campaign, if necessary, to broaden the base and invite the rest of the community to participate.
As a founding principal of Convergent Nonprofit Solutions, Mark focuses on empowering nonprofits to accomplish more for the communities and constituencies they serve by dramatically increasing their financial resources. He is a leading national expert in funding nonprofit organizations and community initiatives through large fundraising campaigns.
Mark has managed and consulted on fundraising campaigns for a broad array of nonprofits, including schools, community colleges, museums, hospitals, women’s and children’s services, workforce development organizations, associations, arts and culture organizations, Boy Scouts councils, historic theaters, human service organizations, community foundations, YMCAs, animal shelters, hospices, social service nonprofits, community centers, chambers of commerce, and economic development corporations.