Just this week I was working with an organization that was looking to hire a Director of Development. The first question out of their mouth when I walked in the room was, “How should be pay him/her?” They were uncertain as to whether he should receive a straight salary, be offered incentives, or work on commission. When I asked what their goals were for the campaign, they hadn’t given that any serious thought.
Before anyone in your organization begins raising funds you need to set some specific financial goals and define the criteria for meeting those goals. For example if your organization wants to raise 3 million dollars in a capital campaign, there are some specific questions that need to be addressed.
- What is your time table for raising the 3 million: 1 year, 2 years, 5 years?
- Have you set specific targets along the way? When do you plan to reach $500,000, $1,000,000, etc.?
- Where will the funding come from? How much do you plan to receive from grants, private donors, organizations etc.?
- Who is going to oversee the management of the campaign?
- Will you hire a professional organization, recruit volunteers, hire extra staff or try to complete the work with in house staff.
These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered if an organization plans to run a successful capital campaign. Anywhere from three to six months needs to be spent in planning and development before a major campaign is undertaken. Some organizations have special committees and volunteers that will work all year planning one major fundraising event.
Without a specific plan and set goals, an organization not only sacrifices the focus needed to successfully run the campaign, but they also lack any empirical standard by which they are able to measure their progress. It is important that your organization doesn’t get so eager to increase revenues that you rush through the planning and goal setting stages of the campaign.