Testing your board’s campaign readiness

At the first hint that a major gifts or capital campaign is in the cards for an organization– even if the launch date is a year or two into the future — board members should begin immediately to prepare themselves for their leadership role. As many an expert on governance has observed, as the board performs, so goes the fundraising program. Especially during a campaign.

The following 8-question survey comes as a do-it-yourself feasibility study of board readiness. Take a few minutes to rate your board on  the following statements using a five point scale. A 1 suggests you’ve got some serious work to do. A 5 indicates exemplary performance on the part of the board. 

Be brutally honest in your assessment. The results are between you and the rest of the board.

  1. The board is at full membership and attendance at meetings is strong.
  2. Board members own the organization’s plan for the future because we helped shape it in partnership with the CEO.
  3. Board members support the organization with our annual gifts.
  4. Board members are prepared to make (or at least are willing to consider) their sacrificial leadership gifts to a campaign.
  5. Board members are committed to the idea of a campaign and are willing and able to recruit others to the effort.
  6. A majority of board members have major gift experience or are willing to learn on the job.
  7. A majority of board members are able and willing to put in the extra time required for campaign meetings, donor cultivation events, and solicitation calls.
  8. Board members understand that the bulk of campaign support will come from individuals, not from foundations or businesses.

You don’t need a big-bucks consultant to let you know if your board is up to the challenge of a campaign effort. The proof is in the numbers.

A score of 35 to 40 suggests the board is primed to lead the way toward a successful campaign effort. A total of 20 to 30 is a clue that there’s some educating to be done. A score of less than 20 means the board and the organization have serious work ahead before tackling a campaign.

Beginning to do now what will be required of them later makes the transition to campaign mode a whole lot easier for a board. I promise.

What's your take on this topic?

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