A 2016 study by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative found that more than a quarter of nonprofits were engaged in a capital campaign. The average goal was about $45 million.
What is a capital campaign? It’s a large-scale fundraiser with a beginning and end date. The purpose of a capital campaign varies from one organization to the next.
Some want to purchase land, a larger building, or make improvements to an existing structure. These campaigns aren’t limited to large organizations, either.
What does it take a launch a capital campaign? Read on to learn in this capital campaign toolkit.
1. Preplan the Campaign
In the preplanning phase, you’re simply verifying your idea. You develop working drafts of your campaign goal, supporting documents, and messaging.
The key part is to have conversations with major donors and board members. You have to have them on board throughout the entire campaign.
2. Capital Campaign Planning
The actual planning part begins. You’ll need to form a capital campaign committee. You or one of your main board members should head this committee.
This is also the time to hire a Capital Campaign Director. There are consulting firms that offer these services, so you don’t have to waste time conducting a national search for a campaign director. To see an example, see cdsfunds.com.
This is where you’ll create the timeline, marketing plan, budget, and campaign policies. You’ll also conduct a feasibility study and screen potential donor prospects.
3. Finalize the Deadline and Goal
At this point, you have a lot of information in front of you. Based on that information, you’ll finalize your campaign start date, deadline, and fundraising target.
Be sure to take into account inflation and fundraising costs. You’re going to have plenty of lunches, coffees, and events to budget for. Don’t forget to add line items for marketing collateral and website development.
4. Have a Contingency Plan
A contingency plan ensures that your campaign continues to move forward through any challenge or obstacle. No one could have predicted a global pandemic, but it happened.
You have to think through all of the potential threats to your capital campaign and have a backup plan for each one. These threats are internal and external.
For instance, what would you do if a key board member resigns? What would you do if there’s another pandemic or more lockdowns? What if the economy tanks?
Another way to prepare for contingencies is to review past capital campaigns. Look at what worked well, what didn’t, and how you can avoid the same mistakes.
5. Create a Chart of Gift Ranges
Break down your fundraising goals into ranges. This allows you to see how many prospects you have in each range, and what kind of conversion rate you need.
The ranges depend on your donor base and the amount of money you need during the campaign.
Start a Capital Campaign
A capital campaign is necessary for nonprofit organizations to increase capacity and take their missions to more people.
These tips showed you the basics of creating your own capital campaign. For the latest news and trends, head over to the home page.