Strategic Staffing for Capital Campaigns

Three Talent Management Imperatives for the Planning Phase

Topics: Advancement, Major Gifts and Campaign Strategy, Staffing, Organizational Structures

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Executive Summary

Capital campaigns represent a watershed moment in the growth and long-term development of advancement staff. Staffing is at the top of an advancement leader’s to-do list at both the outset and conclusion of a campaign. Our research team reviewed findings from approximately forty conversations with advancement leaders across a range of institutions about staffing and capital campaigns. Through those conversations we isolated three imperatives for advancement leaders during the planning phase.

First, as they add positions to meet ambitious campaign goals, they must recruit and onboard new staff. Then, when attrition spikes near the end of the campaign due to staff burnout, they must refill vacant roles. What's more, university leadership often fails to understand why those positions need to be refilled before the next campaign is announced. Finally, to combat burnout and maximize gift officers’ valuable time, advancement leaders must ensure frontline fundraising positions are well-supported with back-end services. To sustain momentum both during and after the campaign’s close, advancement leaders must educate leadership on needed staffing using fundraising data and advancement’s return on investment.

Three talent management imperatives during the planning phase

  • Codify organizational structures

  • Augment staff to meet objectives

  • Educate institutional leadership
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Imperative One: Codify Organizational Structures