Menu Close

Boots on the Ground

sneakers and boots


Having “boots on the ground” has become a metaphor of late for – if you need to do the hard work, you need be all in. The military reference is obvious, as is the commonly used term “campaign”. Merriam-Webster’s first definition of campaign is: a connected series of military operations forming a distinct phase of a war. Having “all hands on deck” is another often heard navy reference when it comes to campaigns.

I was giving a board presentation about a campaign to a prominent academic medical center in Boston, when the discussion stimulated a comment that fundraising in Boston is a “contact sport”. All heads nodded.

There is no escaping military and sport references in all aspects of life, and that is fine and understandable. Our nation was born from armed conflict and it has remained at the center of our culture ever since.

There is no denying fundraising campaigns are hard fought, require distinct phases, all hands on deck, and sometime leave people a bit injured (bloodied). Campaigns are not to be taken lightly by leadership or advancement staff.

Feasibility and campaign studies aside, when you undertake or contemplate a campaign, are you considering these measures? Do you have enough boots to put on the ground to ensure success? When you get all hands on deck…is the deck crowded or short on crew? Are your troops battle hardened or do they need boot camp and more training to be ready for “combat”? Do you know what victory will look like…beyond reaching goal?

Your takes:

1. Take stock of the fundamentals within your organization early in your campaign planning process.

2. Establish expectations with your leadership as part of the campaign discussion.

3. Make sure you have the right “Generals” leading the charge.

For more information about Copley Raff and its spectrum of consulting services, please see Follow CRI on Twitter @copleyraff.