apital Campaign Definition: What is a Capital Campaign?

 

Over the years, iWave has worked with leading nonprofit organizations to help them achieve an array of goals. One strategy that our clients use often is launching a capital campaign.

If you’re wondering if this is the right strategy to help achieve your mission, consider the following aspects of a capital campaign. We’ll break down exactly what goes into this type of fundraising and how you can ensure it goes smoothly. Let us show you how!

Check out our Capital Campaign Guide 

The Definition of a Capital Campaign

A capital campaign is a fundraising strategy that’s particularly useful for achieving long term goals. This type of campaign is also known as a brick-and-mortar campaign, because it’s traditionally used to erect buildings or add on a new wing to an already existing structure.

The overall goal of a capital campaign is to raise money while on a strict timeframe. For example, if you’re looking to construct a new library for your school by the fall semester, this is the right type of fundraising for your educational organization.

Capital campaigns are unique from other forms of fundraising in that they consist of two main phases: Private (quiet) and public. In the private phase, you’ll be reaching out to potential donors with major gift asks to receive the majority of the funding needed to complete your project. Then, in the public phase, you’ll complete your fundraising from a larger audience.

When Should You Start a Capital Campaign?

Capital campaigns are a great way to achieve goals that will propel your organization forward and enhance growth. There are three times when utilizing this type of campaign would be most useful to your organization:

  1. When you’re in need of a new resources

Has your university grown its science program, requiring a new lab equipment? Does your hospital need to purchase the latest tech for surgeries? Either way, a capital campaign may be the best way to accomplish these goals!

  1. When you’ve outgrown your space

As your afterschool program continues to expand to more communities in need, you may realize you can no longer rent your space and need to purchase your own recreational center. With a capital campaign, you’ll be able to set a strict timeframe and jumpstart your fundraising to meet that goal.

  1. You want to expand your legacy

A physical building is a great way to leave a mark on your community for years to come. A new rehabilitation center at the hospice you work at will continue to assist those in need even if you were to retire from your organization. Capital campaigns can help you build permanent structures that your community will be able to benefit from in the future.

How to Organize Your Campaign

Since you have a strict timeframe in which your building needs to be constructed or your equipment needs to be purchased, nothing is more important than staying organized during your capital campaign. There are some great ways to accomplish your goals and it all starts with the right team and strong organizational skills.

Assemble a Team

Whether you’re a grassroots organization or a thriving university, you know the importance of working together as a team. Before you get started with your capital campaign, make sure you’re taking the time to locate the best team members for your mission.

Some positions you’ll need to fill include a planning committee and board members. Make sure you’re choosing people whose beliefs strongly align with the cause and who have the right skills to keep your project on track.

Establish a Firm Timeline

Not only do you need to establish a strict end date, you and your teams will also need to set up smaller fundraising goals along the way. Since there is a private and public phase during a capital campaign, it’s important you’re setting goals for what donations you need to reach during that time.

Your team should all be receiving consistent updates on goals to stay on track. Also, reach out to your community and let them know the progress you’ve made so they stay engaged and interested in your mission.

Check out these tips to plan a successful capital campaign 

The Phases of a Capital Campaign

There are five phases to a capital campaign, and it’s important you follow each one to ensure success in your fundraising.

  • Planning

As mentioned before, there’s a lot of pre-planning that needs to happen before you launch your capital campaign. This is the stage where you’ll assemble your team and create a timeline and goals. During the planning phase you also want to perform wealth screenings.

Wealth screenings are designed to show you who is most likely to support your campaign based on ability to give as well as history of charitable giving.

  • Private Fundraising

Typically, you want more than half of your donations to come from the private phase. Therefore, it’s crucial you’re reaching out to the right people to get the funds your mission needs. During this time, you’ll utilize your wealth screening results to contact potential donors and ask for major gifts.

Make this stage as engaging as possible. When people feel like they are receiving something in return, they are more likely to give. Consider setting up naming rights to various aspect of your building from benches outside of the structure to the name of the building itself.

  • Kick Off

After you end the quiet portion of fundraising, you’re ready to open up to the public! Make sure you have a website detailing the clear mission, goals, and progress of your organization so donors can learn why they should support you. Your social media should also have this information to reach a wider audience.

  • Public Fundraising

To close out fundraising, open up to the public. This stage is just to “fill in any gaps” in your fundraising. Raise as much as possible in the initial private phase to ensure the public portion goes smoothly.

Again, make fundraising exciting by hosting events or holding auctions. The best part is everything can be done online such as a virtual silent auction, meaning you’ll be able to reach potential donors from around the world.

  • Wrap Up and Assessment

The final step in your capital campaign journey is to close out fundraising and take time to reflect. Ask your team what they learned, what went right, and how they can use what they learned to create more successful fundraising in the future. Then, take some time to enjoy the fruits of your hard labor!

How Can our Fundraising Software assist with your Capital Campaign?

As you can see, the most crucial part of a capital campaign is the private portion of fundraising. iWave’s software is here to provide you with the tools for your capital campaign.

Our software scans billions of datapoints to uncover the right donors and donations for your cause. Not only will we break down who has the ability to give, but we’ll also show you who has a history of contributing to like-minded causes making them more likely to support your campaign as well.

Our fundraising platform can also show you how much to ask for, ensuring no money is left on the table and that you’ll have a more successful quiet phase. Contact us today to learn more with a free demo or fundraising assessment!