At times organizations need to raise substantial funds for a specific purpose apart from annual budgets. Typically, campaigns fund tangible things like an expansion, renovation, or restoration. Capital campaigns are always based on an ambitious vision, or more commonly referred to as Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (BHAG).
When it comes to capital campaigns, some organizations focus primarily on the question of campaign feasibility. But it is just as (if not more) important to focus on the question of campaign readiness.
If you are preparing for a capital campaign, much focus is on your gift officers and programs to develop your overall campaign strategy and identify campaign priorities. During this process, there are often many questions as planning gets underway.
The campaign feasibility assesses the external environment, whereas readiness examines the organization’s ability to manage and maintain a campaign. Here are five questions to ask within your organization to determine if your capital campaign is ready for launch.
Can we identify a lead gift?
The success of capital campaigns highly depends on the initial lead or principal level gifts. If you aren’t able to identify lead gifts, you likely won’t develop the campaign you are envisioning.
The most successful capital campaigns identify where the top two or three gifts will derive. For example, if you’re looking to raise $1 billion, you’ll need to identify lead gifts upwards of $100 million.
Can we identify major gift donors?
Similar to lead gifts, it’s essential to know where a significant number of major gifts will come from. If you can’t, it might not be time to launch, and your time would be better spent developing your major gift fundraising for your annual fund.
How well-positioned are we to solicit, receive, and steward the gifts that donors will give?
Donor relations are an organization’s comprehensive actions promoting long-term engagement and quality interactions with donors. Positively manage prospect relationships over time by focusing on the seven steps of solicitation.
- Thank and Steward
Are our advancement services teams prepared for a capital campaign?
You can’t reach audacious capital campaign goals without the proper teams to support your initiatives. If the expectation is that your current staff and resources are sufficient for campaign production, you might fail to reach new, ambitious goals. Instead, assess the areas you may need additional support.
From prospects to patients, members to alumni (and everyone in between), the people who fuel and fund an organization’s future present an immense amount of data to be captured, managed, and visualized—ultimately leveraged by the experts in advancement services.
Do we have the prospect development pipeline to meet our capital campaign goals?
You must know what’s in your fundraising pipeline. One way to determine if the pipeline works as it should, is to determine whether people from your donor list are spread throughout.
Remember, there are three main reasons people donate:
- deep passion for the cause;
- belief in the organization; or
- know someone affected by the mission.
Accurate Constituent Data
In addition to readiness, accurate constituent data, efficient and reliable gift tracking, and reliable campaign reporting are critical components to your capital campaign success.
An organization’s most valuable asset is its accurate constituent data. The Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system is usually the central piece of software at an organization. The CRM is more than a database—proving intelligence and functionality organizations need to optimize fundraising and communication with their supporters.
Accurate data sets you up for fundraising success—allowing you to set reasonable goals, evaluate your team needs, reach constituents, track gifts efficiently, and analyze reliable campaign reporting.