Capital Campaigns That Work

by | Jun 28, 2016

10 Steps to Capital Campaign Success

Imagine with me for a second that your nonprofit has grown exponentially. You have no more room in your building to fit your staff. Heck, the cleaning closet has been turned into an office. You know what that means! It’s time to roll out a capital campaign and raise funds for a new building.

1. Devise Fundraising Goals and Tactics

After coming up with building plans and cost estimates, think about your fundraising goals. How much money do you need to raise? What tactics will make your campaign come to life? Setting goals and tactics will give you a solid framework for what comes next.

2. Create a Committee 

Invite a committee of board members, staff, and major donors to assist in your decision-making process. Assign tasks and train committee members to make asks, solicit donations, and apply for grants.

3. Make a Timeline and Stick to It

Work backward through your timeline from the date of breaking ground to your initial campaign conversations. Identify attainable benchmarks within a given time frame and hold all parties accountable.

4. Frame Your Campaign for Your Audience

A successful capital campaign lies at the crossroads of what your organization needs and how you’re meeting the needs of your audience. Frame your campaign to be audience-centered. Yes, you’re asking for money to help your organization, but ultimately your audience is helping you build the building.

5. Reach Out to Major Gift Prospects

Having a room, a wing, or a building named in a loved one’s honor is appealing to some major donors. Adding these incentives to your capital campaign will help elevate fundraising capabilities, and allow your major gift prospects to feel included in the work your organization is doing.

6. Hold a Kick-off Event

People love a good party, no matter the excuse. Inviting potential and active donors to a kick-off event will allow you to reach your audiences at the same time. If you’ve acquired a match challenge sponsor, announce this at your event and get people excited about the capital campaign.

7. Utilize Social Media

Elizabethtown College in Central Pennsylvania used social media to engage and instill active participation from millennials, an unreached population within their audience. The campaign exceeded their goal of 200 by attracting 800 donors instead. The college president stated that a lot of their success came from social media and its use to spread the word about the campaign.

8. Meet Your Benchmarks or Adjust

You’ve already established benchmarks for your capital campaign—now it’s time to make sure you’re meeting your goals and, if not, don’t sweat it! Adjust your goals and press on.

9. Evaluate It and Evolve

Graphcom has a five-phase approach, which includes evaluating and evolving tactics to meet short-term and long-term goals. This same methodology should be applied to all fundraising campaigns to help you meet your fundraising goals.

10. Celebrate Your Accomplishments

Lastly, celebrate your successes and take pride in what you’ve accomplished. Consider holding a culminating event for everyone involved!


There you have it—10 steps to capital campaign success. Ready to get the creative juices flowing? Give us a call at 800-669-1664 or send us an email. We can’t wait to help you get started!
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