What Is A Capital Campaign?

Small nonprofits can have successful capital campaigns that follow the same principles as campaigns for larger organizations. The goals will probably be smaller, but the power of the campaign model can work just as well whether your organization has an operating budget of $500,000 or $5,000,000. While many capital campaigns are organized to raise funds for building projects, some campaigns focus on other aspects of increasing your organization’s capacity. Other objectives might include new equipment, startup funds for new programs, investment in branding and marketing programs, and testing and program evaluation. Capital campaigns can be used to raise money for those investments in capacity.

  • It is absolutely crucial that your capital campaign has a cohesive brand.
  • Without a thorough plan in place, your team may not successfully anticipate issues before they arise and may realize too late that your fundraising strategy needs revision.
  • This is markedly different from launching the campaign publicly, though.
  • However long your campaign shapes out to be, always budget a few years in between capital campaigns.

  • Most campaigns raise at least 65% of the campaign goal during this phase of the campaign.

This kind of support is especially important when your organization is embarking on a capital campaign, which can present a unique set of challenges for your team. This shows the number of donations you will need to reach a fundraising goal, with specifications on the number of gifts at varying levels you’ll need to raise.

After all, you’re building a partnership and a long-lasting relationship with someone who can understand your mission, meet your needs, and get along well with your existing staff. These events could range from small hiccups to large roadblocks that stall your project for several months. If you have implemented a direct mail campaign that has worked in the past, consider using that method to communicate with your supporters.

Hold regular meetings during the planning phase and check in on a weekly or monthly basis to update everyone on progress. Formulate contingency plans to avert capital campaign disaster. One great example of this is the Capital Campaign Toolkit, a resource that guides nonprofit leaders through a seven-phase campaign plan.

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Engaging with your supporters on social media is a great way to spread the word about your campaign. Since social media is a popular way to interact with donors, you can use your accounts to promote your campaign and encourage supporters to give.

How do you determine fundraising goals?

To reach your most ambitious fundraising goals, your organization will need to identify and reach out to supporters with the potential to make major gifts. Both philanthropic indicators and wealth markers can help you determine who among your potential supporters is likely capable of and willing to make a major gift.

She has a real talent for making fundraising simple and accessible forher clientsand followers. This consulting firm brings a unique approach to fundraising by connecting major stakeholders to missions. They’ve guided more than 320 diverse organizations through campaigns that have raised a total of over $1 billion in funds. Areas of expertise include capital campaign planning and donor identification.

What Is The Objective Of A Capital Campaign?

Figure out how much addressing that need will cost and develop a working goal for the campaign. Additionally, you can post information on where donors can donate or learn more info. This could be in the form of a plaque, meeting room, or even an entire fund named after them, depending on your project.

capital campaigns for nonprofits

Once you’re ready to launch, reach out to press, email your supporter base, post on social media, and send your direct mail appeals. Make use of your volunteers and your campaign’s many committees to get on the phone with potential donors. Your nonprofit can use brochures to provide donors with bite-sized information on your capital campaign. In fact, most of the information can come from your case for support.

Because most organizations only have a capital campaign every 10 or 20 years, very few fundraising professionals and board members have deep experience organizing them. And, because the amount of money to be raised is usually quite high, the investment in consultants seems worthwhile. Unlike much fundraising for annual operations, capital campaigns target specific objectives that will springboard the organization to a new level of operation. Money raised through a campaign does not go to annual operations. Rather, it raises money for shorter-term special investments that will increase the organization’s capacity. Don’t feel obligated to create a massive capital campaign committee that includes every board member, staff member, and major gift donor in your organization’s history. The committee should be big enough to handle the particulars of the capital campaign but small enough to give everyone an opportunity to voice their opinion.

How Can You Start Using Capital Campaign Principles For Short

50-70% of your funds will be raised during this phase, so it’s absolutely crucial. For this reason, it’s important for your team to thoroughly plan out your capital campaign’s strategy prior to launching your campaign.

Typically, these prospects include individual donors, corporations, and grant funders. A well-run capital campaign can benefit your organization long-term because once people make a gift of a larger-than-usual amount, they tend to want to give like that again. Money raised during a capital campaign can only be directed towards that project. Volunteer involvement—most campaigns are very volunteer intensive often involving hundreds of volunteers in the organization’s vision.

Undergo A Capital Campaign Feasibility Study

It’s best to make Asks sequentially, starting at the top with the two or three prospects who might make a lead gift. Trust me, this is a whole lot more effective than starting a $500,000 campaign by selling bricks for $150 each (I know a nonprofit who tried that… didn’t work). Your steering committee is there to help make connections so you can reach further into the community than you could ever do alone. Do the feasibility study and do it right so you go into your campaign with the information you need. Usually, a feasibility study is conducted by a third party and not a member of your team to bring in expertise and also objectivity. It’s really important to withhold public announcements until you are ready with a base of donations in place. The quiet phase is the first part of the campaign and involves meeting face-to-face with your top prospects to make individual requests.

What is a good ROI for fundraising?

According to Charity Watch, a good expense ratio to aim for is 35 percent or less. This means that for every $100 raised, your organization should have paid $35 or less. It is important to remember the expense ratio will vary slightly depending on the size of the organization.

Articulate a simple, clear, and compelling case for support that ties together your needs, your community, and the impact that increased capacity will have. For organizations in desperate need to grow their capacity in order to meet increased need in their communities, this flexibility is invaluable. In fact, at the Capital Campaign Toolkit, we’ve developed a special program specifically for this purpose—raising $100,000 or more in an eight-week period. For them, it now makes sense to move forward with their campaigns to build the capacity necessary to meet that increased need. For example, performing arts organizations needed to immediately pause their campaigns back in early 2020. Long-term uncertainty about whether, when, and how they could reopen made this a wise choice until the future became clearer. First, you need to decide what your objective is, how much money you need to fund that objective, and how long you think it will take to raise the funds.

Any time you’re expending money and/or resources, you’ll need board approval. You also want them there to help secure major gifts, especially during the quiet phase. To get started, consider some of the following components of successful capital campaigns as you begin plotting out your strategy. In any capital campaign, you’re raising money for specific things that will increase your organization’s impact and ability to pursue your mission. In times of crisis, those needs become clearer and more compelling. Rather than highlight a nonprofit’s financial goals, a cause campaign shows potential donors how their financial support will serve the common good.

Because capital campaigns rely on a few major donations and many smaller contributions, the hierarchy of gifts should look like a pyramid. Unlike other types of donations, capital campaigns are always linked to a dedicated project.

The sooner you are able to recruit your campaign chairs, the better. That said, having the right chairs — people who bring a sense of inevitability to the success of your project — is even more important than enlisting them early. There’s a wide range of services a consultant can provide, ranging from on-site, full-service work, to more minimal support . Educate and inform your board members about their role in the campaign, as well as the plans and the strategy.

capital campaigns for nonprofits

Create a gift range chart that reflects the number of gifts you need at each level. Your organization does not need to be known throughout your community. However, you do need a strong positive reputation in the community you serve. Your campaign will build on the sense of trust you have created in your community. Capital campaigns must follow a very defined timeline with specific checkpoints throughout. Qgiv has donation page software, a mobile giving tool, a peer-to-peer platform, and on-site kiosks for in-person fundraising.

In order to sufficiently meet those needs, you’ll probably consider running capital campaigns that aim to raise a large amount of money at once. The quiet phase of a campaign is the period during which you solicit the largest gifts, as well as gifts from your board members. That phase often extends for many months during which you will raise well over half of your campaign goal. The quite phase ends with a campaign kick-off when you announce the campaign goal publicly.

If you’ve never planned a capital campaign before, you may find it hard to know where to start. We recommend taking a modern approach — one that’s flexible and can be adapted to your unique needs and goals, but still rooted in sound capital campaign principles.

A specific kind of grant that can mobilize your supporters and significantly contribute to your capital campaign is the challenge grant. In order to succeed in capital campaign fundraising, the right foundation must be laid during the goal setting process. As your nonprofit begins to agree upon a financial goal, keep the following steps in mind to ensure that you’ll be equipped to reach it. If you decide to run one, you’ll start by planning your capital campaign and completing a feasibility study. Then you’ll enter the quiet phase, where you’ll raise 50%-70% of your funds.

Your committee can still solicit major gifts, but the focus should be on broad marketing to as many donors as possible. Large organizations such as hospitals and schools often need to regularly expand their buildings in response to a growing population of patients or students. Such projects are massive undertakings and require a great deal of financial resources — which is why they are mostly accomplished via capital campaigns. This is the stage in which you make appeals to major donors, corporations, and government agencies.

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