Typically, conducting a capital campaign is reserved for larger projects that require a serious amount of time and investment. I’ve managed campaigns with a goal as little as $500,000, but they are typically $1 million or more.
You can find a bunch of questionnaires and surveys online that will help you figure out whether you’re ready or not. Better yet, find a consultant who can lead you through a fairly simple feasibility study. It will be money well spent. (Hint, hint.)
If you’re just wondering what general areas you should pay attention to, here are a few suggestions.
You have to have:
- Demonstrated and validated need,
- Influence and credibility in the community,
- Project feasibility and fiscal responsibility,
- Demonstrated ability to attract and maintain major gifts, and
- Capacity to manage a campaign operation.
There’s one other question that, in my opinion, is a deal breaker. If you can’t answer this question with a resounding “YES!” you have no business embarking on a capital campaign.
Is your board organized to provide solid and sustained leadership to your fundraising efforts?
I know I’ve been harping on this topic for the past several weeks, but I keep running in to organizations that don’t expect their board to be fundraisers. And I can’t understand why.
Undertaking a capital campaign is a lot of work. Even for a smallish goal, it takes a lot of effort. In my experience, unless the board of directors is already actively engaged in giving (at a significant level) and getting (large gifts) a capital campaign will not succeed. This is just one more reason that you MUST build a comprehensive fundraising program that includes your board of directors.
I know I’m making this WAY too simplistic. Getting ready for and running a successful capital campaign is challenging and complex. But if you’re ready, it can also be an incredible boost to your volunteers and can significantly advance your mission.
Are you ready?