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Is Your Organization Ready for a Capital Campaign?

By Glenn Holliman

Yes, you are ready for a campaign if:

  • The organization has identified specific and urgent needs.
  • The organization has developed and written a compelling case explaining the
  • campaign goals.
  • The Board of Directors understands and embraces the long-term commitment of time and resources required for a successful campaign and recognizes that fund raising is not only their responsibility, but a top priority.
  • Board members and key volunteers have existing peer relationships with philanthropic leaders and major donors.
  • The organization communicates often (more than five times a year) with its donors, constituents and prospects using newsletters and other public relations tools.
  • The project budget is as accurate as it possibly can be at this point in the planning process.
  • Articulate, enthusiastic individuals are available to lead and to share the vision.
  • The staff understands and supports the need for a campaign.
  • All other funding opportunities have been examined before turning to the community at large for support.

With more preparation, you could be ready if:

  • The organization is in the process of identifying specific and urgent needs.
  • The organization is developing a compelling case.
  • The Board of Directors is willing to learn more about the personal commitment and financial investment required as well as how to solicit gifts from their peers.
  • Board members and key volunteers have access to philanthropic leaders, major donors and major gift prospects.
  • The organization communicates occasionally (two to four times per year) with its donor base by newsletters, group meetings, occasional visits and through media outlets.
  • The project budget is an estimate provided by professionals.
  • Articulate, enthusiastic individuals are available on a limited basis.
  • The staff is being educated about the need for a campaign.
  • Other funding opportunities are being explored.

Consider delaying your capital campaign if:

  • The organization must still come to consensus on priority needs.
  • The organization has not developed a compelling case.
  • The Board of Directors has a limited ability to make commitments, provide leadership or is still working to overcome its discomfort with solicitation and/or making financial donations.
  • There are few or no relationships with philanthropic and community leaders.
  • The organization does not have a public relations plan and communicates infrequently with its constituency.
  • The project requires more accurate financial projections before sharing a budget.
  • No one is available to lead, make decisions or share the vision with the community.
  • The staff is not aware that a campaign is being considered.
  • Sources of financial support are not aware of the organization's needs.
Source: Glenn Holliman is Vice President of Giving Services at Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF). ECF's mission is to strengthen the leadership and financial capabilities of Episcopal congregations, dioceses and related organizations to pursue their mission and ministry. Programs and services include capital campaign, planned giving, annual stewardship, and endowment management services. For additional guidance or information, please contact ECF, 815 Second Ave., New York, NY, 10017 Tel: (800) 697-2858; Email: giving@EpiscopalFoundation.org.

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