If you’re getting ready for a capital campaign, you might be wondering if you need a consultant… or whether you can even afford a consultant.
Many nonprofit leaders decide to forgo hiring a campaign consultant because of concerns about cost. If that’s the case at your organization, it’s likely you’ll be leading a DIY (do-it-yourself) campaign.
While we recommend outside expertise in many cases, we recognize that there are times when a DIY campaign is appropriate and necessary.
How to DIY Your Capital Campaign – Part 2
This is part two of a three-part series on how to conduct a DIY capital campaign. Use the links below to review the other articles in this series.
- Nix the Campaign Consultant and DIY Your Capital Campaign (Part 1 of 3)
- Can’t Afford a Consultant? DIY Your Capital Campaign (Part 2 of 3)
- Have Experienced Staff? DIY Your Capital Campaign (Part 3 of 3)
Recognizing Cost is Relative
Whether something is expensive or cheap is relative. You know this from fundraising. Consider a $1,000 donation. For some donors, this is a small donation. For others, this is a huge gift.
The same is true with expenses. Hiring a campaign consultant $100,000 for guiding you through a campaign may seem like a huge expense. But for some organizations, it’s a proverbial drop in the bucket.
Work With Your Organization’s Culture
Every organization has a culture. Some organizations believe in scraping by and boot strapping it every step of the way. Others want to invest to get where they are going faster.
What sort of culture does your organization have? Do members of your board have more of a stingy or investor mindset? You’re likely to have some of both. But if you’re considering a DIY campaign, the majority of your board may have a culture of being reluctant to invest. Acknowledging the culture of your organization will help determine how much you’re likely to spend on a campaign.
Create a Budget for Your DIY Capital Campaign
We recommend budgeting approximately 10% of your campaign goal for fundraising expenses. Fundraising expenses include things like:
- consulting expertise
- donor recognition
- campaign materials
- additional staff members
- and more
If your campaign goal is $10 million, your campaign budget should be approximately $1M (over the 3-year duration of the campaign). If that’s the case, you’ll really need to raise $11 Million for your campaign goal.
Smaller Campaigns May Need Bigger Budgets
On the other hand, let’s say your campaign goal is on the smaller side — for example, $1 Million. Your campaign budget might be $100K over three years. That doesn’t leave a lot of funding for hiring a consultant. You may need to consider a bigger percentage (15%, for example) for your budget so you have some ability to invest in fundraising capacity.
Regardless of whether you invest in outside consulting expertise, you might need to hire a part-time administrative assistant or other staff.
But just because your organization can’t afford a consultant, doesn’t mean you can’t access expertise.
A Better Way to Lead a DIY Capital Campaign
Capital Campaign Pro has spent the last five years refining how to help nonprofit leaders DIY their campaigns. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, or use Google to muddle your way through a campaign. What’s more — you don’t need to go it alone.
Get the Help You Need — Try DIY Essentials
After years of hard work and tweaking the model, we’ve developed a complete support system for nonprofit leaders who prefer to DIY their campaign. It’s called DIY Essentials. You and your team will gain the confidence you need and your questions will be answered. Plus, with over 100 materials in our Online Toolkit, you’ll never have to reinvent the wheel.
DIY Essentials Includes…
Knowledge and Training
- Group coaching calls
- Solicitation training
- Board training
- CEO Roundtables
Support and Expertise
- Access to campaign experts around the USA
- Safe spaces for asking hard questions
- Access to our Email helpline
- Peer networking and support groups
Materials and Templates
- Step-by-step guides to soliciting the biggest gifts
- World-class campaign templates and samples
- In-depth Tutorial videos
There are many reasons to DIY a campaign — cost is just one (though it is a biggie). But cost isn’t the only reason not to hire a consultant. Part three, the final part of this series, will discuss other things to consider when you DIY your capital campaign.
Free Do-It-Yourself Checklist
Download our free guide to do-it-yourself capital campaigns to get guidance on budgeting, building a team, and crafting a vision.