Linda S. Garrison, CFRE is a fundraising pro, consultant, speaker, and writer.
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The New Normal
A capital campaign during a global pandemic? What?!
Actually, yes, it can be done and it can succeed. How can an organization conduct a feasibility study? Pivot like many have and consider engaging a consultant who is willing to do interviews via Skype, Zoom or Meet. A good adjunct to virtual interviews is a survey sent to your Board and other insiders. You'll find people are willing to talk, willing to give advice and to be heard.
One of my clients, in the quiet phase of a $6.5M campaign, used the pause between March and late June to get behind-the scenes work done, including a case for support and other donor-facing materials. Their website has been completely updated, including a password-protected campaign page. (Password protection will be eliminated during the public phase of the campaign.) We secured 100% Board giving and a lead gift, updated policies began segmentation based on wealth screening results and prioritized prospects. Now that things are opening up a bit more, the executive director has been taking prospects to the site where the building will be located and walking the property, which is adjacent to an open space reserve in the beautiful Colorado mountains. Of course, masks are worn and social distancing is followed. Now, we are planning an on-site gathering of less than 25 at the location for campaign insiders. And, we are currently at nearly 40% of goal.
What we've found is people are hungry to be engaged, especially with something that will be beneficial to the community. People are eager to be outside and desperate for some social contact, even if at a distance. And, your donors particularly are concerned about the organizations they support. So, find out how they are, and then tell them what you need, whether it's for general operating or for a campaign. Try your hand at a socially-distanced small event, or for those who are at higher risk of COVID-19, do virtual events.
It's the new normal.
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