Time to Consider a Capital (Human) Campaign

Almost every major nonprofit institution will embark on at least one capital campaign during its lifetime, soliciting significant financial contributions for new buildings, programs, or their endowment.

It's time for any organization that solicits volunteers' time and talent to do the same.  Except instead of raising money,ask for pledges and commitments of time, talent, and leadership.

First, create a compelling vision of the meaningful and bold accomplishments that will be achieved if the goal for volunteer contributions is met.  Make the case compelling, crafting a vivid story bringing to life what this massive influx of time and talent will make possible.  Think like the renowned Chicago architect Daniel Burnham who famously said:
"Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big."
Second, just as with a major fund-raising campaign, have a quiet phase in which you solicit major contributions and matching challenge grants from lead donors and prominent individuals to model the way for the masses.

Third, recruit individuals to serve as team captains, each pledging to reach out those in their circles of influence and to obtain a certain level of commitments and contributions.

Finally, go public with the campaign, sharing your goal for the results you want to achieve and inviting individuals to pledge their commitment to help make the vision a reality.

Too many organizations fail to fully imagine what might be possible from a broader and deeper contribution of time and talent from those who care about their purpose or cause.  And if we never make the ask, individuals can never make the gift of their ideas, insights, and labor to making major achievements possible.

The community is always resource-full.  We just need to be more resourceful in engaging it.

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