October 27, 2020

Five Ways to get Campaign Ready

Your strategic plan presents a bold vision and calls for a campaign to make it happen. A feasibility study is the logical next step. But what happens if leadership gets cold feet?

If your leadership pressed ‘pause’ on conducting a feasibility study, does that mean your organization should wait to prepare for a campaign? Absolutely not!

Here are five ways to get campaign ready.

If your board has opted to delay a formal feasibility study, here are five things your nonprofit can do to make progress on a future campaign today.

1. Review your institutional strategic plan.

Your organization’s mission, vision, values, and long-term goals may be well-established, but how do they hold up in today’s environment? Revisit this important document and ensure that it still accurately reflects the goals of a potential campaign.

2. Draft a case statement and refine it further for a campaign audience.

With agreement on a strategic plan from your board and staff, a case statement that articulates the impact of your plan will help to define the elements of that plan that require philanthropy. It also ensures that there’s full agreement among leadership on the organization’s funding priorities.

Once a compelling case statement has been drafted, it can be refined and used for your campaign prospectus—a version of this document that will appeal to potential prospects. Getting this document right takes time and work, but it’s worth it—it will be instrumental in conveying your need to potential donors and, ultimately, ensuring campaign success.

3. Evaluate your organization’s prospect pool.

Do you have enough prospects who can give at the levels you need to meet your future campaign goal? With a preliminary goal in mind, you can create a simple gift table to determine the size and number of gifts necessary to reach the goal. Philanthropic screening tools, such as TW&B partner DonorSearch, can help to evaluate a prospect list quickly and cost-effectively. Based on how many—or how few—prospects your organization can identify at different gift levels, you may need to adjust your fundraising goal or take the time to cultivate more prospective donors to your campaign.

4. Test your case and dollar goal within your community.

Chances are your top prospects are also your organization’s closest friends. Even during uncertain times, they will likely be willing to discuss your vision and what it will take to achieve it. Engaging a likely donor in this conversation is a great cultivation opportunity. You may be surprised to learn your top prospects are more ready to give than you think!

5. Identify staffing needs and volunteer leadership (and start building up those relationships).

Your potential campaign will require leadership—both staff and volunteers. Establish a timeline and determine the steps to secure the resources your organization will require to have a successful campaign. This may mean requesting a budget increase for future staffing. Likewise, the ideal people might not be ready to lead a campaign effort. Now’s the time to strengthen your organization’s relationship with them so they are more likely to serve in the future.

What is your organization doing to prepare for future campaign efforts?


Written by

Don Souhrada

Don Souhrada is the President & CEO at TWB Fundraising.


Questions or comments? Join the conversation!

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