Building Blocks

Raising our community one story at a time.

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Capital Campaigns that are Mission Blazing

July 1, 2016

Looking back, I feel really lucky that I worked for two universities during their capital campaigns. I was able to participate in high-energy, intense fundraising that set ablaze the strategic plans of some great, mission-based leaders. You could say it was intimidating -- and you’d be right. You could also say it was inspiring -- and you’d be right again.

As a major gifts officer, I knew my goals as a part of the larger plan, I worked hard to stick to them and work with my team. I also had mentors and well-trained leaders to guide me. The steps I took, the calls I made, the relationships developed and donations stewarded were on me. But I wasn’t alone and those who led me in and out of the campaign web took me from doing my job to loving my job. I began to love it quickly because the passion behind the leaders was mission driven, the campaign was mission based and ended with a better delivery of that mission.

So how do you ensure the capital campaign you envision is mission driven and your volunteers and staff are dedicated to the cause and love what they do? Well, you build that plan and you evaluate it and you ask for help. Just like a healthy fire, a capital campaign needs a great platform. It’s not as exciting as being in the campaign, I know. But a rock-solid plan comes from doing a feasibility study -- and hiring someone to help -- working out your case statement, building your image and listening (and listening and listening some more) to your board members so you know when they are ready to play a big role in both donating and motivating others to give.

When you’ve accomplished these things, it’s much easier to gear up for a campaign and increase the passion for your organization throughout the community. With your platform set you’ll be secure knowing the organization is ready to ignite. Those in it can withstand the heat, and in the end your mission can truly shine.

Rachel Elder, Associate