For Impact


Yeast For A Stalled Campaign Effort

Campaigns (Funding the Vision) | | Nick Fellers

I’ve spent the last two days with a start-up high school in the midwest (founded in 2003) trying to help re-energize a $10M campaign effort that’s stalled at $1M. Following the two days I asked the school and volunteer leadership to identify their biggest epiphanies from the two days. What started out as feedback turned into a learning framework…. shared here with permission for your vicarious thinking and learning (and maybe a little bit of [our] pride).

[The first person statements come from the director of development]
  • Before we were thinking about making presentations. Now we think about conversations.
  • Before, our main point was we needed a building. Now we focus on the vision of the school. We’re thinking bigger. We’re talking about why someone would want to make an investment in this. It’s about the vision, not the building.
  • Before, our thinking was about giving levels. Now, we’re raising the levels and thinking about investments.
  • Before, we didn’t know what to say or how to approach our master prospect list. Now, I know what to say and now I know how to approach those people.
  • Before, we had an internal administrative concern that if we go after the building, we’d cannibalize our operating budget. Now, we have a total view, a comprehensive approach that includes building our vision, planning for the future, and maintaining our current budget.
  • Before, I was the only guy! There was a high level of gray area and confusion about our roles. Now, there’s clarity. Everyone is encouraged and wants to be used.
  • Before, everyone was expecting me to figure it out. Now, the Board is excited. We’re not just meeting our bare needs.
  • Before, there was concern that we didn’t have a clear, consistent, and compelling message. We didn’t have this before, but we’re closer now.
  • Before, we couldn’t figure out our funding plan. We didn’t see how we could do it. But now we do!
  • Before, we didn’t have enough involved champions. Now we’re getting great involvement. They are stepping forward. This wouldn’t have been possible before, because we had no plan, no ideas on how to work with the champions. We now know what they can do.
  • Before, we didn’t know how to tell the story. Now we know we need to show the story.
  • Before, there were higher expectations of videos. Now those don’t seem as important. We see the value in simpler, different, more interactive presentation tools. It’s less presentation and more discussion.