Foundations for Success: Developing a Solid Capital Campaign Plan

Posted by David Blyer on February 20, 2018

Once you have a goal set for your fundraising campaign, it’s time to start planning your capital campaigns. When you create a clear capital campaign plan, you are providing a clear and organized vision that will ultimately lead your organization to successful fundraising. The more involved you become in the planning stages, the more your capital campaign can do for you.

A successful capital campaign includes the following six components:

Illustration of a hand signing a contract with various communication icons surrounding it.

Campaign Timetable

Your capital campaign plan should include three distinct parts: the planning phase, the quiet phase, and the public phase.

During the planning phase, you’ll be forming the team that will lead your capital campaign and conducting any research or studies that might be helpful for your goal. This is also the time to set up your capital campaign website and general communications plan before going into the quiet phase.

The quiet phase is the time you’ll spend creating collateral and branding for your campaign, as well as hosting donor events and building corporate partnerships to help reach your goals more quickly.

Don’t let the title “quiet phase” fool you; you should be anything but quiet when it comes to this phase. It’s quiet in the sense that your outreach is not public; this is the time when you should be making your one-on-one appeals to major donors. Some nonprofits find this phase yields the bulk of their large donations.

Finally, your public phase gives you the opportunity to launch with a kickoff event, leverage your capital campaign via social media, and engage as much as possible with your donors through email blasts, campaign updates and progress videos.

Organizational Structure

Just like your organization itself, it’s important for your capital campaign plan to include a clear hierarchy of leaders and players to effectively bring your campaign to life. Clearly communicate with your entire team to ensure everyone is made aware of roles and responsibilities as they relate to one another and provide a resource manual with written descriptions for all responsibilities for each individual.

Communications Plan

The success of your capital campaign depends on your channels of communication with donors. Easily reach your donors wherever they are by utilizing multiple platforms and types of messaging. From texting to email blasting to creating engaging social media campaigns, align the messaging with your organization’s mission and the goals of your capital campaign to help you retain and grow your donor base.

Depending on your donor demographics—which you can develop using our donor profiles ebook—you might want to consider communicating via direct mail or phone-a-thons in addition to digital avenues.

Campaign Budget

When developing a budget for your capital campaign, it is important to not only factor in the timeline of all your projected expenses but also to be mindful of other important elements to keep your campaign costs as low as possible. Be sure to set aside some funds for unexpected costs that may pop up during the campaign. If there’s anything you can expect when creating a budget, it’s that something unexpected will come up.

Campaign Policies

Each capital campaign you plan for your organization will require a unique set of policies to ensure goals are met and timelines are adhered to. Not only will these policies strengthen your internal organization, but they will help to solidify donor relationships by providing clear and understandable guidelines for all fundraising efforts. Consider adopting a Donor Bill of Rights to help steward donors and reinforce the principles of your organization when developing your campaign policies.

Donor Recognition Plan

With every capital campaign comes an opportunity to recognize the individual donors who helped your organization to reach its goal. From a gesture as simple as sending a handwritten note from your organization’s board to naming your new building after your most prestigious donor or donor group, there are a multitude of creative ways to show appreciations for your donors.

Your donors get involved with your capital campaigns to connect to your mission more directly, so it’s important to acknowledge their involvement in a way that recognizes their commitment to your organization. 

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

Topics: Fundraising Basics, Campaign Management

Written by David Blyer

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