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There’s one universal thing we never seem to have enough of… time.

Nonprofit leaders are especially strapped for time because they are generally understaffed. In “normal” times, development professionals and executive directors are doing the job of more than one person.

Add a capital campaign on top of your regular work and you are truly strapped for time.

Managing Your Time During a Capital Campaign

Because time is of the essence, anything that saves you time becomes a life raft. As the saying goes, time is money. When you save time, you also save money — another valuable resource at most nonprofits.

In this post, you’ll explore several ways you could save time and money for your campaign. Of course, sometimes time savers have a price tag. A campaign is an opportunity for the leaders at your organization to truly consider the notion of penny wise and pound foolish.

If you’re going to be raising millions of dollars, doesn’t it make sense to spend some money to ensure the success of the campaign? It’s also important to consider the sanity and potential burn-out of those who are putting in the work.

4 Tips for Capital Campaign Time Management

We couldn’t have a modern conversation about time management without turning to the topic of technology. How and when are you using it effectively to boost efficiency?

Ask yourself these two questions:

  1. What are you spending the most time on each week?
  2. Is there a technical solution to help you become more efficient in that area?

Here are some tips and considerations to better manage your time, particularly during a capital campaign.

1. Schedule Meetings with Ease

If you’re going back and forth via email to schedule most of your meetings, technology is available to save the day. Both for individual and group meetings, there are services and apps to help save time.

For more than 90 percent of the meetings I schedule, I use Calendly. It eliminates the back and forth. There are still a few people with whom I need to coordinate schedules in a more personal way, and when appropriate and necessary, I do.

2. Consider Your Filing System

How much time do you spend time searching for something, like a piece of paper or electronic file every day or each week? Those frantic minutes of not being able to find a file, a list, or a document, add up. A good filing system is critical during a campaign.

Filing systems — both electronic and paper — can be lifesavers. In some ways I’m extremely organized, but I’m not great with paperwork. Last year, I hired a personal organizer to help me create a system. It was expensive, but the time and anxiety (when I can’t find something) it has saved me has been worth it.

It’s critically important to be organized during a campaign. You want to keep track of donors and the journey they are on with your organization. If there’s a staff or leadership change, new people should be able to come in and get up to speed based on files and documents kept in an organized system.

3. Manage Your Donor Data Efficiently

Data can help or harm your campaign in serious ways. If you’re not sure who your biggest or most loyal donors are, getting started on a campaign will be exponentially more difficult. Data is also crucial for proper donor recognition and stewardship.

If you spend time and energy generating thank you notes and lists of donors, there’s probably a better system available. If you need a new system, ask three colleagues for recommendations. There are hundreds of companies out there offering donor management software for nonprofits. I recommend interviewing at least three and comparing features and benefits — including training and support.

4. Save Time and Money on Travel

How long do you spend in the car each day or each week? It’s time to start thinking “virtual.” In the end, you want time-saving solutions:

  • Are there certain days you could work from home and save time on your commute?
  • Are there certain meetings you are going to which could be done virtually?
  • Are you picking up office supplies or even lunch, which could be delivered?

While it might seem a little crass to promote ourselves here, one of the primary advantages of working with Capital Campaign Toolkit is that we work virtually with our clients, saving them time and money. Our virtual meetings are both effective and efficient.

Instead of flying or driving to meet clients and sit with them all day around a conference room table, we Zoom in for an hour at a time and are available to Zoom with a client whenever the need arises.

Experiment to Find the Best Tools for You

Leveraging technology to help save time gets easier every day. New services and apps arrive in the marketplace constantly.

Try experimenting with one or two new services every year to make your life easier, more efficient, and effective.

Nonprofit Staffing with Regard to Time Management

A campaign is a unique an opportunity to increase staff. There’s no way to expect current staff to take on an entire new, full-time role (running a campaign is a full-time job). A campaign is a great time to consider your current staffing structure and decide where you really need help.

On Hiring Help

This might be an opportunity to hire a development director, but it’s more likely you’re looking to add administrative support and development assistance to your team.

At the Capital Campaign Toolkit, we work with the most amazing virtual assistants in the Philippines. They are effective, efficient, and affordable!

You should also outsource tasks, which I’ve seen many nonprofit leaders struggle to do in-house. For example, you probably should be outsourcing graphic design and stuffing envelopes.

Take a little time to identify tasks you and/or your staff are doing which could be done better by an outside service.

Don’t Be Afraid of Change

A campaign is an opportunity to make changes at your organization. Don’t do things the way you’ve always done them, simply because that’s the way they’ve always been done, just to save a few pennies.

During a campaign, you’ll want your top leadership team focused on the campaign — not designing newsletters, entering data, or stuffing envelopes.

No Need to Reinvent the Wheel

The Capital Campaign Toolkit saves clients time and money. By leveraging technology and providing tools and templates, we offer the best capital campaign support available efficiently and effectively.

There’s no need to recreate the wheel. Everything you need for your capital campaign is inside our Campaign Toolkit:

  • Wish you had sample campaign policies? We’ve got that!
  • Looking for a case for support template? Inside the Toolkit too.
  • Want a campaign plan checklist, budget template, and campaign timeline? They are all inside the Toolkit.

If you’re looking for a partner to help support you through your campaign, schedule a free strategy session to talk with us.

Take a serious look at your team and brainstorm ways to improve efficiency. Time is of the essence. Don’t waste another minute!

1 Comment

  1. Tonya Dedering

    Great tips on managing your time during a capital campaign, Amy! I have experience and and feel the need for a solid filing system plan (and discipline to keep it organized) as well as data management are crucial during a campaign.

    Reply

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