Lessons in Capital Campaign Leadership: A Reflection | npENGAGE

Lessons in Capital Campaign Leadership: A Reflection

By on Oct 20, 2014


Last week I had the pleasure of attending one of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter’s continuing education luncheons. The subject was capital campaign leadership and the panel of speakers was comprised of three of the most influential and successful volunteer fundraisers in our community.

I expected a quality program.

I got brilliance.

While live-tweeting the immeasurably quotable conversation, I reached out to my friend and colleague, Willie Matis, asking if he planned to blog about the luncheon. He said “yes.” I said “I want to share it.” I’d like to extend a special thank you to Willie for writing and posting this blog so quickly so I could share it with you.

This blog by Willie Matis was originally posted on the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter blog


So the title of the luncheon “Lessons in Capital Campaign Leadership” probably could have been changed to “Lessons in Nonprofit Leadership.”

The panelists yesterday were among the most quotable of the entire year.

Willie Mayes 1


Willie Mayes 2


Willie Mayes 3

Willie Mayes 4

Willie Mayes 5

Willie Mayes 6


A huge shoutout goes to JGA (Johnson Grossnickle & Associates), for not only putting on a great series for AFP Indiana, but saving this great group for last.

Yvonne Shaheen – CEO, Long Electric Company (retired)
Mike Wells – President, REI Investments, Inc.
Steve Walker – Chairman of the Board and CEO, Walker

Some great themes that were taken from them can be noted from the tweets above; however, one big takeaway was that leaders and board members should not be afraid to hold each other accountable.

This is a large statement. People, places, and organizations get complacent all too often. I don’t think it is coincidental that all 3 of these panelists, who are known to be fantastic board members, are also know to be a little “blunt.” Holding each other accountable is how to move forward. Sure, there are tender ways to be assertive, but when it comes down to it, in order to see success everyone must do their job. It was very refreshing to hear these words from the panelists. It fired up the crowd, and they inspired us all.

The quotes above or the theme of the day could have a negative feeling to it, but that is not at all how it came across. The passion was seen in each of them, and they speak their minds because they care about the community and the organizations for which the volunteer.

Yvonne gave some great parting words… she said, “If you don’t love what you are doing, then you’re in the wrong field.”

When you have passion, when you care, and when you work out any problems that arise, then good things will come.


Willie Matis is a Nonprofit Fundraising & Marketing Professional currently working as Communications Coordinator at Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana in Indianapolis. He believes strongly in the tie between marketing and fundraising for organizational success and would gladly talk about this with anyone over a cup of coffee and a few slices of bacon. Willie’s two daily goals are to say hi to someone new and to make someone smile.

Connect with Willie at williematis.com or on Twitter @Willie_Matis.


Holly Elizabeth Herbert is the best practices manager for Blackbaud’s eTapestry team. She works with nonprofit clients to optimize their fundraising and public relations efforts through the application of database technology. Holly has more than a decade of experience working in nonprofit PR and fundraising and brings a passion for metrics-driven, donor-centric strategies to her work at Blackbaud. Holly has a Master’s degree in Public Relations from Indiana University and has worked on PR campaigns for local, regional, and national nonprofit organizations. In her free time, Holly is an avid urban dweller and glitter aficionado. Connect with Holly on Twitter at @hollyeherbert.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *