Leadership Trumps Case…for Reaching Goals

Strategic CampaignsThe campaign landscape has never been more competitive. Nonprofit leaders expect extraordinary outcomes and donors demand greater accountability while resources are stretched thinner every year.

Structuring your campaign right the first time is central to your success. The key to campaign success is energized and committed leadership. You can have the greatest case for campaign support and weak leadership, and you are likely to fall short. With strong leadership, including board, executives and key volunteers, even run-of-the-mill campaign objectives can be achieved.

Copley Raff’s team of senior consultants has been counsel to hundreds of campaigns with goals ranging from $2 million to $200+ million. We will help you develop and execute the essential elements and leadership decisions of a successful campaign.



Campaign Planning

Are You Ready for a Campaign?

Let us help you get clarity for what you need to prepare for a campaign.

Campaign Feasibility Studies differ from Planning Studies. A Feasibility Study suggests that the campaign may or may not occur based on your organization’s readiness. 

A Planning Study assumes that the campaign will occur and the most effective plan is being constructed.  Planning Studies also enable our consultants to serve as surrogates for the development staff, allowing for gift discussions that may emerge during interviews and recruiting campaign volunteers.

We can help you determine which kind of study is best for you.

Key Study Findings

Vision and Plan:  What does success looks like in ten years and is there a plan to make it happen? Does the vision resonate with stakeholders? Do the plan and the associated costs make sense and align with your organization’s plan?

Leadership:  Board, Executive and Development leadership are central to success.  Is everyone on the campaign bus or are key players on the sidelines?  Who will be driving the bus, are there empty seats and are there people to sit in them as active allies?

Case:  The campaign case needs to align with the vision and plan, and resonate with donor candidates.  It needs to be well-written, compelling, convey a sense of urgency, and provide enough detail for general understanding.  Our interviews with leadership are very important and often reveal yet to be considered opportunities and challenges.

Operational Capacity:  A deep analysis of past fundraising activity, staff capacity and much more needs to be part of feasibility considerations.  Analytics need to be done on the donor file and recommendations specific to the organization need to be grounded in best practices and realism.

Engaged or engage-able donor candidates:  Interviews with donors need to include questions of their potential for financial and/or leadership support, and at approximately what level.  Is the organization near or at the top of the interviewee’s philanthropic priorities?  What do they think about your organization’s leadership, management and mission?

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Campaign Leadership

Leadership Trumps Case

Campaigns succeed or fail based on the leadership provided by volunteers, organization executives and the Advancement office. Copley Raff helps you to frame your organization and campaign vision, as well as prepare leadership for the hard work and exhilaration ahead.

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Campaign Fundamentals

Get Your House in Order, First

Copley Raff will assist your organization to make key decisions that must be made before launching a campaign including:


Is there alignment around the campaign case for support?

Do you need a Campaign Feasibility OR Campaign Planning Study?

Is your campaign comprehensive vs. targeted?

Is your Advancement operation ready and scalable over time?

Timing Clarity: duration – when to go public – pledge period

Campaign naming, branding and positioning

Roles of volunteers, advancement staff, leaders and consultants

Staff driven vs. hybrid vs. volunteer driven solicitation

Campaign internal communications

Leadership, staff and volunteer recruitment and training

 Let’s Talk

Giving Considerations

Giving is Multidimensional

Campaigns are about reaching goals, but they are also about cultivating a higher functioning Advancement operation in its wake. Develop a culture in which leadership-by-example and systems-in-place are able to identify donor candidates and long-term strategies for engagement and giving. 

We will help you consider:


Board and “nuclear family” giving

Donor candidate identification, rating and assignment

Donor candidate cultivation and engagement

Making The-Ask: triple Ask, combination giving options

Preserving and growing annual giving during campaigns

Legacy naming opportunities, identification and valuation

Gift recognition and acceptance policies

Donor recognition and stewardship

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Cases for Support

We Will “Right” Them for You

“So why should I support you?”

“Why does your organization merit a gift more so than the other million+ charities registered in the United States?”

“Why Now?”

These are questions that any advancement professional should be able to answer effortlessly and convincingly about their nonprofit organization and campaign.

An organization’s Case for Support should concisely and compellingly document this information. The important word here is “should.” As fundraising consultants, we often speak with nonprofits that “sort-of” have a case, or seem to improvise their funding pitch based on whatever fire they are currently trying to extinguish. Are you “sort-of” guilty of this as well?

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Qualitative vs. Quantitative Studies

Copley Raff’s campaign studies provide qualitative interpretations of donor interviews and research.  

Many consulting firms typically provide quantitative information with the number of donor’s responses to various questions. 

This is NOT statistically significant or strategically valuable. 

Copley Raff’s qualitative approach allows for the evolution and customization of donor interview content to address emergent issues in real time. Our campaign studies provide insightful and actionable recommendations to deliver campaign success.

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