Thursday, June 28, 2012

Are Capital Campaigns Right For Your Nonprofit?

There are plenty of reasons for nonprofits to love capital campaigns. They have the potential to generate a lot of cash for the organization, and can help increase awareness of your mission. On the downside, they take a lot of time and effort, and there's no guarantee for success.

So the question remains: To campaign or not to campaign?

The answer really depends on how ready your organization is. At a recent Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) annual conference, William Brans and Lee Appelman of Arts Consulting Group, Inc, and Susan Shapiro of Shapiro Associates LLC, said that the key to a successful capital campaign is being prepared.

How can you tell if your nonprofit is ready for a capital campaign? They listed the following qualifications:

  • A strong annual fund;
  •  A good story, an urgent and compelling case for support;
  • Internal leadership;
  • External leadership;
  • Qualified major gifts prospects;
  • Assessing the environment: external as well as internal;
  • A feasibility study with results that indicate campaign success;
  • Knowing that the organization is a top priority for high-level donors;
  • A strong, positive institutional image: Confidence and thinking big;
  • The president/CEO/director are capable, eager fundraisers;
  • The institution has invested in fundraising;
  • Human, financial and technical resources are in place; and,
  • Proper campaign timing.
If your nonprofit has all of these qualities, the congratulations: You're ready to campaign! Otherwise, you should consider waiting a little while before you start.

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