Raising money is not an easy task, especially when you have to raise a lot of it. Conducting a capital campaign successfully requires careful planning, lots of consultation, widespread buy-in, strong leadership, a clear vision, a transparent communication plan, and a reliable and energetic corps of volunteers. But the best strategy and mechanics for executing an effort of this magnitude won’t get you very far without an indispensable disposition to support it all: a positive attitude.
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there,” Teddy Roosevelt once quipped. Put another way, believe you can’t and you’ll never make it. Capital campaigns are marathons more than sprints and anyone who has run a marathon knows that it’s just as much a mental challenge as it is physical. A community needs to be encouraged and have opportunities to take stock of its progress to maintain a positive attitude. Here are a few ways to make that happen:
- Achieving anything on a grand scale is done in increments. No one builds a skyscraper all at once but floor by floor. Create tiered goals so you can celebrate success each time you hit a fundraising milestone. A bite-sized approach will instill a “we can do that!” attitude within your community.
- Most campaigns use thermometers to track progress, but they also communicate a message of encouragement. Create thresholds in your campaign thermometer to track progress but also to set milestones to celebrate along the way. Host receptions when the thermometer reaches a predetermined threshold.
- A capital campaign video on kickoff weekend can help foster excitement in your community for the campaign but consider also using video shorts embedded in weekly emails to keep that excitement alive. Imagine running a marathon where the cheering and balloons at the starting line were followed by no one on the side of the road cheering you along the way. Keep encouraging your supporters by staying positive and joyful.
- Don’t lose sight of the forest by focusing on the many trees. Believe in what you hope to accomplish and focus on the exciting grand vision that the campaign is meant to serve. Remember that you’re a key player in an historic moment in your organization’s history.
- When you, your leadership team and volunteers feel beleaguered, take a step back and tend to self-care. You’ll be surprised how much more energy and focus you and your team will have when coming back to the work that remains.
Skill and effort can do a lot to make your campaign successful, but nothing can make up for a poor attitude. A quick way to hamper your effort and jeopardize its success is to engage it halfheartedly or begrudgingly. With a positive attitude, you’re halfway there and nothing can stand in your way!
With more than 20 years of experience, the Steier Group knows the importance of a positive attitude when it comes to fundraising. I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions regarding the professional services of the Steier Group.