Get in Gear with Campaign Prep

2015 Capital Campaign Workshop Invite v9 FINAL

by Kristin Short, Senior Consultant – HUB Philanthropic Solutions

Often times, organizations wait too long to consider and prepare for a Campaign.  The Campaign is often reactive not proactive.  For the most successful Campaigns, organizations should start laying the groundwork 24 to 36 months in advance.

Getting ready for a Campaign can be divided into three areas.  First and foremost, your leadership is key to your success.  Do you have 100 percent of the Board committed?  Through Board investments, you will need to raise 25 to 35 percent of your overall campaign goal.  Your second area of focus is the Case for Support.  Your case for support must show a real need and must be compelling, urgent, and relevant.  Your third area of focus is donor engagement.  Do donors feel compelled? Do your donors feel connected? Do your donors feel acknowledged?

So you are considering a Campaign — now what?  The Indiana University Lilly Family Center on Philanthropy created a Campaign Readiness Assessment with the following 20 Critical Success Factors.

  1.  The organization’s leader has been on the staff for a minimum of 24 months and is clearly respected by peers, Board members, and donors.
  2. The Board is up to the full complement of membership as allowed in the by-laws.
  3. The organization is on solid financial footing with prospective major donors.
  4. The organization has a minimum of 3-5 months of reserves built into financial portfolio.
  5. The organization’s existence is solid, viable, and clearly articulated to prospective donors.
  6. There is wholehearted agreement between staff and the Board regarding the worthiness of the project – and both are willing to work together to bring the project to fruition.
  7. The project meets a valid need.
  8. The case for the project has emotional and dramatic appeal and the need is urgent, relevant, and compelling.
  9. The organization has successfully met the annual report objective in the past two years and has a strong degree of support from a large number of constituents.
  10. The organization has had stable, consistent and strong leadership in Development.
  11. In the past two years, the organization has operated within a balanced budget.
  12. The organization has prepared a carefully developed pro forma budget and has projected that, when the project is completed, it will generate sufficient income to help make it self-supporting – or – there will be funds from other sources to offset expenses.
  13. The organization’s database is managed to its best ability, with clear, concise and accurate information.
  14. The Board is able to give individually and via corporations (if a personal or family-owned company) 30-35% of the overall campaign goal.
  15. The organization is able to identify the 20 major gifts that will produce 40 percent of the campaign goal.
  16. The organization is able to identify and list 300 sources that are most likely to provide the largest gifts for the project and the Board is able and willing to make introductions and serve as advocates for the project.
  17. During the past 12 months, the organization has maintained a written plan to actively cultivate the top 200 sources – and significant contact has been made with each at least twice during this time.
  18. On the Board, there is one person of sufficient strength, stature, influence and affluence who would be willing to chair the campaign.
  19. The organization is able to identify someone of sufficient strength, stature, influence and affluence who would be willing to accept the Honorary Chair or Co-Chair role for the campaign.
  20. The organization will be able to recruit sufficient volunteers to mount a successful campaign effort.

During a Campaign, a spotlight will shine on your organization.  You will uncover all things good and all things not so good.  You will have the opportunity to fix your weaknesses and make changes for the better.  In the end, after a Campaign effort, your organization will be stronger and more prepared to meet the needs of those you serve.

This blog is a summary of the Getting in Gear: Capital Campaigns & Major Gift Initiatives Workshop, presented by  HUB Philanthropic Solutions at Hub in Chicago on June 4, 2015.

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