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How Process Consulting Can Contribute to Capital Campaign Success

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on September 18, 2018

An old friend called one day and asked if I could help her with a capital campaign.

My first question was this: What did she hope to achieve through the campaign?


LS Blog post #9 imageA conversation ensued that helped my friend articulate several key organizational issues that needed to be addressed. Some of those challenges could be met by a successful capital campaign.

Others, however, would require deeper organizational dialogue, understanding, and change. If addressed, those deeper issues had the potential to create significant value and provide long-term improvement well after the campaign was completed.

For example, we learned that the organization had lost touch with many of its donors.

We also learned that because of past leadership challenges, the organization had lost trust with many of its constituents, including donors and board members. The situation was, as they say, “a hot mess.”


Because my friend’s goal was organizational transformation, we set about rebuilding trust with donors, community leaders, constituents, board members, and anyone who had been impacted by the deterioration of trust and lapsed relationships.

Our strategy was to help these groups engage with the organizational transformation itself—to play a part in strengthening the organization’s ability to carry out its mission. They each played a role, some big and some small.

Not all leaders can take on raising money, rebuilding trust, and transforming an organization all at the same time. But with the right process in place, the odds are definitely in your favor.


It all starts from a posture of inquiry or, as Edgar Schein calls it, “humble consulting.” In truly messy situations, Schein advocates an approach that centers on three attributes of the process consultant:

  • Being committed to being helpful
  • Bringing a great deal of honest curiosity
  • Having a caring attitude toward the client


To learn more about how a process consulting approach can help your capital campaign or funding initiative, please reach me at (877) 771-3330, ext. 15 or submit your information here (reference this blog post or process consulting in the message area).

Topics: nonprofit, fundraising and campaign consulting