Are you ready for a campaign?

West Wind Consulting can help.

Campaigns are expensive. They require a substantial investment of organizational resources well beyond the campaign budget so it’s important to get it right from the beginning. At West Wind Consulting, we do everything we can to help our clients receive the greatest return possible on their investment. Here are some questions we can help answer.

Are you ready for a campaign?

Success in any campaign rests on a foundation of good planning both for the organization and the fund-raising effort behind it. Before we begin any campaign, we work with our clients to make sure that both the institutional and campaign planning efforts are strong enough to support a major campaign effort. There are three areas of readiness that we test prior to a campaign: institutional planning, fund-raising planning and donor readiness.

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Has your institution done sufficient planning in preparation for a campaign?

Bold, visionary institutional planning based upon a thoughtful and inclusive planning process will not only help determine what kind of fund-raising effort is right for your institution, it will also insure that the money raised will have the greatest possible long-term impact on the mission of your organization. A solid institutional planning process serves as the foundation for creating the campaign case statement which will drive the campaign effort. At West Wind Consulting, we help you translate your institutional plan into a powerful and inspiring case for support that will motivate donors to give.

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Is your fund-raising program ready to support a campaign?

Whether you need a major capital campaign, a limited project-based campaign, or simply a more effective annual campaign, a well thought-out, customized, and creative plan is critical. That plan begins with an assessment of the current fund-raising operation to determine both strengths and weaknesses and to recommend programmatic changes needed in anticipation of a campaign. Campaigns are usually a more intensive fund-raising effort than the organization has undertaken in the past and they can put a lot of stress on a fund-raising program. Without proper planning and preparation, those weaknesses can lead to major problems down the road and even compromise the success of a campaign.

In addition to evaluating the fund-raising program, this phase of the readiness assessment also examines the size and level of maturity of your prospect management program. The goal of this step is to determine whether you currently have enough donors with the financial capacity to support your campaign and whether those donors might be inclined to make larger gifts based on the nature of their relationship with your organization. Here we look at past giving patterns, any wealth screening data available, and a donor-by-donor review of the relationships you have with those individuals who might be able to support the campaign.

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Are your donors ready for a campaign?

Once we have determined that the organization and the fund-raising program are prepared for a campaign, it is time to test this readiness with your donors to determine if they are ready to support your campaign. A feasibility study is the next step in preparing for a campaign to determine the readiness of the organization’s external audience to support the strategic directions or initiatives that have emerged from the institutional planning process.

The feasibility study usually takes between 4 and 6 months, and includes a consultant conducting a series of confidential interviews with a select group of the client’s closest friends and supporters. It is designed to determine whether the project being tested is compelling and exciting enough to your donors that they would be willing to support it in sufficient numbers and with large enough gifts to enable a campaign to be successful. The study also helps to determine what other issues or concerns donors may have regarding supporting your organization generally.

At West Wind Consulting, we believe that like campaigns, feasibility studies accomplish much more than testing the project and proposed campaign goal. That’s why we focus on the quality of the process for our client’s interviewees. From the point of invitation through the interview and follow-up, we work hard to make sure that your interviewees’ experience is professional and meaningful, and that it provides an important opportunity for them to feel closer and more connected to your organization.

The feasibility study results in a report presenting the findings of the interview process and outlining a series of recommendations for proceeding including: a suggested goal, a general campaign strategy, proposed changes to improve the case for support, and a proposed campaign timeline.

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How will you make sure your campaign stays on track?

Once your organization decides to proceed with a campaign, on-going campaign counsel services can help you stay on track. Usually for the duration of a capital campaign, on-going counsel services include assistance in developing and implementing a more comprehensive campaign plan, recruiting and training volunteers, identifying a pool of prospective donors, developing strategies that help prepare donors to be asked to give, and developing individual strategies for soliciting top prospective donors. We also advise on the development of creative and meaningful recognition programs for campaign donors and help resolve complex issues that may arise during the campaign. One way in which counsel can be most helpful is simply to provide a consistent level of focus and accountability that helps everyone associated with the campaign, including staff, organizational leaders and volunteers maintain energy and momentum throughout the campaign.

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