Capital Campaign Best Practices: Top 3 Tips to Manage Your Team

Once you’ve created your timeline and priorities for your capital campaign, it’s time to assemble an energetic group of people to oversee your efforts. Your volunteers and staff handle the bulk of your campaign efforts, so it’s important to continue encouraging them throughout the process. But how best can you manage them during this process? How can you help meet their needs? Let’s explore the necessary capital campaign best practices you should implement to help you effectively manage your staff during your campaign.

Clarifying Your Campaign Goal

Before you integrate people into your campaign, it’s necessary to clarify your goal. So, once you’ve moved out of the planning phase (after you’ve set your initial goal), you want to conduct a feasibility study to ensure that your goal can be reached. During this time, it’s important to answer pertinent questions like: what does our organization need? What does our community need?

Clarifying your goal will give you a better idea of what resources you need to achieve it. This is especially important when assembling a staff. If anything, this will help you get a better sense of the roles you’ll need each member of your team to fulfill. What skills should your ideal volunteer member have? What are the macro-goals and micro-goals they need to meet? And, how should those goals be divided among them? Let’s explore how to go about bringing on the right consultant.

Choosing the Right Consultant for Your Campaign

Before you can carry out a successful campaign, you need to assemble a top-notch team to help you achieve your goal. But, how do you go about gathering the right consultants?

The first step in gathering the right consultants is to assess whether or not you have the resources to hire new people. It’s important to ask yourself:

  • Do we have enough allocated in our budget to hire new consultants?
  • What are the hidden expenses that come with hiring new people?
  • Are they going to need their travel expenses covered?
  • Do we want to go with someone local or someone else?
  • Do we want someone easy-going or someone polished?

Depending on your budgetary restrictions, you may want to look into hiring from external sources.  Solo practitioners or small boutique firms that specialize in helping with capital campaigns are great assets in your efforts. However, when gathering people for a campaign, it’s important to recognize that in order to collect a substantial number of gifts, you need the right people and resources to procure them. In that sense, it can be effective to spend a bit more getting the help you need, if you want to see a greater return in the form of campaign gifts.

Capital Campaign Best Practices for Managing your Team

Now that you’ve assembled your team, it’s important to find effective ways to communicate and connect with them during the campaign process. It’s important to make your team feel valued and heard during this time. Since most of your volunteers and staff have other commitments, it’s important to acknowledge their efforts and make sure they’re not feeling burnt out. Neglecting to check in with them can result in campaign stalls, which can prevent you from achieving your goal efficiently and effectively. When managing your team, it’s important to:

1. Set clear and Achievable Micro-Goals to Start

During the initial stages of your campaign, refrain from asking your staff to take on long, and demanding roles. Most staff and volunteers have other commitments besides what they’re contributing to the campaign, so it’s important not to overwhelm them with tasks. You want them to feel energized while working on the campaign, not burnt out. Although you may have a deadline for your campaign, it’s more important to complete the micro-goals of the campaign effectively.

Just like your campaign, each meeting you have with your staff and volunteers should be comprised of clear and achievable goals. It’s important to set a purpose, confirm it, summarize your key points, and then determine your next steps. Setting clear and achievable goals clarifies questions or concerns that may arise during the campaign. If each step is approached systematically, you are helping your staff remain focused, without overwhelming them with the scope of your goal. By doing things in chunks, it’s easier to achieve your macro-goal.

2. Shuffle Staff and Volunteers Periodically

By shuffling around your staff and volunteers, you are presenting them with opportunities to refocus their efforts and attention. If they’re given new tasks or new groups to work with, they’re given an opportunity to regain energy by having to get acquainted with new material. By allowing them to flex their skills in different areas, your team will feel less burnt out and more engaged.

3. Acknowledge the Milestones of Individuals and Groups

Another capital campaign’s best practice is to celebrate milestones that your team has met over the course of the campaign. During the campaign process, it’s important to give words of affirmation to individual staff members and volunteers. By doing so, you’re indicating to each of them that their work is valued, seen, and contributing substantially to the overall goal you’re working towards. These displays of recognition also provide them with a sense of accountability. Not only are their actions valued, but they also have influence. Openly realizing their efforts indicates the standard of work that you want to continue to strive toward.

What Staff Members Can Do to Refresh Their Efforts

Aside from finding new ways to inspire your team, it’s also important to help them find new ways to revamp their efforts. Once they’ve received clarification about the goal and feel supported, they’ll want to revisit potential hurdles.  As your campaign goes on, encourage your staff and volunteers to:

1. See Which Existing Donors Can Be Upgraded

As your staff solicits gifts from existing donors, it’s important to make sure that they’re creating appropriate ask amounts for each donor. Instead of adopting universal gift amounts, it’s necessary to evaluate your existing donor’s giving history. Additionally, how much they’ve donated they’ve donated in the past, and if this matches what they could give based on their income and giving history. To avoid missing opportunities to engage potential major gift donors, use a wealth screening. This will help you understand which donors have the greatest propensity and capacity to give.

With a wealth screening, you can see which donors have the greatest propensity and capacity to give. So, not only can you segment your audience based on demographic traits such as age, but you can also append your database with wealth attributes. By doing this, you can easily understand an individual’s how much they’ve donated in the past (giving history) and how much they’re likely to give in the future (estimated giving capacity). Gathering these data points gives you a holistic view of your donors. You can easily use their demographic data and wealth attributes to take a data-driven approach to your outreach strategy. This makes it far easier for you to identify donors who would be just as likely as your donors to give.

2. Find New Donors to Engage

If your staff has exhausted all of their efforts in engaging existing donors, and raising all the funds they can, they can use a wealth model to find new donors to engage. But, these won’t be just any donors. These will be donors who will be just as likely as your best to give to your organization.

A model is a unique, custom algorithm that can help you predict who’s most likely to contribute a gift to your organization specifically. This type of model is known as a predictive model. To create this custom algorithm, WealthEngine data scientists will employ proprietary data, along with yours, to determine who within your database (and beyond) are likely to contribute gifts to your campaign. This model can also help you identify prospects with similar attributes to your best donors. You can then rank your list of prospects in order of similarity to your best donors to prioritize your donor outreach.

3. Push Your Recurring Giving Program

As your donors contribute gifts, it’s important to create opportunities to redirect your donors to your recurring gifts program. This encourages them to give continuously throughout the year and in years to come.

Uncover More Capital Campaign Best Practices

Unearth more insights on how to successfully boost your fundraising efforts with our Capital Campaign Guide.

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