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The Center has an immediate need for a Friends group that can provide us with flexibility and support in conducting our programs. While a capital campaign, as discussed below, would be very beneficial to the Center, it will take years to bear fruit. We need a non-profit partner right now that can assist us, particularly with our training and publications activities. I envision something like an NCPTT Institute that will serve as a partner in all of our training efforts. The Institute could take on the administrative functions, receiving tuition, paying outside instructors, arranging food service, handling credit card payments, and generally helping us with the parts of our work that are so challenging to do within the government. Our staff (and others we bring in) would serve as faculty and design and manage the content of the courses, but the Institute would make the money off of them, using the profit (if any) to seed the next course(s). Procurement would be simplified, services enhanced, and if the training program grows as I hope it will, the Institute could even hire a part-time person to handle some of the administrative work (we would have to do whatever it was legal to do until they could take the work in-house; it would be well to associate the Institute with a community foundation, the NSU Alumni Foundation or a similar entity to facilitate administrative matters in the early period.) We could use similar assistance with the printing and distribution of publications. Right now we distribute Xerox copies for free, but a non-profit partner could help us print and sell more substantial and professional versions.



(Identify and define specific needs and/or opportunities of NCPTT that could only be accommodated by the center through the proceeds of a future capital campaign.)

  • Examples of needs may include expanded grant capacity, creation of training programs, securing testing equipment, conducting heritage education, development of products, new publications, etc.
  • Successful campaigns must be based on worthy, well defined, justifiable needs for which the campaign proceeds will be dedicated.
  • There must be a clear and compelling logic that these needs can and should be met only (or most appropriately) by NCPTT.
  • When should such a campaign be conducted; in the near future, or is later OK?
  • The above issues should be clearly defined in a “case for support” that establishes and defines in a compelling manner that:
    • There is significant need for and benefit from the proposed initiatives,
    • The most logical source for providing these outcomes is the NCPTT, and
    • The NCPTT will have the resources and intent to deliver those benefits.


(Responding to this question will require establishing a goal, plan, budget, and timeline. Consider all resources necessary to achieve the desired success. Include the expense of conducting the campaign and operating the required not-for-profit corporation.)

What amount of funding would be needed for:

  • Establishing and sustaining the required not-for-profit corporation
  • Achieving 501(c)(3) status for the corporation from the Internal Revenue Service to allow tax-deductibility of personal contributions
  • Conducting a study among prospective donors to gauge the potential for success of a campaign
  • Covering the direct campaign expenses of consulting, organizing, printing, communicating, traveling, promoting, managing, acknowledging, etc.
  • Fulfillment, performance, and/or delivery of the products, programs, etc. for which the campaign is launched

How much of the funding received could be placed in an endowment to provide a future stream of revenue for continuing delivery of the products, programs etc.?


(Consider the period of time during which a campaign could be designed, implemented, and conducted, and the number of years during which pledges would be collected.)

Following a decision to formally explore opportunities for conducting a capital campaign, the first three to six months would be consumed by finalizing the “case for support” of intended products or programs, engaging interested individuals to organize and manage the campaign, engaging a qualified firm to conduct a study of representative potential donors to gauge the probability for success, establishing a not-for-profit corporation, filing a request for the corporationÕs 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service, and preparing an overall budget and plan for the campaign and future use of the funds raised.

Nine to 12 months should be allocated for active fundraising, including cultivation, solicitation, follow-up, finalizing pledges, and stewardship. It is essential to keep in mind that major gift requests should be made in person rather than by letter or telephone.

The campaign will yield greater results if pledges can be paid by the donors over a three to five year period rather than expecting pledges to be paid at the outset in a lump sum. This, of course, will require continuing management and donor stewardship responsibilities on the part of the not-for-profit corporation to invoice, receive, manage, account for, and disburse the funds received.


(Identify potential sources of funding for meeting the campaign goal, including, but not limited to, the following. Consider why donors would want to give. What would constitute a “return on investment” for businesses, manufacturers, and trade groups? What donor groups might be in a position to set an inspiring example for others through their giving?)

Members of the Advisory Board and NCPTT staff (if not legally precluded from doing so) and individuals responsible for the not-for-profit corporation could be those who set an inspiring example through unanimous participation. Others include:

  • Corporations that manufacture products for preservation work,
  • Organizations that promote and/or provide training for preservation,
  • Professional and trade group members who are involved in preservation,
  • Foundations that make grants for preservation initiatives,
  • Philanthropists who own and/or have an interest in historic properties,
  • Governmental agencies, and
  • Others.


Seed money would be required to organize and conduct the campaign. There will be costs for establishing the new corporation, securing its tax deductibility benefit, conducting a feasibility survey, and covering the direct operational expenses noted above. Some money from a previous campaign is apparently being held for NCPTT by Northwestern State University. The amount of that corpus and its availability for this use should be explored.

It was stated in a recent Advisory Board meeting that NCPTT staff and Advisory Board members are legally precluded from participation in such a capital campaign, perhaps except for personal pledges that they might make. Thought must be given to who can be depended upon to organize, conduct, and manage the campaign and its proceeds into the future. Keep in mind that the IRS generally requires that decisions regarding the disbursement of any funds raised by a 501(c)(3) corporation are made at the sole discretion of the governing board of the corporation. That governing board would, in all likelihood, not include members of the staff or Advisory Board of the NCPTT.

Highly qualified professional assistance is available to conduct a study and evaluation of the potential donor base as well as to advise or even to lead in the campaign operation itself. Expertise beyond that of local or state fundraisers is generally required for a campaign with a national appeal, which this should be. An introduction can be arranged by request for the NCPTT Staff and Board to meet with a firm that provides the type of competent leadership and advice needed.

Local attorneys have volunteered to offer assistance in establishing the not-for-profit corporation and in applying for the 501(c)(3) status from the IRS as noted during the last Board meeting. They, with other community leaders, would likely consent to a continuing role with the campaign and with future management of the corporation, based on recent conversations with them.

Consideration should be given to deciding in which State the not-for-profit corporation should logically be based. There could be a requirement for payment of fees on funds raised in other states under certain circumstances.

During your deliberation, keep in mind that there are four essentials for campaign success: The first essential is PEOPLE – those who provide the leadership. Next is a compelling “CASE FOR SUPPORT” – one that excites and inspires. Then follows the need for a well-drawn CAMPAIGN PLAN – evidence that this is a feasible undertaking. Finally, there must be PROSPECTS for giving – those who will provide, from their wealth, the dollars necessary to ensure success.

Conducting a campaign is seldom a one-time event when there are compelling reasons for it being instigated. Those who consider this possibility, therefore, should keep in mind the logic that this campaign (should it occur) could spawn an ongoing development initiative for the NCPTT. Remember, the best prospect for giving is the one who most recently gave for your cause.


I echo Kirk’s sentiments (sent to you in an earlier e-mail) about the thoughtfulness and comprehensiveness of your proposal [above]. My only worry is that we may be faced with a large initial expense in hiring a firm that specializes in establishing 501(c)3’s to do our investigation and feasibility work. It reminds me of the firm that we hired to do a business plan for us. We spent a lot of money and have not utilized any of their suggestions. Perhaps that is our fault, of course.

My feeling is that we will only be able to raise money for very specific projects. No donor is going to want to contribute to the US Govt. (even indirectly) to establish something like an endowment or a general fund. As Kirk expressed in his e-mail of last week, he can foresee an immediate need to establish an ‘Institute’. I had a couple of other projects in mind, e.g. funding the Wingspread Conference, giving the heritage education program a big kick start, etc. I am sure there are many other projects we could think up.

Given this as a working premise, do you think that a research company would be necessary to evaluate our chances of success in raising money? What sort of research do they actually perform that we could not do ourselves? (Of course time is the big problem, I realize.)

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National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]nps.gov
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119