Campaigns and Strategic Planning

npeterman225By Nancy Peterman, Partner

A successful campaign is built upon a compelling case for support. We are often called upon to help clients craft a case when they are in the initial stages of contemplating a campaign. Those institutions that have just concluded or updated their strategic plan are in the best position to begin preparing their case. As an organization prepares for a major fundraising campaign, its case for support should be grounded in its strategic plan. There are numerous ways for nonprofits to go about strategic planning and, thus, one size does not fit all. What is most important is developing an inclusive approach appropriate to the culture of your particular organization. Regardless of what approach is designed, most planning efforts have these components:

  • A clear mission statement.
  • A vision statement that is bold and compelling.
  • Input from a variety of interested and involved stakeholders.
  • Enlightened leadership.
  • A delineation of the programs needed to carry out the mission.
  • And a description of the human, capital, and financial resources necessary to support those programs.

Ideally the planning process will yield a vision that can inspire the campaign and specific program objectives that can be translated into capital, endowment, and current support priorities for the campaign. It is important that the organization have such a strategically grounded approach to the campaign, but the most successful campaigns develop these priorities specific to those your organization serves. Successful planning efforts in advance of a campaign engage not only organization leaders, but also engage donors and volunteers as the planning process is unfolding.

Many organizations like to allow six-to-12 months for a comprehensive strategic planning process with involvement from organization leaders, staff, board members, volunteers and the community. Such participation requires a masterful leadership effort from these different constituencies in crafting a multi-faceted plan running the gamut from programming to endowment, and ultimately, the campaign.