A major capital campaign can be one of the most cost effective ways to raise a large block of capital for the needs of your nonprofit organization. In fact, today many large nonprofit organizations use a continuous capital campaign to supply the funding needs of their organizations.
While this course of action isn't advisable for most organization, an occasional major capital campaign can still be an effective way to raise the funds you seek.
But in doing any major capital campaign there are many things that can go very wrong. That's why it is essential that you plan your campaign carefully and proceed with caution.
Here are some steps to help you do your major capital campaign successfully:
1. Do, or have done, feasibility study that will answer such questions as: Are you really ready for a capital campaign? Do you have the donor bases you need? Does your staff and people have the expertise to do such a campaign? Do you have the positive public image to conduct your campaign? Is any competitor organization doing a capital campaign when you plan on doing yours? And, have you exhausted all other fundraising methods to obtain the funds you need?
2. Select a campaign chairman for your capital drive to provide the volunteer leadership that you will need. The role of being your capital campaign chairman should be this person's main volunteer responsibility because a great deal of time and effort will be required of them.
Also, if possible, avoid making your board chairman your capital campaign chairman, since what you need to do is to supplement your current leadership with your campaign chairman selection. Rather than saddling your existing leadership with a heavier workload.
3. Set up a capital campaign Coordinating Committee to set fundraising goals and objectives, and oversee the progress of your capital campaign. And also set up your other capital campaign fundraising committees which may include, depending on the make up of your organization, a Board Committee, a Past Board Committee, a Friends Committee, a User's Committee, an Employee Committee, a Top Donor Committee, and other kinds of committees.
4. Prepare good documents that are clear, crisp, and compelling, which sets forth the goals and objectives of your campaign, as well as the benefits that will be derived from it.
Some of the many kinds of documents you'll need are: A capital campaign chart, development proposals, campaign case statement, campaign newsletter, donor recognition materials, pledge cards, and three or four campaign solicitation letters for each year of your campaign to name just a few of the many kinds of document you'll need.
5. Have your campaign Coordinating Committee do a final assessment of your campaign goals about two or three months before your campaign kickoff. This assessment is to decide if your campaign goals are realistic or not.
As a rule, before you go public with your campaign announcement you should have 25% of your goal in hand or pledged. If not, you may need to reduce your goal or postpone your campaign for now. This is far better than to face the public embarrassment of doing an unsuccessful capital drive.
6. Implement your campaign plans, if you decide you're ready, by soliciting your lead gifts, advanced gifts, and employee gifts first. Then publicly kickoff your campaign, which can be as short as 9 months for say a church, or a multi-year effort as most campaigns are covering two or three years.
During each year of your campaign you'll be sending out three or four solicitation letters, as well as regular progress reports on just where you stand in relationship to your campaign goals.
If done right, and done very carefully a major capital campaign can be an excellent way for you to raise major funds for the work of your nonprofit organization.
Moreover, a successful major capital campaign will also enhance the public image of your organization in your community or the geographic area that you serve. Which will make it much easier to do your regular annual fundraising once your successful major capital campaign has ended.
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About the author: Berwyn J. Kemp is a development consultant
who helps nonprofit organizations obtain funding. For free subscription
to his newsletter Nonprofit Funding Solutions, or full details on
his funding products and services, or to read more of
his re-printable articles you can visit berwynkemp.
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