leading edge of fundraising

Over the years your organization has continued to grow and develop, and the time has come to expand your physical space. New hospital wings or school libraries are costly ventures, but a capital campaign can make achieving your goals easier.

Various factors come into play when crafting a successful campaign, so you want to make sure you’re entering this venture with a solid plan. iWave is here to help you establish a detailed timeline.

1. Planning

Before you get started on your capital campaign, you need to do the proper planning to ensure every aspect of your campaign goes smoothly. This is the most extensive and  most important part, so you want to take your time and make sure you’re following every important step.

Assemble a Team

The first step of planning your capital campaign is to get the right people on board. Look within your organization for people who share your values and care about the success of the campaign. Some of the positions you’ll want to fill include:

  • Board Members

These are respectable and well-connected people within your community who will serve as the face of your campaign.

  • Staff and Faculty

Assemble various people who work for your organization on different committees to delegate tasks to and organize events.

  • Community Volunteers

No nonprofit is complete without volunteers, so rely on your trusted community to assist where needed.

There may be times when you feel the need to form smaller subcommittees as well. These should be highly specific to the task at hand and can be comprised of as many staff, faculty, and/or volunteer members as needed.

Additionally, there are times you may want to rely on outside consultants such as grant writers and finance experts.

Set a Goal and Establish a Deadline

You don’t want to go into fundraising blind, not knowing where you’re headed or what you need to accomplish. Sit down with your team and discuss how much it would cost for construction. Make sure you’re considering every aspect and also building in a buffer to account for any issues that may arise along the way.

With a clear fundraising goal in mind, you’re ready to set your deadline. This is the date when you need to have all your fundraising completed by. Set smaller milestones along the way as well to keep you and your team on track.

Build a Budget

In order to raise money, sometimes you need to spend money. From events to marketing materials that raise awareness about your campaign, there are various items you will need to spend money on throughout your campaign.

If you think you may need to hire outside consultants to help with various tasks such as building your website, make sure to build their costs into the budget. After establishing your budget, make sure to build this into your end fundraising goal.

Complete a Feasibility Study

With your end goal in mind, you’re ready to complete a feasibility study. This type of research will help discover if you have the support you need to launch your campaign. Members of your team will interview potential or past donors in the community to learn if they would be willing to offer their support.

Your research will let you know if you have the right donors by your side to eventually reach your goal. If the results of your feasibility study are not what you were hoping for, there’s no need to worry. This just means you may need to consider other donors, and this is where wealth screenings can help you.

Conduct Wealth Screenings

Wealth screenings are ways of searching for potential donors for your campaign. By browsing through information like home ownership and past charitable giving, wealth—also known as prospect—screenings can provide you with insight into who is most likely to support your cause.

These can be conducted by a member of your team by combing through personal documents, or you can save valuable time by investing in fundraising software. A highly advanced platform can do the hard work for you, so you can spend more time crafting ways to make your capital campaign a complete success.

2. Implementing

After thoroughly preparing for your capital campaign, you’re ready to set fundraising into motion. What makes capital campaigns so unique is that they split into two stages of fundraising:

The Private Phase

The initial private—or quiet—phase is where you’ll raise about 50 to 70 percent of your total goal amount. Reach out to the major donors you identified in the planning phase when conducting wealth screenings.

To ensure this is as successful as possible, make this process extra personable. Schedule an in-person meeting with potential donors or send personalized letters.

You’ll also want to kick off this phase by having every member of your board make a donation of their own. This shows the community that your team personally believes in your mission and encourages others to follow in their footsteps.

Tips for the Private Phase

  • Create incentives: A great way to encourage large donors to support your capital campaign is by providing incentives for large donations.
  • Offer naming rights: One type of incentive is the naming rights to different building features. From benches and pillars to the building itself, you can create a chart to provide potential donors to show them what type of gift needs to be made in order to earn a naming right.

The Public Phase

Once the private phases closes, you’re ready to open up to the public phase of fundraising. This portion essentially fills in the gaps and raises the rest of the money needed to reach your goal.

In this process, you’re asking a larger audience to make smaller donations. For example, if you’re building a new science wing at your university, you may want to seek out former and current students to pledge donations or conduct personal fundraising campaigns.

Tips for the Public Phase

  • Make fundraising as fun as possible: More people are willing to participate in fundraising if they are able to get involved and have a great time doing so. Host a virtual event or encourage your audience to have fundraising competitions.
  • Spread the word: Establish a website with clear outlines and mission statements about your capital campaign. Update the site often to keep your audience updated with the success of your campaign. You will also want to establish a strong social media following and encourage donors to post about their contributions and ask others to support you as well.

3. Follow Up

At the close of the public phase, you will still have some work to do to guarantee your capital campaign is a success overall. Down the line your organization will continue to need support for various fundraising events and projects, so you want to make sure you’re staying connected to your donors.

Send Thank You Letters

Send every major donor a personalized thank you letter to maintain a strong relationship. You’ll want these letters to be as personable as possible and tailored to each donor.

Some aspects you’ll want to mention include:

  1. Their name: You want this letter to sound like you are speaking one on one with your donor and thanking them for their personal support. Call them by their name, so they understand this letter was crafted specifically for them.
  2. A story: Talk about someone who has benefited from your services and how your donor’s gift will continue to help people like them. For instance, if your capital campaign is raising money for a new community center, you may want to share a testimonial about one of the children who frequently visits there after school.
  3. Current events: How does your nonprofit help in the grand scheme of things? If community centers all over the country have been successful in lowering the crime rate among youth in the city, you will want to mention this in your letter. Show your donor how their support goes beyond just bettering the local community.
  4. Upcoming events: You want to make sure your donors stay your donors, so invite them to any future events you may be having. Let them know you’d like to thank them in person for their gift. At the event, take the time to speak with them and learn about the type of events they’d like to see within your organization. This helps you create more successful fundraising events in the future.

Update Your Donors

Whether they donated in the private or public phase you want to make sure all your donors know the results of your capital campaign. It’s important to keep them thoroughly updated throughout the campaign. Upon completion of your project, you’ll want to let your supporters know and extend another thank you.

How Can iWave Help You Plan Your Capital Campaign Timeline?

It’s important to remember that every capital campaign is different, so your timeline is bound to fluctuate and change. If you’re looking for the best support possible during the planning phase, consider a fundraising platform.

iWave is proud to offer a next-generation platform designed to help uncover the right donors for your mission. We’ll not only show you who would make a good donor, but how much to ask for as well, so you can feel confident your campaign leaves no money on the table.

Schedule a free demo or fundraising assessment with us today to learn more.