How do we know if our organization is ready for a capital campaign?
That’s a common question nonprofit staff and board members ask themselves. And the uncertainty of whether you’re ready, plus everything you need to do to get ready, might even keep you up at night.
Well, there’s no need to wonder any longer.
A capital campaign is likely the biggest fundraising effort your organization has ever undertaken. Some board and staff members will assume you’re not ready (or that you may never be). That feeling often comes from a place of fear.
After all, campaigns take courage. If you can answer YES the nine questions in this post, it will give your board and staff members the confidence you need to proceed with a campaign.
Assess Your Campaign Readiness: 9 Questions to Ask Your Board
Here are nine questions to ask your board members to help determine whether you are ready for a campaign.
INSTRUCTIONS: Gather a group of key board and staff members and ask them to provide their best response to the following questions. Each question should be answered with one of the following:
- Not Sure
If you discover you’re not ready, you’ll find additional tips for how to proceed toward the end of this post.
- Is our board in full agreement with our vision for a capital campaign?
- Is our board willing to be more active in fundraising than it is now?
- Do we have board members who have been volunteers in a capital campaign before?
- Do we have board members who have access to potential campaign donors?
- Can we identify a handful of leadership-level major donors?
- Will our board members be able to fund 15% – 30% of the total goal?
- Do we have influential people currently involved with our cause?
- Can we identify potential campaign leaders and create a plan to enlist them?
- Do we have experienced, capable staff?
Gauging the Responses
Once you have the responses from at least 5 key leaders at your organization (a few staff and board members), you’ll want to collate the responses and discuss them as a group.
If the general consensus is that the questions are answered in the affirmative, then you are probably ready to proceed with a campaign. If several of the questions are answered negatively or “not sure,” then you likely have more work to do as an organization.
How to Assess the Totality of your Campaign Readiness
As you can see, these questions aim to identify your board, leadership, and fundraising readiness.
Of course, these aren’t the only questions you should be asking before launching a campaign. You’ll want to explore other areas of your organizational readiness as well. Our Capital Campaign Readiness Assessment will help you do just that:
What About the Feasibility of Your Campaign?
Finally, there’s one more BIG test you’ll put your organization through before actually launching your campaign — your feasibility study. That effort will help determine if the largest potential donors to your campaign are actually on board, as well as how much you’re likely to raise.
At the Capital Campaign Toolkit, we take a different approach to feasibility studies. In a traditional study, an organization would hire a consultant to interview prospective donors. We believe your key staff and board members are best-suited to speak with your donors and community leaders prior to the campaign.
That’s why we’ve created a “Guided Feasibility Study,” where we guide your own team through the process of communicating directly with prospective donors: