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  • Writer's pictureFrances Roen

Staffing Up for Success: A Guide to Preparing Your Nonprofit for a Capital Campaign

The lifeblood of any nonprofit is its ability to raise funds effectively, and a capital campaign can often serve as a crucial milestone in an organization's journey. However, one crucial aspect of a successful capital campaign that is often overlooked is the right staffing. Hiring the right talent and having an effective staffing structure in place can make the difference between a successful capital campaign and one that falls short. Moreover, capital campaigns require staff with specialized skills, careful planning, and intensive commitment. Building the right team is a vital first step. In this post, we will discuss one of the most important steps to preparing your nonprofit for a capital campaign: staffing.

Understand the Need

Every nonprofit is unique, and so are its needs during a capital campaign. To staff appropriately, it's essential to take a deep dive into the specifics of your campaign. Questions like the following should be part of your analysis: What is the financial goal? What is the timeline? How does your organization envision utilizing your board and other volunteers? What kinds of donors will you be targeting? And what specific tasks will be needed to run the campaign successfully? Answering these questions will help you understand the staffing resources you'll need to meet your objectives.

Identify Priorities and Define the Roles

The next step in staffing up for a capital campaign is to identify priorities and define the roles that are necessary to meet them. Involve your staff in the process—have conversations about what a campaign entails, what tasks currently take up the majority of their time, what they might like to learn or skills they’d like to develop, and make decisions about staffing that maximize everyone’s potential. Some organizations find it helpful to move top level staff to a campaign management role, others find that hiring an outside consultant is the best — and still others do both. The experience and capacity of your team will dictate the most effective structure for your campaign, but thinking through things in a pre-planning stage will help alleviate headaches, stress, and frustration later on!

Provide Adequate Training

Even the most talented and experienced team members (and board) likely need training or professional development to prepare for a capital campaign. After all, most organizations only embark on campaigns every 10-15 years, so not having deep campaign knowledge or experience is pretty typical! Consider providing training on topics such as major gifts fundraising, communications, budgeting and finance, donor stewardship, and project management. Also, ensure your team is well-versed in the specific goals and strategies of your campaign.

Foster Team Spirit

A successful capital campaign requires a high level of commitment and collaboration from your team. Be kind and gentle with yourself and one another — campaigns are heavy-lifts, even for the most experienced. Regular team meetings can help keep everyone on the same page and foster a sense of camaraderie. Also, consider organizing team-building activities or celebrating milestones together to help maintain morale.

Invest in Resources

In addition to investing in people, be prepared to invest in the necessary resources to support your team. This might include fundraising software, marketing materials, or professional development opportunities. Keep in mind that these investments can pay off in the long run by increasing your campaign's effectiveness and efficiency. A general rule of thumb is to budget the cost of your campaign at 10% of your campaign goal.

Plan for Sustainability

Finally, consider how your capital campaign staffing plan can contribute to your organization's long-term sustainability. The skills and experience your team gains during the campaign can be invaluable for future fundraising efforts. Consider how you can retain valuable team members, nurture their professional development, and continue to utilize their skills even after the campaign ends.

A capital campaign is an enormous undertaking, but with the right team in place, you can reach your fundraising goals and make a significant impact on your mission. Remember, the key to success is preparation, collaboration, and investing in your team.

Does this all feel a little intimidating? We love helping nonprofits make sense of capital campaign planning. You can schedule a free consultation with us through this link:

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