The last few years have been challenging, to say the least. Between COVID, the economy, and politics, there’s a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. You may also have had challenges within your organization like leadership and staff turnover.
Should you start a campaign when times are shaky?
My answer is YES. That’s because there’s never a perfect time to start a capital campaign. Allow me to elaborate.
Why You Should Start a Capital Campaign During Uncertain Times
Remember, campaigns last an average of three years. Within that timeframe, you’ll encounter good times and bad. And with every apparent bad time, members of your board are likely to suggest that you put your campaign plans on hold until things get better.
When your board members tell you to delay, here are four reasons you can use to convince your board and leadership to start your campaign even when the times seem challenging.
1. Other Campaigns Are Being Put On Hold
In most communities, many campaigns are in progress at the same time. Competition among campaigns is a common concern. Your board members will be wondering if you should proceed when several campaigns are already in progress throughout your community.
The reality is that your community will always have overlapping campaigns. However, in uncertain times, some organizations do delay — and that might give you a timing advantage should you proceed.
2. Campaigns Span Several Years
The average campaign lasts at least three years. But the average recession lasts less than a year. So, it’s likely that even if you start a campaign in a recession, before you emerge from your quiet phase, the recession will be in the rear-view mirror.
In other words, if you plan your campaign during a downturn, chances are high that by the time you’re in the quiet phase, when the largest gifts are raised, the economy will be bouncing back. The opposite is true too.
Waiting for better times is seldom an effective strategy. As the third anniversary of the beginning of COVID approaches, the brave organizations which proceeded with campaigns have finished successfully. Those that postponed, are just now getting started. Today is no better or worse than any other time to start a campaign.
3. Your Mission and Vision for the Future
The most important reason to have a capital campaign is to move your organization to the next level of impact.
Unless the need for your organization is waning, you need to grow to do more good for the people you serve. And there’s no better way to grow your organization than with a capital campaign that serves your vision for growth.
Let the power and importance of your mission and vision overcome the fear of uncertainty that is keeping you from moving forward with your campaign.
Don’t Allow Fear to Determine Your Campaign’s Start
Fear and anxiety — even in good economic times — are part of capital campaigns when the stakes are high. The primary reason leaders delay campaigns is due to fear. Economic uncertainty provides an excuse to wait, but it’s likely you’re going to be afraid a year from now and two years from now for different reasons.
You can counter the fear with excellent planning:
- Do your research.
- Develop a sound campaign plan.
- Test your plan with a feasibility study.
- Hire experienced help.
- Prepare and get started.
What are you waiting for?
If you’re looking for a sign that it’s time to get started, perhaps it’s this blog post… hm?
We live in uncertain times. While I don’t have a crystal ball, I predict the future will be challenging and uncertain too. I also predict that good times are ahead!
The sooner you start your campaign, the sooner your vision to do more good will become a reality. And there’s never a good reason to put that off.