Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Who Does What In A Capital Campaign

In, The Basics About Grant Writing Specifically for A Capital Campaign, my previous instructional post, I explain from a high arching point of view what is specific to raising grants for capital campaigns.  In this post I am going to begin to talk more specifically about this grant raising process.  The people involved in a capital campaign must, through a well researched and planned capital campaign, be the key and are the key to its success.

I began this series of blog posts discussing how capital campaigns work, what they are, and how a nonprofit fundraises during one with the posts, How A Capital Campaign Is Different From Most Other Fundraising Methods, and next, How A Capital Campaign Works, and then as mentioned, above, The Basics About Grant Writing Specifically For A Capital Campaign.  These posts include the basics and primer for this post.

Everyone who is involved in the work of a capital campaign (perhaps except for the capital campaign committee members) will have already existing jobs and tasks that they do for the nonprofit.  Capital campaigns always demand additional work be added to every one's work load and the leaders must acknowledge this, prior to planning a capital campaign, and build in the campaign plan preparations for this 'double' work load (perhaps by bringing additional (perhaps temporary) volunteers, interns, or even staff to assist with either the new additional work for the capital campaign or to help be certain the usual work is getting done).

The various committee members, other volunteers who will work on the capital campaign, executive director, board members, staff, and if pertinent, any consultant(s) must do a single, clearly defined job, that lists anticipated outcomes for each, a timeline that includes benchmarks noting when each individual's anticipated outcomes or goals are to be achieved by, and everyone must know what each person who is working on the capital campaign is responsible for and their contact information.  This includes the leaders involved in the capital campaign, as well.

As is always the case when applying for grants, leaders will be the 'front line' of most if not all major donor fundraising, including raising grants for this capital campaign.  As stated in a previous capital campaign post, leaders must know what work the nonprofit is doing in the community, and specifically, what need that work is meeting.  Board members, the executive director, and any other organizational leaders must be regularly and often getting out in the community and conversing with pre-determined and researched potential donors, including (as is appropriate) grant donors, such as board members of foundations that the nonprofit is going to apply to.  As leaders raise these larger increment donations, they will become not just capital for the fund but also they will be used as leverage. 

Large increment donations that the organization acquires should be (as cleared with each donor) used as an example for all other potential donors that the organization is going to approach.  In other words, in the budget portion of a grant proposal, it is wise to list under "Income" all promised donations already acquired (confirmed) thus far.  Also, the larger donations already raised can be used as leverage in face to face major donor meetings.  The board member or executive director meeting with potential major donors must be sure to share with these individuals what other funds have already been raised thus far, too.  Sharing what large gifts have already been received demonstrates to donors who are considering giving (whether a grant donor or individual donor) that there is community buy-in to this capital campaign and its goal; and the amount raise thus far can also indicate to those considering giving how much the community supports the nonprofit and its campaign by virtue of the amount raised thus far (and if pre-authorized, also by who has given or pledged donations, already). 

As is also always the case in fundraising, the leadership who will be the most successful at fundraising (for any campaign, including a capital campaign) are those people who believe so much in the need the community has for the organization's work, and the beneficiary(ies) of the organization that they impart a personal passion for the nonprofit's successes and achievements upon the potential donors that they meet.  Also, the leader who gives a larger amount gift has an easier time asking others to do so, too, as they've in effect 'put their money where their own mouth is'.  It's easier, too, to ask others to give if you, yourself, have already given. 

Leaders who already have well established relationships with leaders of foundations or other types of grant donors (i.e. municipalities) will have an easier time getting face time with those leaders to express why they should give to your organization's capital campaign. 

As is true of all fundraisers, leaders will need time to be built into the campaign plan and its timeline.  This means all leaders involved in the capital campaign must have their own time to not just give to the organization but a personal commitment that demonstrates that they will attend all organizational meetings, conduct all the tasks expected of them, and will follow through, as necessary.  Too, having time means that the nonprofit must allow each leader a realistic amount of time to: train or learn how to raise large increment donations, practice doing so, set appointments, begin meeting with pre-identified and pre-researched large donors (including, as planned, ans as is allowed, grant donors).  No one who raises funds simply walks out the door, after beginning a new campaign, and raises $1 million. 

Finally, when discussing key roles in raising larger increment donations during a capital campaign, the executive director also must have specific tasks (in addition to all usual organizational operations work that they do when there is no capital campaign going on) assigned to them.  Executive directors, like board members, are powerful fundraisers, as well.  They must have the time to give to a capital campaign (which may require that the organization hire an interim 'co-executive director' during the capital campaign, so the organization and its office continues to run smoothly).  It must be clear what the executive director should be spending their time doing to achieve the goals of their work for the capital campaign.  

Volunteers and staff (and if pertinent, consultants) who are not leaders have their own important respective roles to play, too, in the success and achievements of a capital campaign.

If a nonprofit hires a capital campaign consultant, the consultant typically does one (or all) of several potential jobs.  Consultants most usually train all leaders (the board and executive director) in all or any one of the specific tasks that leaders must do for a successful campaign.  They may also be instrumental in recruiting new board members with: powerful connections, prior successes working in other capital campaigns elsewhere, or with many philanthropic friends. Consultants can also assist the organization with its feasibility study, planning the campaign, and strategizing for a compelling and successful capital campaign.  If your organization is shopping for capital campaign consultants, ask colleagues working for or volunteering with other nonprofits who you know have gone through a successful capital campaign, and ask who they worked with.  Or, you can (for organizations located anywhere in the United States) log onto the Association of Fundraising Professionals and look over their consultants list (who are only members of this well regarded and reputable professional affiliation).  As is always the case when hiring anyone for any fundraising work - be sure to interview several strong candidates, ask for several references for each and follow through and talk with each reference about each candidate, and ask for credentials, examples of recent success, etc.

Volunteers, for the capital campaign, might assist in the usual day to day work, do administrative work, assist with programs, or assist the staff and leaders who are working on the capital campaign. 

The staff, as already stated will inevitably have an additional (perhaps burdensome) work load and this simply must be planned for, alleviated to some degree, and dealt with such that everyone is still accomplishing everything that they should, the usual day to day work is not suffering, and achievements in all areas are being made.  The final three needs listed in the previous sentence, if occurring after a capital campaign is implemented, will indicate (if they occur) that the plan in place for the capital campaign's staffing and double work load is effective.  The best litmus, though, are the employees themselves.  If they do not feel they are getting enough support or not being heard by the leaders, problems will arise in operations and this can be expensive in many ways.  So, it is best to plan for and proactively deal with staffing needs and issues, before a campaign gets underway. 

Staff, for the capital campaign, will do various specific tasks related to the jobs that they were hired for.  The bookkeeper will be a part of the budgeting and planning for the campaign.  The volunteer coordinator will be a major part of planning for, recruiting for, and placing volunteers in a strategic, satisfying, and effective manner for everyone's benefit. Programs people will still be conducting their usual work (like everyone else) but may also be asked to speak about the 'front line' work the organization is doing to potential donors, or may be instrumental in helping word marketing materials or the programs description in grant proposals and other fundraising materials.  Administration will inevitably be impacted in their workload filing, support, answering and directing phone calls, etc. The fundraising staff, though, will most likely be the most impacted staff at the organization.  Capital campaigns will require that the fundraisers do their usual work, over the year(s) that the campaign runs, in tandem with all new, additional, capital campaign-specific fundraising work.  The fundraising staff will be a part of perhaps the capital campaign committee, but most definitely will be including in planning and implementing the capital campaign.  They will support those going and doing face to face meetings with major donors, for instance, by helping to identify ideal potential donors for the leadership to meet with, conducting research on those donors to inform and enable the leaders prior to their meetings with these key donors, and more.  The fundraising staff will also help plan and conduct each fundraising method to be used over the course of the capital campaign (i.e. perhaps: major donors campaign, appeals, grant writing, pledge drive, etc.).  They will also help plan, implement, and run any special events that might be a part of the capital campaign.

In my next instructive post, I will discuss the specifics about raising grants for a capital campaign.

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