Capital Improvements

Step Five–Hire an Architect

This is where reality sets in. This is the time the dream project begins to take shape, and you have to start matching components with budget. It hurts to cut ideas from the concept, but in order to actually fund and develop the project, you will have to cut a few of your ideas.

That’s the bad news. The good news is the architect will make your building real–real dimensions, real materials, real money.

To determine the cost of your dream, the construction company will make estimates based on the plan the architect submits. Then, you will sit with the architect to make any adjustments necessary within the boundaries of your funding plan. For this reason, if you are working with an affordable architect, it is a good idea to get a few, if not all, of the projects estimated out. Now you know how much it will take to complete all the projects you want.

Step Six–Fund It

This brings us to what many view as the hardest step–funding your dreams.

This step can take days, weeks, months and even years based on your approach. Money comes from many sources, and I will not spend time in this article discussing the “how to,” but some sources are: donations, designated project gifts, capital money, operating funds, etc.

Whatever your fund-raising plan, take this bit of advice: make sure you fund the entire project before you start construction. It is really hard on donors and financial supporters to see a project stopped or stalled due to lack of financial planning, and it hurts even more to borrow funds to complete a project and make payments for a long time. Put a plan, campaign and donor request together in a way that does not hurt you financially in the end.

And then, take the final step and build your dreams–bigger and better than you ever have before–ensuring a legacy of excellence and a testament to the power of proper planning.

Jeff Merhige is Executive Director of YMCA Camp Kern, Dayton YMCA, in Dayton, Ohio. He can be reached via e-mail at

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Related posts:

  1. Building for the Future
  2. Dream to Reality
  3. Collaborative Programming
  4. Reevaluating the Camp, Part 2
  5. Off-Season Prep

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