Written By: Michele
This month, the Donor By Design Team is discussing campaign readiness: the things that (should) happen before you begin a major fundraising campaign. Today, Michele Goodrich illustrates the benefits of getting a wide team of people involved in the capital planning process.
For many nonprofit professionals, a capital campaign is a rare and career-building experience. The knowledge gained helps those involved grow their skills in philanthropy, strategic thinking, relationship-building, and more.
It’s also important to note that it is far from a solo endeavor.
Nonprofit leaders are wise to engage board members, community leaders and potential donors in the development of a capital project long before launching a fundraising campaign. Their involvement can provide valuable input and connections, as well as build their interest and enthusiasm for the project. This early support and advice will ensure the project addresses the needs in the community and that the organization has laid the foundation for financial support to the campaign.
During our feasibility process we remind our clients that we are sharing and not selling. Leaders love to solve problems, so we encourage our clients to come to the interviews with a vision and proposed idea, but nothing set it stone. At this point we are asking for advice, not money. This often encourages leaders to share what they think is needed in the community, drawing them closer to the project. It also becomes evident what is important to them and where their passions lie, a critical piece of information for future, targeted cultivation.
At the same time, it is important to go beyond the organization’s senior leadership team and financial development department to engage a deeper pool of staff in the process. Their buy-in and support of the proposed capital project and subsequent campaign can be valuable in a number of ways including:
- Providing the unique perspective of those who deliver the organization’s services and programs
- Gathering mission-impact stories and testimonials
- Identifying potential collaborative partners
- Uncovering sources of funds and potential donors
- Advocating for the project with community decision-makers
- Organizing opportunities for prospects to visit programs and meet individuals who benefit from your services
- Mobilizing those you serve to express their gratitude to donors
Involving staff in the capital development and fundraising processes can result in the added benefit of providing them with valuable learning opportunities that can broaden their skills and help them advance their careers in the nonprofit sector.
And of course it’s always nice to have a trusted consultant by your side to support you every step of the way!