If your organization is planning a capital campaign, it’s likely that you’re discussing whether to hire external help. However, that’s usually the wrong question. The question you should ask yourself is this:
What support do we really need to make our campaign a success — internally and externally?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Each organization is unique and must evaluate current staff in terms of expertise, capacity, and propensity for doing the work of a capital campaign and then make decisions about adding necessary support.
Most organizations do not have experienced staff members who have led multiple campaigns from start to finish. So it’s likely that you’re going to require some outside expertise.
What Does a Capital Campaign Consultant Do, Anyway?
Very few consultants actually do the work of the campaign, scheduling meetings, making asks, etc. You can find them, but they are quite expensive.
Most often, consultants are brought on in a “consulting” role, which means they provide expertise in the form of advising or coaching. Experienced consultants provide the strategy, help develop a plan, make decisions, and trouble shoot as necessary.
A good consultant will train your board (that needs to be done by an outsider). Consultants also serve as accountability partners, helping to move the work along. Additionally, they serve as sounding boards.
At Capital Campaign Pro, We Go a Step Further
In addition to consulting, Capital Campaign Pro provides a variety of tools (templates, worksheets, and samples for all campaign-related documents) to clients in our Online Toolkit.
For example, we provide templates and samples for a gift range chart, campaign budget, campaign policies, donor recognition plan, and more. Clients work with an expert advisor who, along with providing expertise, helps to customize these templates for the campaign.
5 Reasons to Hire a Capital Campaign Consultant
The real value in hiring a capital campaign consultant is in having an outside expert to help with your plan and strategy, keep you on track and hold you accountable.
1. Experience and Expertise
Experienced consultants bring decades of expertise over dozens of campaigns to the table. While each campaign is unique, they do have underlying strategy, similarities, and patterns. When you can rely on an outside expert, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
2. Objective Perspective
Your staff and board members are living and breathing the work every day. Sometimes an outside perspective is what’s needed to clear a hurdle or see something obvious that you’re missing.
3. Validation and Encouragement
A great consultant will let you know when you’re on the right path and help get you back on track should you falter.
Regular meetings with consultants keep the staff moving forward and getting the campaign work done. It can be easy to fall behind without someone holding you to deadlines and a timeline.
5. Solving problems
Capital campaigns aren’t always linear or smooth. Your consultant will step in to brainstorm creative solutions to the setbacks and challenges you face.
5 Reasons to DIY Your Campaign (No Consultant Necessary)
Your organization might be hesitant to hire a consultant for a variety of reasons. And you may have good reasons to choose the do-it-yourself route.
1. Cost Savings
Let’s face it — consultants are expensive. You may choose instead to use those funds to hire more internal staff if funds are limited (more on this below).
2. Board Member / ED Pressure
You may have a board member, or an executive director, who has had a bad experience with campaign consultants and insists you can manage the campaign internally.
3. Internal Expertise
You may have a staff member who has led multiple campaigns from start to finish. They may feel they have the expertise to run the campaign and don’t need any outside counsel.
4. More Control
You may want to stay in control of your campaign and not be distracted by the advice of outside counsel.
5. Community Experience
You may believe that you know your community and organization better than an outsider ever could and question the value of an outside consultant who doesn’t understand your situation very well.
Regardless of What You Choose, You Do Need to Staff Up
Regardless of whether you hire a consultant, you will want to hire an additional staff member or two to support your existing staff. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should hire a major gift officer or campaign director. The executive director and existing development director often play the role of major gift officer during a campaign.
In most instances, organizations really need more support staff to help with administrative tasks such database management, scheduling meetings, correspondence and much more.
If the development director has been consumed with planning events or grant writing, you might hire someone to help with those responsibilities and free them up to focus on the campaign.
Do What’s Right for Your Campaign
Not every campaign needs a consultant. But every campaign could use a little help.
At Capital Campaign Pro, we understand there’s no one-size-fits all approach to campaigns. We support leaders who want to work with an outside expert, as well as those who want a DIY (Do It Yourself) campaigns.
If you want a seasoned campaign advisor by your side, providing expertise every step of the way, click here to learn about our consulting services.
Conversely, if you want to stop Googling about campaigns and start campaigning with confidence while remaining in the driver’s seat, click here to learn about our DIY support services.
Unsure? We Can Help There, Too
And if you’re not quite sure what’s right for your nonprofit, click here for a free strategy session with one of our experts to gain some clarity. We’re happy to help!