Most capital campaigns proceed in a similar manner, beginning with careful planning, securing major gifts early on, announcing the campaign publicly, and finally wrapping up loose ends and (hopefully) declaring success. The major campaign phases are:
In the quiet phase, you will solicit leadership-level gifts from your major donors. Many of these donors will be members of your board, or community leaders you identified and connected with during Fundraising Feasibility. A rule of thumb is that 50 to 60% of the total campaign goal should be secured before announcing the campaign to the public.
When the campaign is announced, it will already have significant momentum and demonstrated community support. According to a standard gift chart, this amount will come from a tiny percentage of your donors, while the remaining 40 to 50% of the total will be secured during the Public Phase.
The Public Phase of a capital campaign begins with a campaign launch, and is then characterized by a process of soliciting donations at various levels. Good management and coordination of fundraising personnel is critical at this stage where a misplaced request could cost the campaign significant funding. Direct mail, telemarketing, email appeals, and a strong web presence are also important factors.
The objective of the public phase is to make it to the campaign goal, but it’s also an opportunity to increase community awareness and support of your project, as well as your organization’s mission and goals.
In the campaign’s final stage, the fundraising team’s focus turns to making sure systems are in place to collect and follow up on pledges, appropriately recognize donors, and use the connections gained during the capital campaign to inform ongoing development efforts.
Publicly declaring a capital campaign complete is definitely cause for celebration, and if it can align with the opening of your facility or a significant construction milestone, all the better!
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