Behind the Scenes: Building Great Capital Campaigns

Posted by Ryan Finkelstein on February 22, 2018

So much of what makes capital campaigns successful happens behind the scenes before the public ever knows about it. This is typically referred to as the “quiet phase”. A capital campaign’s quiet phase is the stage of a campaign prior to the  public rollout. Nonprofits typically raise 50-70% of their overall goal during this time.

There’s a right and a wrong way to go about managing your quiet phase. Follow the tips below for successful behind-the-scenes fundraising.

Illustration of a pair of hands holding a jar filled with money and other hands putting money in the jar.Be decisive, but flexible about your end goal. Because such a large portion of your prospective fundraising happens here, it makes the most sense to make final evaluations after tapping your top prospects.

Develop your case statement. Now that your capital campaign has a clearly-defined goal, you can come up with a brief overview of the campaign that can help to educate prospects and serves as an informational tool to expand your overall reach. It’s a great way to leave a reminder after meetings or conferences that will keep prospects engaged with your campaign.

Get your board members involved. Board members often shy away from fundraising efforts, but they’re an invaluable tool during the quiet phase of your capital campaign. Educate them about the goals of your campaign and ask them to come up with their own ideas to get involved in a way that highlights their individual strengths and ideas. Then, leverage their relationships to help make introductions and enhance your relationships with prospects.

Carefully select prospects for capital campaign success. If you have a campaign management tool, this is where it will really shine. Use it to easily find the high-quality, major gift-qualified prospects and donors to generate the maximum funds.

Be strategic about your outreach. You don’t need to solicit everyone during the quiet phase, so choose your donors wisely during this time in your capital campaigns. Leverage the relationships you have with your donors in addition to your prospects’ relationships with other potential donors. Understand your constituents as individuals to bring in the highest return when the time comes for your ask.

Plan your kickoff! Your quiet phase will go by more quickly than you expect. When it ends, that’s your chance to kick off with an exciting event to showcase your efforts and campaign achievements while announcing your formalized goal to the public and celebrate your donors.

The quiet phase of any capital campaign is only quiet for one group—the public. The hard work you put in during this time will directly impact your ultimate success, so make sure to set yourself up for greatness by developing clear strategies directly related to achieving your fundraising goal.

An illustration of a woman with raised arms wearing a medal.

Topics: Fundraising Basics, Campaign Management

Written by Ryan Finkelstein

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