If you’re getting ready for a capital campaign, you might be wondering if you need a consultant. While we recommend outside expertise in most cases, there are some organizations that will opt for a DIY (do-it-yourself) capital campaign.
In the case of a DIY capital campaign, the leadership team decides not to hire outside expertise for a variety of reasons. High on the list of reasons to forgo hiring a campaign consultant includes the perceived high cost of hiring outside counsel. You may have also had a prior bad experience with a consultant.
Whatever your reasons, if you’re looking to DIY your capital campaign, this series is for you.
How to DIY Your Capital Campaign – Part 1
This is part one of a three-part series 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)
What is a DIY Capital Campaign?
If your organization’s leaders opt to rely on the internal team for expertise and execution (as opposed to outside counsel), you’re leading a DIY campaign.
In this first post of the series, we’re focusing on those organizations that don’t want to hire a campaign consultant due to high cost or prior bad experience with a consultant.
4 Essentials for Leading Your Own Capital Campaign
Your first priority is to ensure your organization is prepared and capable of planning and executing a successful campaign. You don’t want to start a campaign and have it fail in the middle.
With that in mind, here are four things you’ll need to lead a successful campaign.
1. Capable and sufficient staff
If you have a strong team, you’re in great shape. However, that’s often not enough. Don’t expect your current staff to be able to take on a campaign, which will involve raising significantly more than they currently raise, without any additional staff or support.
At a minimum, plan to hire an additional support/admin team member to bolster the current staff members you have. Otherwise, you run the risk of your top-notch team burning out and quitting.
2. A big, bold vision
An exciting vision is what gets donors fired up to support your cause. Don’t have a campaign simply because:
- You’re celebrating an anniversary
- You want to grow your endowment
- You need more money
None of those reasons are sufficient to get donors to dig deep.
3. Qualified donors
You have ABC-qualified donors:
- A = Ability – they have the financial capacity to make 6- or 7-figure gifts.
- B = Belief in the mission or cause – you know they are passionate about your organization or project.
- C = Contact with them – you can successfully schedule a meeting with them.
In other words, you have a reasonable sense of where the biggest gifts will come from and can make a list of 20 or more prospective donors capable of making large gifts.
4. A solid plan
You want to begin any major fundraising effort with a solid plan. Your capital campaign planning must include:
- Capital campaign design and strategy
- Donor lists
- Campaign budget
- Campaign timeline
- Staff and volunteer structure
- Donor recognition plan
- Campaign policies
- Communications plan
Stop Googling and Start Campaigning
If your team hasn’t put together a campaign plan before, there’s no need to wing it. And there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. Campaign plan templates and sample documents are available from Capital Campaign Pro:
Why waste time scouring the Internet for the critical campaign planning documents you need for a DIY campaign? When it comes to campaign materials, we’ve got you covered — from start to finish.
Doing It Yourself Doesn’t Mean You Need to Do it Alone
Simply because you’ve decided to DIY your campaign doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. At Capital Campaign Pro, we’ve created a support system for self-guided leaders like you.
When you join our DIY Essentials Program, you’ll get immediate access to our team of campaign experts through weekly peer support calls, as well as our email helpline.
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.