Capital Campaign Planning

Our strategic implementation of capital campaigns is characterized by a commitment to executing a well-structured plan based on clear measurable indicators of progress and complemented by an ability to quickly adapt to roles that are necessary for meeting the demands of the project. We approach all fundraising projects from a systems perspective. In doing so, we provide our clients with an underlying framework for understanding how effective fundraising works without the necessity of prescribing a one-size-fits-all solution. We desire to create for our clients a fundraising culture that is as unique as the mission and those they serve. We recognize that an organization’s fundraising philosophy will inform the plan, the plan will determine the people in the plan, the people will drive performance, and, finally, performance will reflect the philosophy.

It has been our observation that the traditional two-phased approach to campaign planning results in an over-emphasis on the two book-end categories of donors – those giving very large gifts and those giving comparatively smaller ones. This tendency often neglects to make the necessary investment in developing the two middle categories of donors which is also where we tend to see the campaign later lag in performance. This lag in the middle categories can easily account for a 20-30% shortfall in achieving your goal. We have also observed that the two-phased process is overly-reliant on paid professionals in the first half and, in contrast, overly reliant on volunteers in the second half. Our goal is to balance the contributions of professional staff with volunteers throughout the entire campaign.

We organize our campaigns in four phases. Each of the first three phases have the goal of raising approximately 30% of the total campaign. Dividing the campaign into phases is not in any way to suggest multiple, separate campaigns. We organize our efforts to ensure that all commitments are solicited in three years. We will generally solicit pledges for up to five years. The final phase is what we refer to as a circle-back wherein we solicit the final ten-percent among those who were hesitant to commit in an earlier phase.