FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. How would you describe your “typical” services for a campaign?
  Crowley, White, Helmer & Sevig can be viewed as an “off-site development department” for a campaign.  Often, small to mid-sized nonprofits do not have the staff, time availability, experience, and/or resources to conduct a major fundraising campaign internally.  Our firm works closely with the organization’s leadership to plan, coordinate and execute capital, program development, capacity building or operating campaigns.
2. What if our organization has a Development Director?
  Generally, the Development Director would be responsible for continuing his/her work on raising funds for annual operating support, and on any special events or mail campaigns.  He/she often attends campaign coordination meetings providing valuable insight, and helps ensure that all fundraising for the organization is coordinated.
3. Do you conduct feasibility studies?
  Several years ago, CWHS replaced conducting feasibility studies with the process of coordinating “exploratory meetings” with potential donors.  This process not only is more cost effective for the organization, but it garners the same results, and introduces potential donors to the Executive Director and board members, to build a direct, positive relationship with key members of the philanthropic community.
4. Do you work with new, or “start-up” organizations?
  Typically, we do not – although exceptions have been made.  Generally, a nonprofit needs a history of philanthropic support prior to launching a campaign.
5. How will I know if my organization is ready to launch a capital campaign?
  The organization normally needs to have an organizational history of several years as well as a recent history of solid board oversight, internal management, and fiscal stability.  Program and/or operating grant history from local foundations and corporate giving programs are important.  In the case of a capital campaign, the agency also needs to have completed a thorough process of assessing the need for a new or renovated space: reviewing lease options, viewing several available properties within its service area, and making sure that the building is the correct size for projected operations over the next 20 years or longer.
6. How long is a typical capital campaign?
  The length of a capital campaign varies based (primarily) on the campaign goal amount.  Since we are in the midst of challenging economic times, it generally takes longer to reach campaign goals than it did five to ten years ago.  For a campaign goal of $1 million, the campaign may last up to 20 months.  For a larger campaign ($3-$4 million or more), the duration may be closer to 30 – 36 months.
7. What is the time commitment expected of the Executive Director during a capital campaign?
  Generally speaking, the Executive Director can expect to devote from 10 to 15 hours per week on the campaign.  Most of this time is spent in campaign coordination meetings, committee recruitment meetings, campaign committee meetings, reviewing written documents, placing funding-related phone calls, and participating in meetings with potential funders.  There also would be time devoted to meetings with the architect, contractor, and project manager during the capital planning and implementation phases.
8. What is expected of the board of directors during a fundraising campaign?
  Typically, two or three well-connected board members would be asked to serve on the campaign committee.  Most often, small to mid-sized organizations have board members representing the social service, legal, accounting, banking, and other professional sectors.   Board members typically don’t have the desire or experience to effectively fundraise.  The few board members who would be asked to serve on the campaign committee would be asked to allocate approximately two hours every other month to the campaign.
9. How does Crowley, White, Helmer & Sevig charge for its services?
  CWHS charges on a fee for service basis.  We determine the length of time and the intensity level of work the two phases of the campaign (preparatory and coordination phases) would take, and divide the total cost by the number of months of the campaign.  The organization actually “recaptures” its fees to CWHS (along with other “soft costs,” such as architectural fees, legal fees, etc.) as funding is provided.  Our firm is paid monthly for our work.
10. Are there additional fees from your firm, other than the monthly fee?
  All of our services are included in the monthly fee.  The organization should expect to pay (to other vendors) design and printing costs for a “campaign publication,” although our firm writes the copy for this piece within its monthly fees.  Also, if extensive writing is necessary for a special proposal (government-related, etc.), the organization would pay a grant writer with special expertise separately.  All other tasks are included within the original fee.
11. Who is responsible for the success of the campaign?
  Four main elements make a successful campaign:

1) Crowley, White, Helmer & Sevig is responsible for thorough planning, identifying potential donors, making realistic funding projections, recruiting a strong, well-connected campaign committee, providing well-written, effective written materials, and managing the flow of work during the campaign coordination period.

2) The organization’s Executive Director is responsible for representing the agency effectively in funding meetings, being responsive to potential funders during the grant review process, and articulating the details of the organization’s programs, budgets, and campaign plan.

3) The campaign committee is responsible for connecting the organization to key potential donors, placing phone calls to schedule face-to-face meetings, and presenting a strong case for support in these meetings accompanied by the Executive Director.

4) The philanthropic community (foundations, corporate giving programs, government entities and individuals) approached for funding are the ultimate decision-makers.