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Building in Good Faith - Green Building Resource for Religious Institutions

Fundraising Green Dollars: Making the Case for Building Green - 3

Creating your Team

Capital campaigns for building projects are intensive efforts, requiring the committed and coordinated actions of many people. You will need a leadership team to make your campaign successful.

Who will make up your team?

Finding the right members of your community to serve on your fundraising team is important to your project's success.

The Campaign Manager

A good Campaign Manager is critical to your campaign's success. Such a person can either be one of your existing staff, a lay leader, or an outside professional.

Ask yourself the following questions as you seek to identify this person. Do you have an individual on your staff, or a lay leader, who has the project management ability to coordinate the activities, processes and people for a capital campaign. (including everything from managing the prospect lists, to entering information in your computer database, to getting gift thank you's quickly signed and sent, scheduling and reminding people about meetings, keeping meeting minutes, and generally keeping things on track. If you do, is this someone who can take on campaign duties without jeopardizing their other key responsibilities? Do you need to hire an in-house campaign director, or a part-time staff-person to take on some of the responsibilities normally handled by your campaign manager? These are the kinds of questions you need to consider when deciding on the manager of your capital campaign.

You may decide to hire an outside campaign consultant, who has significant experience in managing capital campaigns. This kind of person can provide a template for the activities and their timing that go into a successful campaign, or can serve themselves as project manager. Importantly, having been through campaigns before, fundraising consultants can provide indispensible "hand-holding" for both staff and volunteers during what can often be an anxiety producing time.

Whatever you decide regarding your campaign manager, successful green building projects are almost always run by a manager who understands the value of green building. When you select and orient your campaign manager, make sure he or she understands the importance of green building to the Campaign's identity, and the ways that the green dimension of a capital campaign can support fundraising efforts.

The Campaign Committee

Another key part of your leadership team is the volunteers who will serve on your campaign committee (or, its sub-committees, whether determined by function--such as finance, or community outreach, etc.--or by target donor group--such as major donors, parents (in the case of a school), seniors, etc.). These leaders will be among the most important solicitors of gifts for your campaign. Though your head staff person--whether clergy or lay--plays a key role in actually asking for support, nothing makes for success in campaigns as much as "peer" asking "peer"--where the essential message is: "I've made a commitment and I hope you will join me."

Asking others for money is something nearly all of us approach with trepidation. So, you want to assemble a volunteer team of people with a can-do attitude…people who will make the call or visit at the time they're assigned to do so. Remember: people can be taught how to ask for funds. Indeed, something to which your campaign committee ought to devote time early on in your process is "role playing"--with committee members sometimes playing askers and sometimes donors given different scenarios (the "skeptical" prospect, etc.). What cannot be taught is the willingness to make the asks for the good of your organization and community. Identifying those askers is a key to your success.

The members of your Campaign Committee should be well-educated about the green aspects of your building project. Make sure that they receive regular updates about the green aspects of your project so that they can integrate information about this into the conversations they have with other members of your community. Help your Committee members understand and articulate why the greenness of your project is meaningful to them. This will help them make more effective requests for support to the donors they visit.

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