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A 10-point readiness assessment

Few nonprofit leaders would launch a capital campaign with no preparation, but many don’t know how to determine how ready they are to start one.

During the 2013 Bridge to Integrated Marketing conference, Nan McConnell of The McConnell Consulting Group and Suzanne Bissell of Bissell Philanthropy Services offered a Campaign Readiness Assessment. They gave a 10-item list of questions, assigning 1 point for a “No” answer, 2 points for “Somewhat” and 3 points for “Yes.”

If you get 25 points or more, you are ready to get going. Scoring 20 to 24 points means the organization needs to build current programs over a year or two, and less than 20 means the organization must strengthen its weaknesses before considering a campaign.

The questions are start with does the organization/institution have:

  • A history of a successful annual giving program?
  • Board members who understand campaigns and their role as donors and leaders?
  • A project with a compelling case and preliminary cost estimates?
  • Influential volunteers willing and able to commit time and major financial resources?
  • A positive image in your constituency and the larger community?
  • Sufficient and realistic donors at the highest levels.
  • The ability to commit adequate executive staff?
  • Resources to support campaign expenses before gifts and pledges are paid?
  • A development office with adequate information systems and other resources to support expanded fundraising?
  • A fundraising plan identifying the structures, steps, people, materials, timetable and budget needed?

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