PMA Consulting, LLC

3 Keys to a Successful Capital Campaign

A capital campaign is an intensive fundraising effort by a nonprofit organization to raise a specified sum of money to meet a variety of asset-building needs. While economic constraints on donors and nonprofits have largely frozen many capital ventures the previous few years, many organizations are beginning preparations for either “bricks and mortar” fundraising or for more diverse comprehensive campaigns. However, in these tenuous times, it is critical for your organization to be prepared to execute a success campaign. Below are three ideas to prepare you and your nonprofit for a successful 2012.

  1. Volunteer Engagement: When your organization is in the planning phase for a capital campaign, gaining involvement of key volunteer leadership (board/committee members) who have the capacity to give and get significant donations is crucial. You’ll want to gain input from this constituency to discuss project costs, as well as the vision and timeline for a campaign.
  2. Feasibility Study: Whether your organization hires external counsel or has the capacity to run a study internally, a feasibility study will help to “test market” the campaign strategies to members of the community. This study will help gauge both the organization’s readiness as well as the community’s willingness to give to a campaign as it is currently formatted in the case for support.
  3. Staff Structure: When organizations are preparing for a major capital venture, it’s important to make sure the staff is prepared internally. Major gift officers, database processors and administrative support are generally needed to go along with individuals who will continue to focus on annual fundraising.

If your organization is looking to begin a campaign in 2012 or in 5 years, proper preparation will help determine the proper timeline, goals, and structure for your campaign. Although there may be additional steps for an organization to consider prior to beginning a public campaign, having as much knowledge as possible will help you be successful.