For Impact


To Campaign Or Not To Campaign: That Is The Question

Campaigns (Funding the Vision) | | Nick Fellers

Let’s do word association:

What comes to mind when you see this word?


Add your thoughts in the comments section below. Will be interesting to see what people say.

You know we’re really big on vocabulary. Words have meaning. Words are important. This ‘word’ may be the granddaddy of them all. Especially if your definition of campaign involves feasibility studies, committees, a ‘capital campaign launch’, etc.

Think about this: It’s often easier to raise $5M than it is to run a $5M campaign.

Some readers are not allowed to start a campaign without jumping through a number of hoops in their community.

Last week I was with an organization on the east coast. This organization had completed the funding $40M of projects in the last three years. We were gathered to strategize the next project: to be around $10M. This gathering (nine people total) included major, major community philanthropists and long-time high-level supporters.

One of the board members asked if this was going to be a ‘campaign’. What followed could best be described as a ‘freak out session’.

  • “We have too many capital campaigns in this city already.”
  • “If we’re going to do a campaign we might want to look at the annual campaign model the Y uses.”
  • “I don’t want to do a feasibility study.”
  • “Campaigns are scary.”

Mind you, we had $40M toward $50M and roundtable full of people with capacity (also strong relationships).

Sometimes we would do better to let go of the baggage associated with campaigns and just execute on a plan to fund projects or fund a vision.

If you haven’t done so, read Tom’s campaign book for many more high-level thoughts to help you with your campaign.