Campaign Readiness Article Campaign Readiness Article

by Lynn Shevory

Posted April 23, 2021

Campaigns are an opportunity to transform both your mission and your fundraising practice. They offer a powerful platform for rethinking your philanthropic enterprise, taking calculated risks, and reaching further. Done well, campaigns go well beyond the bottom line, leaving your organization in a stronger position for sustainable philanthropy and growth.

That said, undertaking a campaign is not an easy endeavor. As with any adventure, before embarking, one must be well-prepared!

Seasoned fundraisers know that thoughtful planning before the launch of a campaign is critical to its success. A solid track record of principal and major gifts is indispensable, but true success requires much more than great prospects—ambitious talent, strategic business plans, and careful integration are also essential. How can those intangibles be measured and how should they be evaluated alongside other necessities?

Conceptualizing and executing a comprehensive assessment of strengths and challenges can be daunting. We suggest that you set the stage for your campaign by asking questions related to our four Key Indicators© of Campaign Success: 1) Case, 2) Leadership, 3) Prospects, and 4) Infrastructure.


  • Is your case urgent and compelling?
  • Does it demonstrate impact?
  • Does the case align with a strategic plan?
  • Does it instill confidence in ways that will encourage leaders and prospects to champion its goals?



  • Is fundraising a top priority for your Board?
  • Are Board members giving to the best of their ability?
  • Will leadership be actively engaged and feel well supported?
  • Are expectations and roles clear?
  • Do donors have high regard for your leadership?



  • Are donors and dollars on the rise, consistent, or declining?
  • Does reliable and relevant prospect information exist?
  • Are donors and prospects well-informed and engaged already?
  • Is strategic cultivation and solicitation occurring and highly prioritized?



  • Do staff size, structure, and skills align with opportunities and expectations?
  • Are systems and practices efficient?
  • Are strong management tools in place?
  • Is the ROI responsible and appropriate?

While you might not have answers to all these questions, they can provide a lens through which to evaluate your readiness and priorities. Of course, because every organization is different, so should be every campaign. However, whether you are considering a large capital campaign, a mid-sized comprehensive campaign, or a smaller interest-specific fundraising effort, by focusing on these four key indicators of success, options and considerations will become clearer and an informed path forward will reveal itself.

Is your institution preparing to enter a campaign? Whether it’s your first or your next campaign, whether you need to raise $10 million, $100 million, or $500 million, we want to partner with you. Learn more about our campaign services.

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