What I Did Before Writing This Article

Drinking coffee imageThis morning, I made two phone calls, spent forty-five minutes on email, changed the laundry (I do work at home), and drank 1½ cups of coffee.  Why am I telling you this?  And more importantly, why do you care?

Because one of the biggest complaints Mersky, Jaffe & Associates hears from clients, is that they want or need their capital campaign to move faster.  And delays and procrastination among volunteer leadership is one of the leading factors.

We all have our vices. But in fundraising, procrastination can alter essential elements.

Consider what a year delay could change:

  • Are there new strengths, weaknesses, threats or opportunities?
  • Has the economy improved or worsened?
  • Will you need to update project costs?   Has there been additional wear and tear on the facility?  Are the architect’s estimates still accurate?  Keep in mind that these estimates rarely go down with time.
  • Are the same architects and contractors available for your new time frame?
  • Is the confidence in the organization increasing with each year or is there a growing fear that the project will never move forward (and what will happen to the money that has already been donated if that is the case)?
  • Do any of your major donors have different circumstances than when you first thought of asking them?  Deaths, illnesses, moves, shifting focus, petty arguments can all be factors in whether or not they still have the potential or inclination to give.

Simply put, if you put the project on hold because you need more time to raise the money, you will have to raise even more.

And, your giving pool is not likely to improve dramatically in that time.

So what can you do?  Set strict timetables.  Don’t set up one meeting, set up a series.  Encourage additional participation throughout the process.  Share the progress to encourage motivation.  And, of course, consider hiring a professional fundraising team like Mersky, Jaffe & Associates.  We increase success rates, improve productivity and eliminate additional costs that you will incur down the line?