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Calm should reign during challenging capital campaigns

By June 3, 2014July 6th, 2022Steier Tips

Capital campaigns are often times of celebration in an organization’s history. The need for funding can mean the organization is growing, expanding, serving more and doing more.

From the satisfaction of securing those first large gifts, to confirming key leaders, to publicly kicking off the effort and building excitement around the long-term vision, a campaign brings a community together in the spirit of stewardship, generosity and, ideally, sacrificial giving.

There are times, however, when a capital campaign can be temporarily derailed by unforeseen circumstances: the departure of an executive director or development director; a general chair unwilling to support the effort with a lead gift; unflattering media reports about current or former employees.

The list, quite easily, could go on. But in response to unanticipated events, calm should prevail.

What is vital to remember in the midst of such chaos, is the overall need and your donor base.

Aside from the unfortunate headlines or internal transitions, your organization’s original need has not changed.

And, perhaps most important, your donor base remains intact.

Organizations should stand strong in the face of such unforeseen events. Consider the following next steps to manage the first few weeks.

  • Identify a spokesperson who can answer questions from the media.
  • Prepare talking points for staff and campaign leadership should questions arise from donors or the general public.
  • Draft a letter in response to the effort, which could be shared in a newsletter, email or on the web.
  • Remain positive when communicating the campaign, its potential and its success.
  • Maintain regular communication and “status quo,” with as few gaps as possible.

Performing such tasks can help calm concerns about the campaign’s future and the overall wellness of your organization.

If you have any questions regarding the Steier Tips or the professional services provided by the Steier Group, I encourage you to contact me at any time.