Successful Capital Campaigns Start With Leadership
Capital campaigns require strong leadership to succeed. If your nonprofit is considering a capital campaign, think about how your board will enhance your fundraising capacity. Ask yourself these questions:
Are all board members current donors?
Board members will be tasked with asking those they know to contribute to the campaign. Some will ask for very large donations. It will be difficult and perhaps even insincere for a non-donor to ask for those gifts. All board members should first invest in the campaign and be regular donors to the organization before asking others.
Are board members involved in the identification, cultivation and solicitation process?
Members of your board should be willing to make some time available for these activities. Great board members are always very busy people and do have strict limitations on their time; however, given their commitment to the organization, they should expect to participate in some high-quality interactions with potential supporters. Stress quality over quantity in this area.
Can board members open doors?
Many nonprofits have recruited well-intentioned, hard-working board members who lack the ability to provide entry to potential donors who can make significant contributions. If this is the case, you may find the need to expand your board to include individuals who have or have access to philanthropic wealth.
Expanding your board should be a positive experience that invigorates your leadership; they will recognize the need to recruit new members who have the ability to open doors to potential donors.
The executive director, the development director and the board chair should work together first to decide what the ideal candidates will offer. Consider whether you need to diversify the professions represented on your board or add members with significant wealth. Develop a clear picture of who you are looking for.
Finally, discuss that picture with staff members and current board members and develop a list of people who meet your criteria. Not everyone you invite to join your board is going to say yes. Don’t depend on one or two individuals, create a list of 6-12 names and decide which of your current board members is best qualified to recruit them.