Begin to Answer the Tough Questions to Secure Major Campaign Support
We have been discussing benchmarks that need to be firmed up before an organizationcan look at a successful major campaign.
It is important to have a case for support. We are not referring to a finished piece for use in a study and much less a campaign — let's call that a case statement. Instead, we are referring to a concept paper outlining the rationale and justification for the project.
Often, an organization will have projects that it wasn't able to accomplish, but it is vague on the "why" and the outcomes. If initiatives come or flow from a strategic planning process, then much of this rationale is in place.
However, as a concept for a major campaign germinates and moves to being shared in the feasibility and planning process, there are typically more questions to be answered. This is where an organization must jump into the shoes of potential donors and campaign leaders, and ask — and answer — what often are tough questions.
These questions might include:
- What is the budget (estimates are fine)?
- What impact does the project have on the operating budget?
- How will the project/program be sustained?
- Who on the staff will lead the project?
- What are the measurable outcomes?
- Why is the organization uniquely qualified to do this?
- What is the timeline?
- Can this be accomplished in phases?
- How does this fall within the organization's mission and strategic priorities?
- What are some illustrations of how lives will be changed?
- How is your organization uniquely capable of accomplishing the plans?
Eventually you will want to get validation of your plans through the insight of a feasibility and planning study. But when prospective major supporters and leaders are interviewed in a confidential setting, they will ask you questions that they would ask as donors before making a major gift. You will want to fine-tune your concepts with feedback from key leaders, but you need to show them at base level of discernment.
A designed case statement that may be shared in a study and used in an eventual campaign will follow. But before you are prepared to take those steps, be sure that your internal case for support is vetted. Having an exciting vision, and the rationale and facts, will give donors confidence to eventually invest.
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.