On Second Thought: Is Your Fundraising Campaign Undercapitalized?

Is your fundraising campaign undercapitalized?  Too many organizations work to demonstrate how little they spend on administration and overhead.  But, to take advantage of all the possibilities presented by an intensive capital campaign, the development office must have sufficient human and financial resources to do the job. The presence of counsel cannot fully compensate for a lack of full-time staff.

A major capital campaign is often a good time to invest in a larger development staff and budget since such an investment is likely to produce dividends more quickly than usual. Undercapitalization of the development effort, on the other hand, may prevent the organization from realizing all of the longer-term benefits that a capital campaign can bring.

In preparing for a major capital campaign, we often recommend an internal assessment of the organization’s development function (usually in concert with a campaign planning/feasibility study).

A campaign can present an opportunity to address difficult issues that sooner or later must be faced.

During the assessment, we gather information and opinions on the organization and its development function. We focus on the current resources—staff, budget, and volunteers—available to the development office. On this basis, we try to provide forward-looking recommendations on the most effective use of current personnel, as well as any additional staff and office resources that may be required to ensure the success of a major capital campaign.

These recommendations are not always easy to implement. The organization, for example, may be asked to consider investing a good deal more in the development function than it has in the past. We’ve found that preparations for a capital campaign – especially with counsel on hand – can present the best possible opportunity to address some of the difficult issues that sooner or later must be faced.

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For more on The Winning Campaign, The Essential Elements of Success, access Goettler Series Volume 11