In the nonprofit world, it’s important to care about those you serve, but when it comes to fundraising, is that enough?
I Can Do That Performing Arts Center is a nonprofit children’s theatre company dedicated to creating professional, full-scale musicals by combining quality training with imagination, freedom, and fun. And Shayna Ronen, Co-Founder and Executive Director, believes in fostering empowered, flourishing youth through sustained community, wellness, and the power of the performing arts.
In this episode, Shayna shares the story of their first capital campaign where she needed to raise $750,000 with no prior fundraising experience. Listen to hear how she reached out to their community and found the confidence she needed to fully commit to the process.
Looking for that elusive fundraising confidence boost? Check out our webinar on the role of leadership development in successful fundraising and then check out these New Years’ rituals for nonprofit professionals. Happy New Year from all of us at Network for Good!
- Be okay with yourself
- Celebrate the wins, big and small
- Focus on the human-to-human connections
Episode 6 Transcript
Shayna: I love our community so much. These kids, these families have changed my life tremendously. And the last thing I want to do is not deliver. So that was where I found a lot of my pressure coming from myself. The worst thing I could do is let them down is say, I’m going to do this and not accomplish it
Kimberly: in the nonprofit world. It’s important to care deeply for those we serve. But when it comes to fundraising is not enough. I’m Kimberly O’Donnell and this is Accidental Fundraiser, a show from Network for Good, that shares radically authentic stories from the trenches.
I Can Do That Performing Arts Center is a nonprofit children’s theater company dedicated to creating professional full-scale musicals by combining quality training with imagination, freedom and fun, and Shayna Ronan, founder and executive director believes in fostering empowered flourishing youth through sustained community wellness and the power of the performing arts after operating for years on tuition and small groups.
They suddenly needed to raise $750,000. Yes. $750,000 to accommodate their growing program. And with no prior experience in fundraising, Shana reached out to their community and found the confidence she needed to fully commit to the process. How did their journey unfold? Let’s join the conversation, starting with Shayna’s strategy.
As they launched their very first capital campaign.
Shayna: We’ve planned a lot ahead of time and what our ideas were was obviously we’re going to do everything we can on social media. Getting the word out in those ways, we are gonna talk to every local business, big and small. I’ve been a part of the, you know, chamber of commerce for three years.
And I know so many people in town, so I was going to work those connections to the best of our ability. And we’d created these like waterfall pro portfolios so that we were going to ask for a meeting. And then meet in person, give them this, you know, portfolio to see all the information, go through our presentation and then, you know, see what happens.
And we never got to do that because of COVID because of COVID. Yeah. So it was like a knife to the heart and pocket book, honestly, like we’d print it all up, you know, like we spent all this time on graphics and just getting it organized and clear to then hardly use a lot of that was rough. But on the first day that we announced the project, someone came to the center and gave us a hundred thousand.
Kimberly: hundred thousand dollars. Did you know the person?
Shayna: Yes. She and they are the parents of a couple of our students. Who’ve been with us since day one. And so she’s experienced who we are that we live our word and already knew that this was a project that we were moving toward. We basically crumbled to the ground and cried, you know, just to have that immediate validation was huge.
And then as we started prepping to, uh, reach out to other individuals and businesses and foundations and all of that, I was out to dinner one night with my husband and my kids. And I got a phone call from one of our parents, which I always pick up. Cause it could be something who knows what right. And she told us.
We love you. We believe in you guys. We’d like to give you 50,000. And so I’m like head down on the table sobbing. So a lot of things came out of places that I did not see coming and didn’t expect. And that’s so much of this journey was, um, what I thought was like a given this was going to happen in this way was not.
Which is really interesting looking back that those phone calls and, and that, you know, mother walking up with that check was not something we saw coming, but it gave us the confidence in the beginning. We’re like, okay, we have these two people who believe in us. I bet there are more, I hope there are
Kimberly: more your first two downers and boom.
You have $150,000. It is a confidence builder. It’s also interesting. I mean, with your capital campaign, And because this was the first time you are doing it, or you had done it. You may not have realized there’s like a quiet phase where you start to garner gifts and you kind of build that base of large gifts.
And then you kind of launched the public phase of it. You guys didn’t even do that. You just re you just launched it. And you said, Hey, here we go. And the dollar spirited coming in, which is, which is fantastic. And you said that you heavily used social media. What else were you doing since you could not meet one-on-one with people and share those beautiful, you know, portfolios that you’d put together
Shayna: when COVID had, especially, we knew we had to pivot, there was no option and we also took a beat and we’re like, can we even do this?
Like, who’s going to donate now. How are we even going to run our business right now? We can’t do productions. So we moved our whole business with all of our kids and they started rehearsing from my front yard and my driveway and my backyard just to keep the company going.
And what it boiled down to was community and was people and we just needed to get. Personal and get close to them and make sure it was a scary time. We all remember the beginning and wiping off our groceries and all that stuff. And like, how does it really get transmitted? All of that was terrifying. So we wanted our community to know that we’re like with them and we love them.
And so Jewish and I got in the car and we drove to probably about 200 homes and dropped off little bags of candy for the kids. Every kid and it took us weeks to do it. So these little tiny bags of Hershey kisses with a little note from us saying, we love you so first we just wanted to make sure that like they’re okay.
We’re okay So everything’s going on on social media. We’re still saying that we’re going forward with this and then really it became this like letter writing campaign. We sent out email first with information about the fundraiser, what we were looking to do. And then after I sent that, then I wrote handwritten card.
To also about 250, if not closer to 300 families and handwritten cards and handwritten address labels, I’m not going to print an address label that looks like a business. And I want it to be from me as a human, to a human. So I hand wrote everything and I did the same with businesses. So all of the local businesses and the larger companies.
So we have like Clorox is here and other larger. Companies like that. I did the same thing with them, sent them a personalized, something, hoping something would come from something. Now some of some people responded pretty immediately and were like, yeah, we’d love to talk. Or that was so sweet. Thank you so much.
You know, we’ve been thinking that I think we’d be able to do like $250 or something like that. Right. So people started just offering. But I had this crazy spreadsheet of every single person and I was tracking every touch that we had with them. So every person we then sent an email saying, can we set up a time to talk?
And just kept following up in a kind way. And I pretty much got no responses from the businesses big or small. And that was a total shock to me. I was expecting, you know, out of all the money, we were hoping to raise that maybe like 60% of it or more was going to be from businesses. What’s $10,000. To a business versus a family, and we’re a nonprofit and that looks really good for a company that they’re supporting local youth.
One thing was we’re going to have a donor wall and to be on the donor wall, you had to give $10,000 and up. And I got pushed back on that too. That that number was too high, but I couldn’t. Uh, you know, I had to do larger chunks to make this actually move. So then I’m emailing back and then we’re setting up zoom calls and we’re doing the presentation over zoom.
And it was pretty much scripted in the sense of, I knew the points I had to cover, and then had the points she had to cover. And I would say that. Probably 90% of those that turns into videos turned into dollars, the move they made,
Kimberly: that they made the commitment to meet with you.
Shayna: took the step, right? Yeah. And what I learned was which I think maybe is obvious now, looking back that if they made an appointment to meet with me, they already know about how much they want to get. They’ve had a conversation as a couple or as a business or as a foundation of what they think would be possible
Kimberly: as you had those meetings. Did you do any research on the individuals and the companies before you met with them? Or did you just kind of,
Shayna: I really just took a chance, you know, for the past three years, I know like all the detail about these kids. I know the classes they don’t like at school. I know who their buddies are, you know?
You know what their stresses are at home or at school. And, but I don’t know that much about the families. So it actually got really strange and kind of uncomfortable because I was like, oh, they drove up in a Tesla. Like now I’m noticing things that I feel really crappy. That I’m noticing, but we were trying to figure out where do we go?
Who do we talk to? Who do we really try to spend more energy toward? But also what I learned was those that I really thought would give some of them gave, but generally the ones that I really thought would be. Did not or did in a smaller way than I anticipated and people who I had no idea, they would be able to support us so much came out of the woodwork.
So we did try to do some. Understanding of, of who we thought were our highest targets, which that’s a terrible word, but you know, you only have so much time in a day. I’m raising kids at home who are now doing zoom at home. I have kids in my front yard and backyard. You have to be smart about how you say, you know, spend your time.
But really the ones I went after the most were not the ones to give the most. It is
Kimberly: interesting and it often happens. And so I want to touch on the point that you made though, that people of all different wealth levels, Kenyans, and some are more generous than others. And often it’s because of their affinity, their personal connection to you, their beliefs.
Charitable giving, you know, the intangibles that we don’t always know. So as a coach, I always recommend that people make the ask, ask everybody, ask all of your beneficiaries in your case, it’s all of the students’ families. You know, what can they get? And maybe the family key, again, maybe the grandparent could give, but we should never, never pass judgment and say, well, this one kid can, then this other one can, instead we invite everybody to support our.
Shayna: Yeah, because ultimately it’s their choice. I’m not forcing anybody to give. They are so allowed to say that doesn’t work for us this year, but thank you for asking, but we’re giving them really an opportunity to have some like ownership and making this come to life. And that’s true. We saw grandparents able to give a lot of our parents and we asked them.
Started birthday fundraisers for us or during giving Tuesday and over, you know, the end of the year started fundraisers for us through their friends and saying, could you give just $10 to this thing that we believe in? And we got thousands of dollars that way. One of the sweetest stories that was like another crying puddle on the floor was one of our students.
Came up to us Jewish and I together with an envelope full of cash and said, I’ve been saving my allowance for years. And I want you guys to have it and gave us a thousand dollars that she’s been saving for years. Cause she’s like, you guys have saved me. This is my safe place and I want this to happen.
Kimberly: What a story? Oh, I got for her sin. What a gift? I mean, those
types of gifts, they just, they do. They, they touch you. They warm your heart. So you raised $750,000. Um, well,
Kimberly: hurrah, how long did it take and what was your next step after.
Shayna: We started fundraising in November of 2019. And we stopped the campaign December 31st, 2020, so a little over a year.
And once we were done, we were done. That was it. We had surpassed our goal. And we were deep in the thick of, of creating the center. So we had broken ground, I think, in like March or something like that for the center. So w money was going out before money was coming in. Right. Which is something also that people advise me not to do.
I got a lot of advice of like, you are putting yourself in a hole. Like you can’t start the work until you have all the money. And I was like, or. I can, and it creates a level of urgency. And it did cause we were showing videos constantly of, oh my God, like, look, the installations in our, our building looks like cotton candy right now.
You know? So like every week they’re seeing like all of these things getting delivered and, and so it’s happening, they’re seeing it happening and they’re seeing their dollars at work immediately. So come the end of 2020. Uh, fundraising was done. We were hard at work. Just getting the center, physically ready, still in the pandemic.
We didn’t know one when the building was going to be completed to, are we even going to be able to have people inside our building when it opens? You don’t know? And with something that we learned over COVID, which I think a lot of us did is like, I’m not even going to think about it because so much has changed.
All of the time you make all of these plans, you make all of these ideas and it all goes out the window. So we’re like we, once we hear where we’re going, we’re going to have to move really fast. And thankfully we’re a small business and we can move very, very fast. So no hires, it was still just at that point, just me.
And a part of the, I can do that team and a flash forward to now we’ve employed over 50 people since we opened in April. Wow. Incredible. Incredible.
Kimberly: Okay. So absolutely amazing success. Kudos to you. Let’s dive into how you had all these new donors.
How do you continue that momentum with them? Certainly you’re showing them how the building is progressing and that’s exciting, but what is your donor retention look like?
Shayna: We don’t know yet, because we’re just now starting this month to start asks again in a different way, right before it was to physically build this building.
And now that is not the case. Now it’s for safety and growth. There’s so much to do. There’s so much we can do that. Donations can help us move to faster, but we don’t need the donations to survive. Our company is doing well. We’re back to that model of the tuition and all of that drives the company, but there’s so many things to do that, that extra funds can just move us in quicker.
So as these donors came in, you know, immediately as you can, I’m sure. Imagine once we got a donation from anyone. And I did $50 or up, they got a handwritten card from me, but we, in October of 2020 set up a, a donor appreciation kind of dinner. So it was outside and had cocktails and, you know, it was super sweet.
It was just in this gorgeous location and we got up and we spoke about each group. And why we’re so thankful to have them on our donor wall, their names, as people walk by and see who contributed and who believed in these kids and their ability and giving them a safe space. So drisha, and I, you know, had our people and we’d talked to them in front of everybody and thank them.
And it was all personal. Cause we have. Had really close relationships with these people, or we were developing close relationships with them. And then at the end, um, we had a screen up and I made a video about that year, how hard it was that these kids are struggling and that you’re giving them something that they’re looking forward to.
And kind of showing them behind the scenes of what it’s like to be a part of. I can do that, what it’s like to audition, what it’s like to like be backstage and like excited before you go on what it’s like to like hug and be so happy and so sad when the show’s over and going to a cast party. And we do like sleepovers that I can do that, you know, like see it from the kid’s perspective of what this life is like a part of I can do.
And now we’re in this dark scary, isolated moment, but there’s a light and you turn the light on and thank you.
As the building was coming to be, once it was open, we did a party for them at the center. And they were the first ones to see the finished building. Right. So we opened it up for them before we let anybody else through.
And we had like champagne and sparkling cider and they were able to walk through the space. And so many of the pictures that you can see here that are in the building, these are all of our students. And a lot of them are the donuts. Kids too. We wanted to include them as well. So they get to walk in, walk around this amazing 6,000 square foot space and be like, oh my God, there’s a Rosie.
And these pictures aren’t going to change. They’re here forever. We can add more pictures in our hallways. There’s tons more space, but this is how the studios are going to look period. So, these are gonna be the kids that 10 years from now, little kids are like, oh my God, did you hear about Sean? Do you know what Sean’s doing these days?
It was a really beautiful moment for all of us. It sounds like
Kimberly: it, and those are some great donor recognition activities that you did. And it sounds like you did it perfectly. Right. Which is you just thank them. You don’t ask for more. You don’t ask for next, at the time you just. Korean opportunity to say thank you for your contribution, the difference that you’ve made.
That’s awesome. So I want it kind of dive into some of the key things that you’ve learned about fundraising being an accidental fundraiser. What are some of the highs and lows that you’ve found over the past year and a half that you’ve been actively fundraising?
Shayna: It’s hard. It’s scary. The biggest work I believe is keeping yourself.
Okay. Granted, if people are doing this, like as their job, this is what they do day in and day out. They’ve trained for this. Maybe it’s a little less pressure. I’m not sure. But as a business owner who was like, we sink or swim with this, you’re all in your family is all in, you know, and it’s overwhelming and it’s scary and it’s a roller coaster.
And so being able to be okay with me was the most important if I’m not okay. If I’m not empowered, how am I supposed to empower anybody? I can’t. So I have to truly take care of me and especially my mental health, because I have an obsessive personality where I get so excited and it’s all I want to do, you know, and like, ah, I see nothing else and that’s great to a point, but then you can also start presenting it because you’re exhausted.
So you have to be able to pause and like breathe so that you don’t push yourself over those. Another thing is to really celebrate the wins. So we get a, a donation of a hundred thousand dollars. We’re like in tears, freaking out, taking videos of ourselves, posting it to social media, showing people like, wow.
Right. But also we got mailed a $20 bill and we framed it. We were like, That’s $20. I didn’t have to find, I didn’t have to fight for right. We’re that much closer. And I noticed that my brain always went to, okay, so that’s a hundred thousand dollars. So that means we’re at 6 39. So if we have like three more months, like I always go into the math of like, okay, now where are we?
But I always did my best to stop myself and take a moment to like, truly celebrate it. All of it, celebrate it internally yourself, your company, and celebrate it externally. We created this gift or I guess it wasn’t, it was just a video. I have a bunch of our students from a performance. And they were like jumping up and down on stage, like hugging each other.
And every time we got to a new major jump, which really we ended up doing it, I think almost every month, we’d put out that video with the new number and saying like, last time we were at this, we’re now up another $175,000. And during COVID. Depressed and exhausted and overwhelmed. And they’re like, good God.
These people are raising hundreds of thousands of dollars. And people were so proud and people I did not even know were like following our story because it was some joy. There was some. Something you also said before is if you don’t ask, you don’t get right. It’s hard. The ask is hard, but that’s okay. I think trusting your instincts is really big.
Nobody has your business. Nobody knows how to run your company and you got to trust your gut to an extent. And that also goes along with being. Particular about whose advice you take a bunch of books I’ve read and things I’ve, I’ve watched have said, don’t take criticism from someone you wouldn’t take advice from.
You know, I only have a couple people in my life that I feel like they could tell me something I’ll be like, I really need to see if I have to shift majorly. Everything else is just information and it could be huge and helpful, or you can be like, I get that. Doesn’t apply to me. I don’t think so. And also like, I could be wrong, like, I don’t know, but I’m making them the best decision.
I think I can. Um, that was another analogy I used a lot is like, I picture us on this like scary road, right driving on the side of a cliff or something. I can’t see the whole journey. I can’t see my destination. I can only see where my headlights are. So the best I can do is be awake and like aware and taken my environment and do the next best step.
And if people are like, well, what if this? And what if that, I would say I trust myself to make the best decision. I think I can, when we get that. But there are so many things that could happen. You don’t know. And even though you’re saying, I know I can raise these funds and I know how this is going to look, you don’t know anything, nobody knows anything.
We’re just humans doing our best to reach these dreams. And that’s, that’s kind of it. So you trust yourself. It’s scary, but you have to know that. I have what it takes to figure it out. I read like every book I could get my hands on watched every Ted talk, you know, every masterclass I could, I just kept ingesting as much information and seeing like, how does that apply to me?
Right. And something I would tell myself is at the end of this, whether I accomplished this or not, I want to be able to know I tried everything and people like, oh, did you like go to, did you like jump in on a rotary club meeting and give a presentation? Yes, I did that. Did you knock on doors? Yes, I did that.
Did you send emails? Yes, I did. Did you send letters? Yes, I did. I want to feel like I tried it all and if it’s not meant to be, I know I did everything I did. So
Kimberly: how much time did you spend each week fundraising, then your wife,
Shayna: terrifying question, you know, This was like our soul things. So during the pandemic Cerisha was really doing all of the teaching. We had other teachers also, but in terms of our classes that usually we teach together, she was doing all of it. So most of my time was dedicated to the fundraising. So I would say other than probably like a good 55, 60 hours a week, it was daily.
I killed myself. I mean, it was, it was insane. It was too much. I know that now, but I was in such fear that it wasn’t going to happen. And it was like my lifeblood and it helps that I have the most supportive, loving husband in the world. Who like when I would get a big donation, he’d have tears in his eyes.
So he was like, knock them dead. You know, he was behind me. So I, I didn’t feel guilty spreading myself, you know, or rather being so focused. Cause we knew it was temporary and it was, but yeah, it was seven days a week
Kimberly: and a lot of folks don’t realize. It’s fundraise. It takes time. You have to be proactive at it.
You have to actively be out there asking and, and, you know, building it into your communication strategy. So you and Jerusalem are, you know, co-founder. Your college or partners in this effort of running this nonprofit, we have a lot of accidental CEOs who may have the same role. They are a co-founder. What advice can you give our listeners for? How do they along and how to move things forward? I mean, what a challenge often the buck stops with the executive director. In this case, you also have to agree on that on many, many things. What’s that dynamic.
Shayna: It’s so complex, you know, Jewish and I had been friends since we were kids, obviously, and we had a rapport that way as friends and we worked together because we were commonly double cast in shows.
So he’d like work on things together. But when you start to work with someone, obviously the dynamic completely shifts and you’re with that person more than you are your spouse. And if it were just a work relationship and we didn’t know each other prior to this, it’d be a different set of boundaries, but because we’d had a friendship for, you know, 30 years, our boundaries were kind of set in this different way, which also means that our hearts are more exposed and can more easily be poked, whether you’re meaning to, or you’re not.
And it’s been a really big learning process for the both of us. And thankfully the first three and a half years, we were just kind of learning how to run a business together and how to work together in those ways, both artistically and in terms of the business. And we started to see. I loved every spreadsheet I worked on.
I wanted to call everybody and ask questions. And Judy, she was like, I hate all that crap. Not into it, not my thing. And she just flourishes when it comes to everything artistic, she loves it. And the other stuff stresses her out. Right. And for me, if I had to like create blocking or choreography, like the company would end, like it was not my forte.
So we naturally found where we. Where we kind of gravitate to. And then over the years, and especially recently as we were doing this project and opening this larger space, it’s gotten a lot more clear and we actually changed our roles. We were co-founders, which will always be co-founders. And I was like a production.
Producing director unusual as artistic director. And we made a change that she’s artistic director. Now I’m executive director because when it comes to the business, the buck stops stops with me. So if I see something in a rehearsal or there’s something visually, I’m like, all right, I’ll tell Jewish about it and ask questions.
But ultimately it is. And the same thing goes with most things with the business. Although I love the way she looks at things. I love the way she thinks different than me and it’s valuable. So I still want her input, but we’re also learning that. I can be open to your input and I might not feel great when I choose not to do it, but ultimately I’m doing my job and you’re doing your job and that’s tricky.
And I think the biggest advice I can give any like person, which I’m also giving myself is learn who you are, learn what your triggers are, try to figure out what. Wow. Like when she criticized that, or that felt like criticism, why am I not okay with someone asking questions about something that I created, right.
And really taking the time to know that they’re not trying to hurt you if they are not. Hopefully you have a partner, someone you’re working with that truly cares about you, but taking responsibility for how I react. I can feel however I’m feeling, but it’s my choice, how I respond to this. It’s my choice where I set my boundaries and that it is my choice on how to communicate and choosing which things we need to sit down and talk about this in like a personal relationship way in which things to be like, it’s not a thing.
This is something for me to work out in. So everybody has to take responsibility for their own experience. And I’m doing the work and Jewish is doing the work. Like we’re all about therapy, but in this applies to everything, you know, my relationship with my husband, with my mother, with my sons, I want to understand me more.
I want to be a more loving, open an okay person. And that shows up everywhere, especially.
Kimberly: It absolutely does. As we wrap up this episode, I want to ask you if you can share with our listeners some short piece of advice around fundraising or starting a nonprofit or starting a big campaign and, and just say dear accidental fundraiser, and then fill in the blank with your advice.
Shayna: Dear accidental fundraiser. Get ready. It’s about to get real. You have a lot in front of you, and that means that you care about something. So buckle up. It’s going to be so fun and the ride of your life. And in some ways I liken it to having a baby. You make this choice, you know, you want it hopefully mostly, but some of it is really hard and some of it is scary and some of it actually really hurts.
And you might have moments of like, I don’t know why I’m doing this, but at the end, when you’ve accomplished your goal, It’s unreal to have this dream that you had in your head of what it was going to look like. You are going to surpass that so much, and now you get to see the fruits of your labor. I used to think about what it would be like to have kids in this space, and now I can.
Stan to the side. Some of these kids don’t even know me and they’re just laughing and singing and getting a smoothie and, you know, practicing their lines over here and they’re wearing our sweatshirts and I have all these employees it’s worth the work. If it’s something that you believe in, you could create something that has ripples long after.
Kimberly: Shayna. If our listeners want to get connected to you and to your organization, where’s the
Shayna: best place for them to, yeah, I would recommend they go to our website, which is I can do that. pac.org and PAC. Performing arts center, the acronym, they can find this on Facebook and Instagram. And if you want to email me directly, it’s Shana at I can do that.
pac.org as well. I’m always excited to meet new people and learn more things and help in any way I can.
Kimberly: Now it’s time for the state of the sector brought to you by network for good. Capital campaigns are sometimes called brick and mortar campaigns because they’re typically used to fundraise to acquire a plot of land, build a structure, or renovating an existing building Capital campaigns can sometimes take years to realize. And there are three key phases, the planning phase, the quiet phase and the public phase. So let’s discuss each phase. During the planning phase, you’re going to set a realistic goal and budget, develop a timeline with milestones and an end date.
Allow your team the time to plan and focus so that your goal can be realized efficiently and effective. You’re also going to create that collateral that you’re going to need to make your case. And that’s often called a case for support. Many organizations also conduct a feasibility study by interviewing members of the community to see if there’s interest and support for your endeavor.
Next, we’re going to move into the quiet phase and during the quiet phase, you’ll be focused on nurturing major gifts, 50 to 70% of the total funds that are raised during a capital campaign. R raise during the quiet phase. After you hit those milestones, you’re going to move into the public phase. And at this point, you’re going to consider how you will kick that off within the community.
During this phase, you’ll be sharing your news with the media and you’ll typically be fundraising for smaller groups. As you hit your goal, you want to plan a celebration to really wrap up and close out the campaign and show supporters your amazing results. Be it, a new building or those renovations capital campaigns can be very intimidating for small nonprofits and those new to fundraising.
Don’t let that kill your spirit. Be like Shayna, and just give it a whirl because you can do this. And. It can be a wonderful experience along the way, not just for you, but for all of your supporters, volunteers, all of those who are, are really invested in helping you realize your goal to, to build that new facility, to acquire that new property or to renovate your existing structure.
There’s a lot to be gained through a well-crafted capital campaign. I was once given some great insight from a tenured fundraiser who was in the middle of a capital campaign in Chicago. She worked for a Ronald McDonald house and she said, when doing a capital campaign, you want to make sure that you’ve raised the core amount of your funds before that building starts to go up, because once it starts to be raised off the ground, your donors will think that you’ve got what you’ve.
To finish the project. So keep that in mind, as you plan your campaign
to wrap up the episode, what are the three things that you need to take away from this? first. Be okay with yourself. If this is your first big fundraising initiative, be it a capital campaign, or maybe it’s major gift solicitation. You have to start somewhere. And it never hurts to put yourself out there and make the ask, which is exactly what Shayna did at.
I can do that. Some will say yes, some will say no, but you never know until you invite them to participate in your campaign. And as you do more and more of these asks, you’ll become more comfortable with. So be okay with yourself, give it a try.
Second, celebrate the wins. And this is important. You’re gonna want to create milestones and show progress as you go make it feel authentic and human and empowering for all involved.
And then third focus on the human to human connection. People want to know that their contributions are making an impact and that this large feat that you are stepping into. Is going to be realized. So use video pictures, written notes, personal calls, press releases, call and engage the media, get out there and leverage all of the communication tools in your toolbox to get the word.
And remember you don’t have to do this all on your own. Ask for help. People love to be asked for help. So ask for help from your board members, your volunteers, your friends, and like Shayna did the service recipients. Right? Her, her student families you’ll be surprised how many we’ll rise up and support you and some will surprise you.
Yes. Yes you can. I’m Kimberly. See you next time on accidental fundraiser and be sure to follow along wherever you get your audio.