A New Year – A New Capital Campaign Strategy

A New Capital Campaign StrategySometimes, after the quiet phase is over and the initial excitement of a new campaign has passed, organizations realize their campaign is no longer moving forward.  It happens slowly, and then, all of a sudden you realize there has not been a new gift in more than a month, fewer people are showing up at each meeting and no one can articulate how and when this campaign will end – a prospect that is scary to everyone involved.

The campaign has stalled.

That’s when we get the call.  A consultant can help reinvigorate this campaign!

And while we bring new excitement and expertise to help finish the project, the volunteers and staff in charge of the campaign have work to do if they truly want success.  If you are pondering a new campaign strategy for this year, here are a few tips to consider.

    1. Don’t expect a whole new team of volunteers to be excited to take over a problem campaign.  No one wants to jump on a sinking ship.  If there is a want/need to transfer leadership roles – get the campaign moving again with a clear path and defined pace for planning, research, donor meetings, and acknowledgements.  Then, use similar language to that which you would use with donors, “would you consider joining me in completing this campaign.”  Instill confidence in the project and it will be a potentially appealing endeavor for new blood.
    2. Potential donors are wondering why they never heard from you and assume that you don’t need their money. – what else could explain the fact that they never heard from you.  The quiet phase was successful and you had a big announcement of the forward-thinking plans for your organization.  Everyone was excited and looking forward to the new building/new educational opportunities/new financial security.  But, things happen and your committee only got through half the potential donor list.  That means that there are probably people who would have given $2000 a year for five years (which translates into a five figure gift) who have to be re-convinced that they are loved, wanted, needed, and essential to the campaign.  And if you reengage these people, you better make sure your follow through is a lot better this time.  Otherwise your campaign to secure the future will be creating a donor deficit for years to come.
    3. The level of faith in the leadership will affect every aspect of the campaign.  Often, it is obvious why people believe in a team.  But do you see the signs for what will cause staff, volunteers and donors to lose confidence?  Consider that a stagnant campaign, lack of communication and missing enthusiasm and excitement will cause staff to shift focus to other pressing needs, volunteers to use their time on other projects and donors to question whether they trust this organization with their money.  Repairing images is essential in reigniting a campaign.
    4. Updated plans show the current situation and not just the past potential.  If there has been a problem with the campaign – volunteers and donors are going to want to see a new plan they can get behind.  The past few years have meant dramatic changes in our financial security as a country – how is that altering your campaign.  Have the costs gone up or down?  Has the timetable changed?  Will there be additional considerations that you didn’t know to think about when you started planning?  Even if all of the answers are the same, potential donors want to know that you have been thoughtful in your revised planning and fully understand the current situation in the current economy.

If you have found yourself in this position, let us know if we can help you re-strategize or restart your campaign in the next year.