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When it comes to capital campaigns, axioms abound. Quiet phase ... publicly announce at 50% of goal ... sequential solicitation ...
All of these are standard best practices, yes, but there are exceptions to every rule.
Currently, I'm working with an organization thrust into a capital campaign after they were informed the building they rent space in is going to be torn down. They learned that this spring and need to be out by the end of the year. This is a grassroots organization around for half a century (seriously) but without a development department. (Remember: executive directors do ALL the things.)
This isn't a matter of allowing an organization to die. This is a matter of vital services to a vulnerable population. So when I agreed to take this on, I said failure is not an option. And we are doing things just a bit differently.
I did insist we get the donor database, as well as volunteers, screened. (Thank you Donor Search!) I put together things like a campaign plan, gift acceptance policy, confidentiality policy, board expectations, pledge forms, and vetted the highest rated from the screenings. Did some ask trainings, trained the board ... all of these are business as always.
EXCEPT some key differences.
We are going somewhat public this week at 30% of goal. Why? Necessity. We are using the bully pulpit of a major fundraising event to spread the word and leverage a very necessary sense of urgency to current supporters. We are handing out pledge forms to each attendee and have created a flier to share next steps.
A volunteer campaign committee chair has stepped up who is known in the community and respected. I'm getting him up to speed by the end of this week. Then we will tackle the high net worth solicitations.
We are planning a media blitz in August with an announcement of what has been raised to date to make it really public.
And we are focusing on some major foundations who want to keep the vital services this organization provides available and flourishing.
There are a lot of growing pains going on, but in the end, this fine nonprofit will be stronger and more self-sufficient. To quote George Zimmer, "I guarantee it."
This entry is cross-posted thanks to Donor Search.