How to Start a Capital Campaign Plan: A Mistake-Proof Checklist
Many organizations are either planning a capital campaign, or thinking about one in the future.
It’s what happens early on in the capital campaign planning process that really lays the groundwork for success. This Checklist Tool will help you and your team evaluate how prepared you are for a capital campaign in the future.
In our work with clients to set up winning campaigns, we begin by evaluating their readiness based on these seven strategic areas.
It’s what you do ahead of time that makes all the difference in capital campaign planning.
Laying the groundwork for a successful capital campaign is like stacking the dominoes. You take the time to carefully and strategically get organized, and line everything up.
Then, once the campaign begins, everything comes together quickly. Like the dominos, they all drop one after the other in perfect sequence.
Please know that very few organizations can say 100% YES to all these questions below. It’s the questions that you answer “maybe” that will point out your focus for the next few months.
This is a handy tool for the board and CEO to understand just how much additional preparation they need to do before moving forward with a capital campaign.
In laying the groundwork, you want to prepare your board carefully for the campaign. You’ll want everyone to be in full agreement on the proposed plan and strategy to move ahead.
Can your board set the financial pace for a campaign?
Are your board members considered to be leaders in the community?
Is your board in full agreement on the proposed plan for a campaign?
Does your board have good fundraising connections?
Do your board members operate with business minded board practices?
Does your board have a good relationship with staff?
Influential campaign volunteers can help your campaign gain credibility and momentum. If the right people are standing behind your initiative, then you can move forward quickly.
Do you have a history of influential people involved with your cause?
Can you enlist top leaders in your community who are well-known to help lead the capital campaign?
Do you have volunteer campaign leaders or campaign chairs already enlisted?
Can your volunteer leaders make major gifts to the campaign?
For a campaign to be successful, you’ll need donor prospects with leadership giving capacity. Run the numbers and evaluate your campaign prospect pool Your first step will be to renew and refresh your relationships with key funders and leadership donors.
Do you currently have a vigorous major gift program in place?
Do you think you have the donor prospects to reach your campaign goal?
Are your donors well cultivated and involved?
Can you identify your leadership gifts up front?
Can you identify 15-20 potential sources of major campaign gifts right now?
DEVELOPMENT OFFICE and INFRASTRUCTURE
Often the factor that can make or break a campaign is the staff itself. You’ll want a strong, bold and experienced fundraising team that is highly motivated and raring to go.
Do you have experienced, capable staff?
Is the development office fully staffed now?
Is your administrative back office functioning smoothly?
Do you have a system for tracking pledges and policies for accepting gifts of stock and real estate?
Have you allocated funds to staff up and pay for campaign expenses? (the campaign will cost 8-10% of your overall dollar goal.)
Have you determined if you need outside expert guidance as Campaign Counsel?
Make sure you lay out the need and justification for your campaign in plain, simple, and emotional language. Follow it up with supportive data.
Is the need well established, urgent and understood?
Do you have an updated strategic plan?
Do you have an updated master facilities plan with completed capital projections and budgets?
Can you convey the impact of your project in vivid emotional terms?
Do you have data to back up the need you are addressing in your case for support?
It’s important that your organization is well-respected in the community. For donors to make significant gifts, they need to have confidence in your leadership.
Is your organization well respected in the community, with a track record of success?
Is there confidence in your organization and its leadership?
Are you communicating your results and your good work to the rest of your community?
Are you visible in the community?
Clearly, you would like a positive economic environment to bolster your campaign. But don’t forget, you can still be successful even in uncertain times.
Is the fundraising environment good right now?
Are the economic conditions in your community good right now?
Bottom Line on Capital Campaign Planning.
If you have these conditions all set, then you are ready to embark on a capital campaign.
If not, it’s time to get to work enlisting volunteers, identifying prospects, cultivating your prospective donors and sharpening up your case for support.
Let us know if we can help. We’re happy to provide a free strategy call to guide your capital campaign preparation and planning, anytime.