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Online Giving in Capital Campaigns

Online Giving in Capital Campaigns

When you think of capital campaigns, you probably focus on major gifts. After all, those are what will propel you to your goal. It would be quite unusual to receive a major campaign gift online. However, online fundraising in your capital campaign can be an effective way to acquire and retain new donors.

Here are some ideas to get you started:


Setting Up for Success


Setting goals is a valuable step in the capital campaign process. Where does your online fundraising fit in? While you are setting up budgets and fundraising goals, it is beneficial to view online fundraising goals as percentages of your main capital campaign goals.


After you set your goals, the quiet phase begins. The quiet phase of your capital campaign occurs when you are focusing on planning and you have not yet gone public (this is also when you’ll be soliciting the bulk of your major gifts).


Use the quiet phase to set up an awesome landing page for collecting your capital campaign donations online, including modern design and enticing copy.  The landing page for your online fundraising campaign is how you first communicate with new donors. Give it the attention it deserves.


Acquiring Donors in the Final Phase


The final phase of a capital campaign is often the outreach to the larger community.  This may bring in only a fraction of the funds, but it has the potential to bring in a host of new supporters to your organization. 


In fact, it’s a great idea to include a goal around new donors along with your dollar goal.  If you build the right relationship with these new folks, some of them will be your lead donors for your next campaign!


Promoting Online Fundraising


The first and most obvious place you should be promoting the online fundraising portion of your capital campaign is on your own website. Besides having a fantastic landing page, you should give the fundraiser prime real estate on your front page. Include a link to your online fundraising page on the home page of your website. There, it will be one of the first things new site visitors see.


You should also plan to promote your online fundraising campaign on your social media accounts. Social media will allow you to reach not only your current constituents but also a whole range of possible new donors. There are plenty of free tools that can help you stand out on social, so don’t be afraid to try something new!


Adding Campaign Creativity


Next, it’s time to get creative and incorporate unique incentives for visitors to donate. For example, if your capital campaign includes a building, use online giving to sell bricks or other ways for people to be recognized in the physical structure.  Consider creating levels for this type of recognition—the more you give, the bigger your brick. Allow people to write their own message on the brick, and then make sure they can find it on the patio (or wherever it is installed) at the grand opening.


Another creative way to maximize the number of gifts is to consider building a matching gift pool for your online solicitations. Telling people that their gift will be doubled or tripled is a proven method to increase your success rate. Including an ask for money to build your matching pool early in your campaign ensures you’ll have the promise in hand by the time you’re ready to reach out to the community.


Be sure to put a time limit on the match to create a sense of urgency and scarcity. Perhaps you’ve heard this call to action on your public radio station: “Respond now to make sure we meet the match.”


Maintaining Transparency


During the final phase of the campaign, you want to involve some of your closest supporters in soliciting their friends through peer-to-peer fundraising. It is imperative that you maintain transparency by making sure they have up-to-date information about who has already given so they don’t embarrass themselves by asking a friend who is already a major campaign donor.

Throughout the process keep everyone informed about your progress toward meeting your goal, not just for money but also for new supporters. That final push over the top can be a big motivator for fundraising volunteers to send those emails and make those calls.


What Not to Do


Be very careful to avoid soliciting high-end prospects through an online donation request during a capital campaign! Carefully segment your list so you target only those who are expected to make a modest gift for the current campaign. Do not give a high-end prospect the “out” of making a token gift online.


Capital campaigns provide the perfect environment for implementing online fundraising. Online giving, especially when coupled with a time-sensitive match and recognition opportunities, is a great way to close out your campaign.