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Chasing Away Those Mid-Campaign Blues

No matter how much we wish otherwise, virtually every capital or endowment campaign we manage experiences the mid-campaign blues-those times when the initial thrill of starting the campaign has waned, the low-hanging fruit has largely been harvested, and we all need to take a break and catch our breath. You must understand that this is completely normal. And you should also remember that campaigns are processes, much like well-oiled machines, that need to be maintained, lubricated, and fueled.

But when all is said and done, the campaign must go on. The vital community needs still exist, the organization's ambitious plans have yet to be fulfilled, and there are hundreds of constituents counting on us to get the job done…and do it successfully! And remember, this is not a sprint, but a marathon.

Here are some steps that you may take-both as individual staff members and volunteers, and as a campaign team-to take a breather, gather your wits, and re-double your efforts with the same zeal and emotional energy you had at the beginning of the campaign.

  • Nothing stokes your energy better than landing a key "win". Clear your campaign to-do list and focus all of your energy on just one prospective donor. Commit all of your volunteer time to successfully cultivating and soliciting a single donor. Don't scatter your efforts. In order to re-group and land a key "win", you must adjust your lenses like a binocular. This one success will give you the needed mid-campaign energy to complete the marathon.
  • Stoke the solicitation fire with a new approach. Like most things in life, we tend to fall into patterns of behavior, and often those patterns are not useful or germane for every target prospect. Now is the time to step outside of your comfort zone, taking on a new cultivation or solicitation approach. If you need suggestions of other types of creative approaches, you should schedule a face-to-face session with your i team campaign counsel and brainstorm new approaches.
  • Team up with another volunteer with whom you have not yet had the opportunity to work. Select someone you might not initially consider a viable cultivation partner and see how the chemistry works. You very well might learn some new techniques, approaches, styles, and perceptions on the project and the task of soliciting support. Trying new approaches or modifying your own might be the proverbial kick in the pants that you need!
  • Reconnect to the primary reasons why you volunteered in the first place! Remember back to the time when you agreed to serve on the campaign team and recollect what motivated you to say "yes". Rekindle those feelings. It might mean that you have to come back to the facility and take another tour, that your feelings have broadened or deepened, or that you have found a different motivating factor about supporting the organization. It stands to reason that you'll do a better job soliciting others when you have that personal spark alive and well in your own heart. Make this fun!
  • Go back to the investors who have already pledged and bring them closer to the campaign. Re-energize your own spirits by recruiting a couple of current campaign donors to come aboard and help you cultivate and solicit a few new prospective donors. The fresh energy from the new campaign volunteer will rub off on you and help the campaign effort make great strides! And, you might find a couple of new prospective donors who are not yet in the organization's sphere.

We encourage you to take a moment to consider these options and chase away the mid-campaign blues!


i tools Home

Annual and Capital Campaigns Together

Annual Giving: Challenges and Opportunities

Board Handbook Outline - A Key Resource!

Chasing Away Those Mid - Campaign Blues

Early Cultivated Resources

Finding and Managing Natural Partners

Getting the Visit - A volunteer tip sheet

i team Irreducibles

Overcoming Your Fear of Asking

Qualifying Prospects

Securing the Visit

Solicitation Resources; You Are Not Alone

The Last Investor

The Rule of 3s

Voice of the Stakeholder

About the author...
Author, thinker, and consultant Mario Capozzoli writes for a living. Over the years, his words have been "columnized" in op-ed pieces, ranging from his alma mater's student newspaper to the Glendale News Press, a 102 year old southern California daily with a readership of 72,000. Sister paper to the Burbank Leader and the Huntington Beach Independent, Mario's weekly column ran in the News Press for two years.

More recently, Mario's writings have revolved around professional monographs, knowledge management perspectives, and leadership pieces focusing on the not-for-profit world. His specialty is writing succinct, one-page documents that illustrate techniques, practices, and beneficial resources.

On a personal level, his narratives have been published in local and statewide journals. Mario's love of poetry shows his softer side of the written word.

You will find Mario in the middle of grammar, syntax, and word use arguments and debates. He prefers the Chicago Manual of Style as a usage guide! His mentor is Barbara Wallraff, of the Atlantic Monthly's backpage.