If you’re considering a capital campaign, it means you have a big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG) looming — or at least you should. If your goal is relatively easy to achieve and it doesn’t scare you, it’s time for you to think bigger.

In other words, if the thought a campaign isn’t at least a little scary, then your goal isn’t big enough.

But let’s assume you do have a big, bold vision for your campaign and a goal to match. Yet, the entire idea of campaign terrifies you. That kind of fear is not healthy and it can undermine your campaign.

The Right Capital Campaign Mindset

First, let’s consider your mindset regarding your campaign:

  • Do you believe you can achieve big things?
  • Or are you full of doubt and fear?

Your beliefs surrounding how you feel about your campaign will have a significant impact on your outcomes.

You probably know the famous quote attributed to Henry Ford:

“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”

When it comes to capital campaigns (and many other things in life), that’s often true.

If you believe you can raise the money, you will do whatever is necessary to make it happen. For example, you’ll make the plans, hire help when appropriate, and speak directly to your biggest potential donors.

If you believe you can’t succeed, you’ll make excuses for why you can’t get started, why hiring help is too expensive, and you’ll invariably look for reasons to avoid meeting with donors.

Your mindset directly impacts your actions, and your actions directly impact your results.

3 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of a Capital Campaign

Here are three steps you can take to help overcome your fear of a capital campaign and replace it with confidence.

1. Do Some Research

Knowledge is power. After all, the more you know about a given topic, the less intimidating it is. So do a simple Google search for some terms to help you know what to expect. Here are a few terms you might try:

  • “doing a capital campaign feasibility study”
  • “capital campaign plan”
  • “hiring a capital campaign consultant”

Check out two or three of the top (NON-AD) listings. Take a few notes. When you arm yourself with some essential information, you’ll begin to feel more comfortable and capable when it comes to a campaign.

2. Talk to Donors Early On

There’s no better reassurance and confidence booster than having a few key donors ready to step up and support your project and plans. Engage with them early in the process.

For example, a well-designed and implemented feasibility study engages donors and enlists their support early on. Based on their feedback, you’re setting your campaign up for success before it even officially begins.

3. Hire Outside Help

A capital campaign is not something you do alone. To ensure your campaign is successful, you’ll need a strategy that’s appropriate to your organization, your campaign goal, and your community. It’s critical to invest in individuals that have deep campaign expertise.

The most successful development staff members hire capital campaign consultants for guidance, strategy, and support. Capital campaigns are high-stakes fundraising efforts; you don’t want to take chances here. You should admit what you don’t know and surround yourself with experts that can help you succeed.

Speaking of campaign expertise, we can help you get your bearings. Schedule a free strategy session with one of our campaign experts. We’ll help get your campaign started on the right foot.

More Tips to Alleviate Your Campaign Fears

Attitude is half the battle in any campaign. I love when I hear our clients say, “We’ve got to be successful.” That means they have the will and the drive to do what it takes to get to their goal.

We all fear the unknown. That’s why you never want to go blindly into a capital campaign. You can keep your campaign fears in check by learning more about the campaign process, leaning on outside expertise, and doing a feasibility study to know where you stand.

Finally, as you start moving through the campaign process, take a couple minutes each morning to ready yourself. Look in the mirror and give yourself a little pep talk. Then identify one thing, big or small, that you can do that day to move your campaign forward.

Several small, well-planned steps will lead you to campaign success. Don’t let your fear hold you back. There’s work to be done and a world to improve!


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