I am constantly amazed that the very best of our nonprofit leaders exhibit such excellent visual acuity, both in terms of immediate results and fulfillment of their organizations’ long-term mission. By definition, capital campaigns focus on the immediate: marshaling an entire organization’s resources to raise a specific dollar goal, coordinating an intensified effort to raise more money than ever before, establishing a systematic series of focused campaign activities following intensive preparation and planning, and advancing specific programs and/or a major capital project.
However, a campaign also provides an organization with key benefits that are part of the longer view and a more significant “big picture” strategy:
- A campaign allows an organization to achieve broader public awareness, visibility and supportive constituents into the future.
- A campaign expands an organization’s work, perhaps as a local catalyst or even a trailblazer in the international community.
- The campaign effort unites constituents in a common cause, strengthens the morale of staff and volunteers, and sets the stage for the organization’s current and future leadership.
- Preparation for a campaign invigorates the organization to set priorities and crystallize them into fundraising needs.
- The deadlines of a campaign move more people into action.
As you contemplate a new capital campaign, give this message to your Board and team: The best campaigns aim to build the long-term financial structure necessary for organizations to achieve a new level of influence, greatly increased engagement with and service to the community, and financial strength.