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In the fundraising business, you need all the advice you can get…

That is why we are pleased to share with you some of the things we have learned along the way.  We also want to share our client success stories with you. 

Our clients are your colleagues.  Their words speak louder than ours. 

So, whether it is a client success story, a valuable fundraising tip, or an article written by one of our fundraising professionals, we strive continuously to bring to you information you can use.

How to Capitalize on the Weaknesses as well as the Strengths of Trustees and Top Leadership

Given the urgency of a capital campaign, trustee/leadership weaknesses can be used as opportunities to create strengths.

Do not despair if your trustees and leadership score less than a perfect 10 when evaluating their fundraising clout and capital campaign effectiveness.  Out of weaknesses, you can create strengths.

Example #1:  If a board does not represent the community’s power structure, the campaign can provide the impetus to add new, more influential members.  Desirable board members can be enticed on to the board or involved in leadership roles in the campaign by the excitement or challenge of the institution’s new vision, which will be funded with campaign dollars.  “Movers and shakers” are not attracted by the status quo; they like to be a part of making things happen!

Example #2:  Many organizations routinely look to the board for campaign top leadership, and they become immobilized when they do not find it.  Consider creating co-chairs for your campaign and division leadership and using campaign leadership slots to team a board member with an influential community person.  The positions then become ways to involve area leaders — thus broadening your base of support and grooming them for later board service.

Example #3:  Most trustees and leadership suffer from myopia.  They focus solely on the immediate and the short term.  They worry about next month’s expenses, and often lose sight of what is happening around them.  What is really needed is “double vision” — the ability to see both short-term and long-term priorities.

A capital campaign forces this.  Trustees and leadership must look at the competition.  They must develop long-term goals and visions that take them into the next decades and solutions that create relevancy and uniqueness.  Quick fixes simply prove too short sighted.

By learning to focus on actions today that will ensure continuing benefits to and services for our children and grandchildren long into the future, trustees and leadership can ensure the ongoing worth of our not-for-profit institutions and organizations.

Example #4:  Beware of an abundance of long-time, loyal trustees.  Although many times a cause for applause, such a situation can lull you into a comfortable state of complacency.  A major capital and/or endowment campaign affords the opportunity to begin a very necessary process:  the identification and cultivation of “new” leadership support.  The savvy institution must always be focused on these critical priorities.  Because of the marketing and public relations efforts of a major campaign — as well as the volume of volunteer support needed — the campaign proves a fitting way to enhance a not-for-profit’s image and broaden its base of support.  When final counts are in, these are benefits that often are equal to or surpass the actual campaign dollars raised.

Major fundraising campaigns are complex undertakings.  All present opportunities to capitalize on leadership and organizational strengths as well as weaknesses.  Let en guarde (on guard) and carpe diem (seize the day or the opportunity) be your watchwords.