Every leader enters a capital campaign with trepidation. Can I help to bring form to a campaign organization? Am I truly able to commit the time necessary? Are my personal networks expansive enough? Will my peers respond? Do I have an overarching passion for the cause? Some of these concerns are practical, others are very personal.
Whether you are considering a capital campaign or are already in one, you can take advantage of momentum, excitement and growth to advance the quality of the governance, effectiveness, program development and fundraising capability of your organization. Making a plan at the beginning of the process will help you to maximize the outcomes from your fundraising efforts.
Whoever said, “God is in the details,” must have spent some time as a fundraiser. It never ceases to amaze me how minutely this business is analyzed. Every conceivable aspect of how to raise money has been placed in the balance and weighed against the alternatives. This is most evident in the manner in which solicitation are performed. One of the first rules of fundraising is that people give to people. Therefore, deciding who should go on a solicitation can be one of the most critical choices an organization makes.
The pre-season is over. All the preparation and planning—from the off-season, the draft, and training camp—must now be channeled into action. This is when you know how well your team will perform, how effective you have been in putting the best team on the field. The Campaign has started.
In a well-organized capital campaign it is the campaign executive committee ("CEC") that understands and assumes the responsibility for the success of the campaign. Since the campaign is typically a multi-million dollar project, it is very serious business and the membership of the CEC are the leaders who are ultimately responsible for the success of the campaign. While the members of the committee are often serious business professionals in their own right, as fundraising counsel, we cannot assume that they understand their role on the CEC. It is our job to define what it means to be a member of the CEC, and, to communicate to each of these leaders what is expected of them.