Experience Matters
We’ve helped thousands of nonprofits raise billions of dollars.

When it comes to assuring the growth of your nonprofit, few activities will yield as significant an impact as a capital campaign, helping you take a substantial leap forward towards the fulfillment of your future goals.

Our team of capital campaign consultants have nearly four decades’ experience working across the United States and Canada, helping conduct capital campaigns for nonprofit groups of every size and type, including Christian and Private schools, Higher Education, Rescue Missions, The Salvation Army, Global Aid & Outreach Ministries, and a wide variety of local, regional & national organizations.

Ready to transform your vision in reality?

Here’s how we can help you.

A capital campaign is a complex undertaking. It is critically important that it be done right, and you generally only have one shot at it. That’s where we come in. We are experts in providing the counsel and assistance needed to help your organization successfully complete a capital campaign that will enable you to transform your vision into reality.

Feasibility Studies

Feasibility Studies

A Feasibility Study is the recommended first step to provide objective data to assist in making critical planning decisions for your campaign.

Comprehensive Communications

Comprehensive Communications

We will help you craft a compelling case for support and all the messaging materials and media needed to bring your campaign across the finish line.

Customized Planning

Customized Planning

We will work with you to create a campaign plan that is built on a foundation of best practices, while also individualized to fit your unique circumstances.

Donor Research & Analytics

Donor Research & Analytics

We will help you identify high-value donor prospects at each major gift level and determine the most effective approach for each.

Meticulous Management

Meticulous Management

We provide comprehensive direction to your campaign, carefully monitoring and managing all tasks and timelines, from start to finish.

Training & Coaching

Training & Coaching

We will provide instructions, guidance, training, and coaching in all components of the campaign for your staff and volunteers, including how to ask for big gifts.
Capital Campaign Messaging Materials & Media

With fierce competition in today’s philanthropic marketplace, how and what you are communicating with your donors is vitally important to ensuring success in your capital campaign. And when it comes to messaging, you need more than just advice. As a full-service consultancy, DickersonBakker is one of only a small handful of capital campaign consulting firms with a robust, professional in-house Messaging Team that specializes in strategizing communications and crafting messaging materials and media specifically for capital campaigns, across the spectrum of print, digital, video, and social media.

Expert Insights from Our Team

Click these links to read relevant entries on our blog and/or to download free white paper resources

Five Ways a Feasibility Study Can Make or Break a Campaign

The capital campaign feasibility study is the planning tool of choice for the most successful campaigns. Well-executed, a study can…

Capital Campaigns have been practiced for a many years. While the times have changed, many of the fundamental concepts of…

Anyone can plant a tree, but for that tree to grow and thrive, you must take three things into consideration:…

The Three Most Important Ingredients of a Successful Capital Campaign

Free White Paper

Don't Be Trigger-Happy... Four Consequences of Going Public Too Early

Free White Paper

Are You Ready for a Capital Campaign? Use this Checklist to Find Out

Free White Paper

Five Ways a Feasibility Study Can Make or Break Your Capital Campaign

Free White Paper

Four Common but Avoidable Mistakes Made in Capital Campaigns

Free White Paper

Three Reasons You Need a Consultant for Your Feasibility Study

Free White Paper

Learn About
Feasibility Studies and the other phases of a Capital Campaign

When you engage our firm for your campaign, we will walk you through a structured campaign process that incorporates best practices based on our 30 years’ experience managing hundreds of capital campaigns.

At the same time, we recognize that your situation is unique, and we will work with you to design a customized campaign plan that will be the best fit for your own unique set of needs, circumstances, and budget.

Five Phases of a Dickerson-Bakker Capital Campaign

Feasibility Study (3 Months)

  • Assess strength of the case for support
  • Recommend a realistic goal
  • Review likely sources of support
  • Estimate budget, timeline, and plan of action
  • Identify Leadership
  • Uncover negative factors needing to be addressed

Pre-Campaign Planning & Preparation (100 Days)

  • Determine the campaign structure
  • Research advance gift prospects
  • Goal setting for each subgroup
  • Staff and volunteer leadership recruitment and training
  • Craft the campaign case for support
  • Produce campaign printed materials, audio visual, and digital media

Leadership Giving/Quiet Phase (3-12 Months)

  • Solicit advance gifts from staff, Board, and other insiders
  • Solicit leadership gifts from top tier donors and prospects, comprising at least 60%, and ideally 70% or more, of the total campaign goal

Public/Community Phase (6-12 months)

  • Launch campaign with public event(s)
  • Roll out campaign to all constituent groups to challenge every possible donor in as effective a way as possible to commit to the campaign

Fulfillment Phase (Up to 2 years)

  • Close out campaign with a celebratory event (e.g. ribbon cutting)
  • Ensure pledge commitments are paid and donors are properly stewarded through to final completion of their commitments to the campaign

Learn About
Feasibility Studies and the other phases of a Capital Campaign

When you engage our firm for your campaign we will walk you through a structured campaign process that incorporates best practices based on our 30 years’ experience managing hundreds of capital campaigns.

At the same time, we recognize that your situation is unique, and we will work with you to design a customized campaign plan that will be the best fit for your own unique set of needs, circumstances, and budget.

Five Phases of a Dickerson-Bakker Capital Campaign

  • Assess strength of the case for support
  • Recommend a realistic goal
  • Review likely sources of support
  • Estimate budget, timeline, and plan of action
  • Identify Leadership
  • Uncover negative factors needing to be addressed
  • Determine the campaign structure
  • Research advance gift prospects
  • Goal setting for each sub-group
  • Staff and volunteer leadership recruitment and training
  • Craft the campaign case for support
  • Produce campaign printed materials, audio-visual, and digital media
  • Solicit advance gifts from staff, Board, and other insiders
  • Solicit leadership gifts from top tier donors and prospects, comprising at least 60% and ideally 70% or more of the total campaign goal
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  • Close out campaign with a celebratory event (e.g. ribbon cutting)
  • Ensure pledge commitments are paid and donors are properly stewarded through to final completion of their commitments to the campaign
Capital Campaign
Experts
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Partner, Senior VP Client Partnership
Jeff Crabtree
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Founder
Clark Dickerson, EDD
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President & CEO
Derric Bakker, MBA

Meet The Team

Meet the experienced and talented folks that you will be working alongside.

Clients We Have Served with Grant Writing Services

Pathways:

No doubt you’ve heard it said that successful major gift fund development is “all about relationships”. We couldn’t agree more. At the same time, however, it just isn’t that simple. Real success in major gift fundraising is about strategically managing relationships with high-value donors in order to maximize their understanding of, interest in, involvement with, and commitment to your organization and its underlying mission. Even the word “relationships” is ambiguous. Major donors don’t have “relationships” with organizations. They have relationships with people in the organization. Too many put too much emphasis on the relationship with the development officer and overlook the importance of others. Relationships between your organization and its major donors actually have multiple dimensions, each increasingly important as you advance to higher tiers of giving.


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Presentation:

The case statement, also known as the “case for support,” provides a glimpse into the heart of a non-profit organization and is a vital part of any major gift fundraising effort. With over twenty years experience working with major donors we know what they are looking for in an offer. We will work with you to craft a compelling and professional case for support and guide you through the development of additional collateral materials needed to effectively present your case. We will also spend time in the field with your team to help them hone their presentation skills and train them in the “Art of the Close”.


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People:

Of all the building blocks needed to create a major gift program, none is more important than the people you have in place on your major gift leadership team. Having the right people in the right roles is a critical part of the Keystone Solution™ and we will work with you to ensure that your staff and volunteers are well-trained and appropriately gifted for their roles. If necessary, we will work with you to recruit additional members to your major gift leadership team.


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Prospects:

Any good fisherman knows that you can’t catch a big fish if you’ve got your line in the wrong pond. The future success of any major gift fund-raising program is built upon the organization’s ability to attract new donors to support its mission. To ensure on-going growth, a wide base of dynamic support is necessary, which presumes that a significant number of new major donors must be acquired and subsequently nurtured and elevated to rising giving levels. Using both “high-tech” and “high-touch” approaches we will work with your organization to identify a pool of best major gift prospects for your major gift program and to segment them into prioritized lists. As part of our prospecting services, we are also able to provide Donor Research Services to help you realize the major gift potential in your donor database and circles of influence.


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Practices:

Successful major gift fundraising is both an art and a science. The art is in the relationships, but the science is in the systems. Someone once said, “Motivation is what gets you started; good habits are what keep you going.” Putting good major gift development policies and procedures in place and getting into the habit of living by them is a critical part of making a program sustainable. Dickerson, Bakker & Associates will work with your organization to implement best practices within your major gift development department to ensure that the improvements we put in place will continue not just beyond our term of service but can be consistently applied even if you have a turnover of staff.


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Brand:

An organization’s brand is perhaps its most important asset. Most people think of brand superficially—considering only those aspects encompassing the “look and feel” of an organization (e.g. name, logo, etc.). Those brand marks are just outward expressions of your brand, however. At a deeper level, BRAND represents a promise to your constituents of those quintessential qualities that define who you are, what you do, and what you stand for as an organization. Doubt about the integrity of an organization’s brand promise almost always has a detrimental effect on giving, regardless of the effectiveness or competency of the fund development staff. Establishing and adhering to a clear focused brand is foundational in your ability to communicate who you are, what you do, where you are going, and how you will get there.


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Culture:

CULTURE refers to the collective attitudes that characterize and impact the ways that an organization’s people will perceive one another and work together. A “development-friendly” culture provides a fertile soil for giving to flourish. Dickerson, Bakker & Associates has identified six ingredients that together comprise a vibrant, development-friendly culture, and—if consistently applied—will significantly improve your organization’s ability to consistently garner high-level investments from major donors.


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Quality:

While mainstream donors may be satisfied with a simple understanding of what an organization does, major donors are more interested in what an organization achieves, or—more specifically—will achieve with the money they invest. Major donors want to know how their investment is helping bring about positive change in the lives of people. Major donors increasingly condition giving upon delivery of impact metrics, often requesting information on outcomes even before investing. Organizations that are serious about achieving success in major gift development will therefore do best when they embrace a culture that supports and encourages outcomes thinking.


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