When it comes to expanding your mission, few activities will yield as significant an impact as a capital campaign, helping you take a substantial leap forward towards your growth goals. At the same time, capital campaigns are complex and can seem daunting to many. If you have a capital campaign in your future, following these do’s and don’ts will help you achieve success.
Do your research. Never make assumptions about your donors. When considering a campaign, it is vitally important to understand how donors view your ministry and the extent to which they will invest their time and resources into your campaign. That is why a Feasibility Study is such an important step in the capital campaign process.
Do a thorough job planning and preparing in advance. The success or failure of any campaign is often “baked into the cake before you even put it in the oven”. Developing a compelling case for support, recruiting the right leadership, crafting a well-conceived campaign plan, and cultivating key major donor relationships are all important tasks that will require attention early.
Don’t cannibalize your annual fund. Some nonprofits – such as universities and healthcare organizations – don’t rely on fundraising to fund their day-to-day operations. You do. So, when raising money for your capital campaign make sure donors understand that pledges for the capital campaign should be “over and above” their annual giving.
Don’t be afraid to ask for big gifts. Nonprofit leaders often have difficulty asking for major gifts because it seems like so much money. Don’t fall into the trap of “fundraising out of your own wallet”. Remember – what may seem big to you may not be big for your donor.
Don’t underestimate the power of peer-to-peer fundraising. One of the reasons why capital campaigns are effective is because they provide opportunity for Board members and other volunteers to raise money on your behalf. When it comes to campaigns, nothing beats a team of motivated, passionate, and connected volunteers working in partnership with dedicated staff and an experienced consultant.
Don’t miss a zero in haste. Clark Dickerson, the founder of DickersonBakker has conducted hundreds of successful campaigns over his four-decade career. His best advice? “Give your campaign time and space to breathe”. It is important to push the process forward to maintain momentum in a campaign. But be mindful that big, transformative gifts take time to develop.
Don’t wait for a better time. There is never a “perfect time” to do a campaign. If you have unmet needs in your community and a vision to reach and serve more people, there will never be a better time than now.
Is there a capital campaign in your future? We can help you achieve success. Contact us today to see how our team of capital campaign consultants can help you reach your goals.