Secrets to Maintaining Your Capital Campaign’s Momentum

The Magic of Capital Campaign Momentum

Is your organization enjoying the benefits of robust capital campaign momentum? In fact, many campaigns struggle to maintain this important success factor.  

Momentum is a magic quality that can speed things along in your campaign like an ocean wave. When there is positive energy and momentum, everything is working in your favor.

Your volunteer campaign leaders feel the spark.

They are in action, in touch with you and each other. They’re talking often with you and other volunteers – collaborating on strategy to nail major and mega gifts for your campaign.

Your board knows that things are going well.

This means they are supportive, encouraged, and positive. They show up for campaign events. They cheerlead the staff. They are willing to spend money on the campaign when they see gifts flowing in.

 Best of all, positive momentum attracts donors.

When gifts are coming in often, and there are celebrations everywhere, new donors get inspired. They feel the energy of a successful cause, and join the bandwagon.  Your campaign literally attracts donors. 

This week we are sharing three ways to encourage, manage and maintain that magic spark of momentum.  These are also our top three strategies we use to keep client campaigns moving forward vigorously. 

And if you are thinking about capital campaigns – be sure to check out our new 5-part course.

How Do You Create and Maintain Capital Campaign Momentum?

 It starts with you. 

Often, it’s up to the staff to provide inspiration. Your own personal energy is infectious. Your smile encourages others to smile. And more, your can-do attitude inspires everyone else to be positive. 

1. Focus on Positive Steps – No Negativity Allowed

If you are trying to change the world, you don’t get there by worrying about failure. 

You have to keep your eye on the horizon. Stay focused on your goal and the wonderful possibilities of your campaign. And remind everyone of the vision for the future. 

 Any group of people – a board, a campaign committee – can easily be swayed by a naysayer who speaks strongly and negatively. You need to put a stop to it immediately, if at all possible. 

2. Use Your Consultants

Consultants play a vital leadership role in a campaign. Once the board develops trust and confidence in us, then they will listen to an objective third party. 

In our experience, we have been able to dig campaigns out of a roadblock and move forward, solely by focusing on a few positive and achievable next steps. 

Also, we like to keep in close contact with our campaign clients. We are constantly on the phone or a zoom meeting with board leaders, key volunteers, and staff. It is important for a consultant to stay in touch, always willing to provide leadership and a careful guiding hand to keep the momentum going. 

Keep people focused on their “to-do” list. That is our strategy. What are positive steps they can take right now – this week and this month – to be sure the campaign is moving along?  

Consultants often are an experienced and objective guiding hand to help maintain capital campaign momentum. If you have a consultant to help your campaign reach its goal, be sure to use them (or us)!

 3. Make Sure Big Meetings are Well Organized and Encouraging

Campaign and board meetings can be pivotal to your momentum. They can either foster a lack of energy – or positive momentum. Good energy or a sour tone. We’ve all been there. 

One of our secrets is to hold fast-paced, high-energy campaign and board meetings. We intentionally prep our speakers, design the agenda, and set up positive news – these steps are surprisingly crucial to maintaining successful campaign momentum.

Yes, these steps take time. It takes time to coach presenters and engage with meeting participants in advance. And these steps may seem less important than other activities.

But this is truly what it takes to implement a successful gathering of key leaders. You don’t want to leave this to chance – too many things can go wrong. 

Bottom Line: Maintaining Your Capital Campaign Momentum  

It’s up to you. Momentum can make or break your campaign. So be positive, use your consultants for leadership and guidance, and always stage your big meetings carefully. 

More Secrets to Successful Capital Campaigns

This in-depth 5-part webinar series shows you how to adapt, change, and successfully execute your institution’s campaign – even during these uncertain, unfamiliar days. 

If you are running a capital campaign, now or in the future, make sure to check out our powerful new course by clicking the link below. 

Capital Campaigns in Times of Crisis: 5 Keys to Success – Access Now

How do we attract, develop and retain good fundraisers?young_leaders_stock

At last week’s International Fundraising Congress, many of us were transfixed by a provocative conversation about “The Emerging Fundraising Leadership Challenge.

International fundraising guru Tony Elischer, managing director of Think Consulting Solutions, and 5 dynamic women:  Rory Green,  Maria Ros Jernberg,  Joanne Warner,  Elise Ledsinger, and  Lucy Gower led the conversation.

(By the way, if you have not discovered Rory Green’s hilarious Fundraiser Grrl Tumbler feed, go there right now and subscribe for some much-needed laughs!)

The presenters bemoaned what it’s like for emerging fundraising leaders who are looking for a bright future.

How do we spot, train and develop young talented  – and especially tech-savvy –  fundraisers?

Is fundraising leadership “pale, stale and male?”

Do you agree? Let’s talk about the “stale” part of the above sentence.

Everything is changing about fundraising today. (You’re probably tired of hearing me say to you, “fundraising has changed.”)

Our industry is being blown apart by new technology and new ideas.

Our industry is being blown apart by new technology tools.

Our industry is being blown apart by new technology tools.

The way we communicate is changing drastically.

What donors expect and respond to is very different.

So the stale ideas that are prevalent in so many boardrooms and executive suites are clearly not going to take us where we need to go.

And stale ideas are not going to keep talented fundraisers around.

31% of fundraisers left their jobs because of an “old-school culture of fundraising.”

What’s the old school culture look like?

  • It’s when the president of a college tells me “I don’t know whether to believe my staff.” (This has happened to me more than once!)
  • It’s when the board members think they know more about fundraising than staff does.
  • It’s when your leaders aren’t willing to try out anything new – just sticking with the same old stale fundraising efforts year after year.
  • It’s when a toxic culture squashes young fundraisers’ ideas and dreams.

Penelope Burk found that 40% of fundraisers said that conflicting opinions  on HOW to raise the money was making them leave their jobs. 

Try a “Risk” or “New Strategies” Fund as part of your development budget.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had a budget item for new technology or to try out new ideas?

Remember, this small pool of money will very likely pay itself back before you know it!

Does your organization have a "stuck in the past" attitude toward fundraising?

Does your organization have a “stuck in the past” attitude toward fundraising?

I like fundraisers who say “give me one dollar and I’ll give you $4 back within two years.”

That’s what a risk fund can help support.

This way you won’t have to deal with the perennial, “We don’t have it in the budget.”

If you have an innovative culture, your staff feels supported to try out new technologies.

And you’ll probably emerge on top in a few years too.

Could it be that the leaders of charities do not appreciate fundraising or talented fundraisers?

Whoa! They don’t appreciate fundraising?  And/or they don’t appreciate “internal fundraising competence?”

Could it be that there is something “fundamentally wrong with the internal culture of many organizations,” in that fundraisers, and particularly talented young women fundraisers —  are not respected, appropriately rewarded or listened to?

(I have to say, what else is new here?)

The presenters called the situation “shameful at every level.”

If you want to be successful, fundraising needs to be integrated into every aspect of your organization.

Everyone needs to understand fundraising and their role in supporting donors and the overall fundraising effort.

I’ll be writing and speaking more in the coming months about how to develop a stronger culture of philanthropy at your organization.

Screen shot from the Fundraisergrrl tumbler feed!

Screen shot from the Fundraisergrrl tumbler feed! Our go-to place for humor!

Can you create a culture in your organization that inspires risk and change?

  • Can you make employees feel important and valued?
  • Can you set a good example of work-life balance?
  • Can you create a culture that values the work fundraisers do?
  • Can you make your employees feel safe and supported?

Do you want to keep your best young talent?

Then make sure you appreciate and recognize “the skills and insights of the next generation of leaders.”

I’m willing to bet our sector could do a much better job than we are doing.

Finding and cultivating new talent has got to be a priority to help lead us to a powerful and productive future.

If you agree, leave a comment!


So come on everybody – let’s make a pledge to the new ‘Grow it, Be it, Value it’ Campaign.

Join the movement to value talent, invest in the next generation, be open to change, look for and nurture new fundraisers coming up in the ranks!

Read all about the Leadership Crisis in Fundraising here. It’s worth your time but it might make you angry!

Give me a comment! Do you agree or NOT?