Preparing for a Campaign

Aug 26, 2016 | All Posts, Campaign Counsel, Client Highlights, From The Partners

Campaigns are exciting!  They provide an important opportunity to draw attention to your mission and programs, deepen engagement with current supporters, and build new relationships. Although the potential rewards are great, the thought of a campaign can be overwhelming. Everything will go better if you take time to develop a solid plan to achieve your goals.

Clients often call us when the Board or CEO has suggested an ambitious goal, realizing that this is just step one of an important process to launch a campaign. Successful campaigns rely on assessing your current situation, developing a case statement, completing a feasibility study, analyzing your prospect pool, and establishing an informed goal. If a campaign is in your future, we recommend taking a few minutes to answer the questions below:

1. Is our house in order?

  • Do we have a strategic plan?
  • Have we evaluated and measured how well we are meeting our annual goals?
  • Have we conducted a development or organizational assessment to look at internal processes?
  • Do we have a fundraising-minded board? Have we trained them for new responsibilities?
  • Do we have the required staff expertise?

For example: UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School is preparing for the university-wide capital campaign. Our moss+ross team conducted a development assessment for the School, interviewing numerous internal and external stakeholders about messaging, leadership, fundraising and overall campaign readiness. From these confidential conversations we developed recommendations that the staff is using as they gear up for the largest campaign in the School’s history. Knowing where you are is always helpful as you determine where you want to go.

For example: When Camp Corral (Raleigh headquarters) needed a strategic plan, moss+ross was called to guide their staff and board through a series of structured meetings while we gathered important data to support the creation of a 3-year plan that will support their growth and funding objectives. They will use this plan to accomplish many objectives, including to increase the number of major gifts and raise their fundraising significantly.

2. Where are we going and why should people care?

  • What will be different at the end of this campaign?
  • Why is it urgent? What will happen if we do not have the campaign?
  • What is our plan for a successful campaign, and do we agree on it?
  • Do we have a case statement, and does it convey the right message?
  • Is the board ready to help us talk about our work and why it matters?
  • Have we asked for input from a variety of stakeholders through interviews, surveys or focus groups?

For example: When the Emily Krzyzewski Center wanted to look at its messaging, moss+ross helped them conduct a focus group of donors, board members, and staff who could share ideas for communicating its impact.  Everybody came away with new ideas, which will be incorporated into written materials. Sometimes the best ideas are right in front of you. Taking time to share varying perspectives is incredibly useful when developing effective, meaningful messages.

3. Do we need a Feasibility Study?

  • Do we have more than just a “needs list”?
  • Do we have a realistic expectation of what we can raise in a campaign?
  • Do we have an up-to-date analysis of our individual prospects?

For example: When the Museum of Life and Science was ready to expand its outdoor exhibit areas, there was no limit to the exciting ideas being suggested by the design staff. moss+ross conducted a feasibility study that enabled the staff and Board to set an informed goal because they understood what kind of support was out there to make these dreams a reality. A well-run campaign and lots of hard work led to the creation of Hideaway Woods, which opened last year and quickly became a centerpiece destination for thousands of families visiting the Museum.

4. Do we have the right team in place?

  • Are all levels of staff ready for the changes that a campaign will bring?
  • Do we have enough major gifts officers?
  • What roles could be better filled by a consultant than by adding staff?
  • Does everyone understand expectations, and their own tasks and deadlines?

For example: When the UNC School of Social Work needed interim staffing to bridge a gap after the departure of the director of development, they called moss+ross to keep the office running smoothly. We also provided search assistance which led to the appointment of Jackie Pierce as the Associate Dean for Advancement who will now lead the fundraising for the School’s capital campaign.