Want Some Luck For Your Capital Campaign? You Can Make it Happen
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “Some people have all the luck.” And if you’re halfway reasonable, you wish you were one of those luck-struck folks—particularly if you’re working on a capital campaign.
Most of the success of a capital campaign stems from the steady work of building strong relationships with donors and conducting a well-designed campaign.
But luck plays a powerful role in campaigns now and again. A donor will surface out of nowhere and make a big gift to the campaign. Or someone you didn’t even know by name who has given $25 year after year, after year, after year will close out the campaign with a gift you never imagined.
These amazing gifts look like they come out of nowhere—and in a way, they do. But I believe you can do something amazing that will put you in their paths.
Newsflash: Generating Good Fortune for Your Campaign is... Easy!
It’s quite simple, really…
Make a practice of getting out of your office and talking to people. Well, it’s not quite that simple, but close. You’ve got to talk to people about themselves—not about you or even your organization. Here’s why:
- The more you ask people about themselves, the more they will enjoy the conversation and, paradoxically, the smarter and nicer they’ll think you are.
- The more people you talk to, the greater the chances are that one of them will be able to lead you to something special.
- The more you learn about people, the more opportunities you’ll see for yourself, your organization and your campaign.
Getting out of your office will get your brain out of the weeds.
The Hand of Fate
Now, you may not believe me, but as I was sitting here writing this post, the phone rang. It was my friend and former client, Adrianna. We had worked together on a very successful campaign eight years ago.
“Andrea,” she said, “you’re not going to believe this, but I just got a call telling me that a donor I’ve never worked with before has decided to give us a million dollars.”
“Adrianna,” I said, “how in heaven’s name did you make that happen?”
I know that Adrianna is one of those she-has-all-the-luck kind of people. But her response made me laugh out loud.
“Well,” she said, “I was playing golf with a friend the other day who works for a big company in town…” You don’t need to know the whole story, but the fact that Adrianna was out talking to people and finding out about them and sharing her stories led to a brand new million-dollar gift.
Yes, Adrianna spends lots of time out of the office talking to people. Her generous spirit and genuine interest in other people makes most everyone happy to talk to her.
She shows up at their offices.
She has lunch with them.
She sits at her local bar watching March Madness basketball with them.
She even plays golf with them.
How to Generate Good Fortune when Fundraising for Your Campaign
Do you want to be lucky like Adrianna?
Then start getting out from behind your desk more often. Take the time to ask people about themselves and their goals and dreams. See if you can find ways to help them achieve their dreams when those dreams happen to overlap with your goals.
Not only will your luck change, but you’ll have more fun.
Life will be more exciting and the energy you radiate will create a magnetic glow that makes people happy to be in your world.
Now THAT’s real fundraising.
It’ll work for your campaign, it’ll work for major gifts and it’ll work for your year-in, year-out fundraising, too.
It’ll make you one of those people who have all the luck.
Andrea Kihlstedt is an innovative leader and expert in capital campaign fundraising. She wrote "Capital Campaigns: Strategies That Work (4th ed)," often referred to as the “bible” of capital campaign fundraising. She founded Capital Campaign Masters and co-founded Capital Campaign Toolkit, an online capital campaign resource and platform.