Andrea Kihlstedt

Andrea Kihlstedt

Andrea Kihlstedt is an author, speaker, trainer and founder of Capital Campaign Masters. She literally wrote the book on launching successful capital campaigns: “Capital Campaign Masters, Strategies that Work,” fourth edition coming this fall.

Her company, Capital Campaign Masters, offers pre-campaign planning services: coaching, board readiness workshops and online courses to help get organizations ready for a successful capital campaign. Kihlstedt also created the TRY THIS blog, which looks under the surface of human behavior to find the simple but powerful lessons about wholehearted living.

Find her on Twitter at @andreakihlstedt and @capcampaignmasters.

Looking for Your Top Campaign Gift? Check These 5 Places First

If you are in a capital campaign, you’ve got to have some prospective donors who are likely to give really big gifts. If your campaign goal is $5 million, for example, you’ll likely need a gift of $1 million or more to anchor your campaign. If your goal is $3 million, you’ll need a gift of between $500,000 and $750,000...

Ask Yourself 3 Key Questions Before Asking for That Big Gift

For most people, asking for gifts in person is difficult. And when you are asking for one of the top campaign gifts, it’s even harder because the stakes are super high. Chances are, you don’t have very many donors who would consider giving one of those lead gifts. So, it’s no surprise that when you ask those donors for very big gifts, you are anxious...

A Failing Capital Campaign Is Not Possible (If You Do It Right)

Once you recruit powerful volunteers to serve in leadership positions of your capital campaign, you have an obligation to make sure they succeed. Period! The leaders and philanthropists of your community put their reputations on the line when they agree to serve on your campaign committees or in leadership positions. To let them down and embarrass them by letting a campaign fail will have serious negative consequences for years to come. So, don’t make failure an option...

A Great Way to Help Your Donor Decide on the Right Gift

As you get ready to ask people for gifts, you will certainly wonder how much to ask them for. Sometimes you’ll know enough to have a sense of what’s appropriate. You can look at their giving history to your organization. You might also find out about other gifts they’ve made to comparable projects. Giving, like many other activities, has a large element of habit...

How to Prevent Donors From Sugarcoating Their Comments

Most people hesitate to give criticism or honest feedback. I’ve done it myself—sugarcoating my comments rather than telling someone what I really think. Unless someone asks me specifically what I really think, probing in various specific areas, I’m more inclined to give positive feedback...

How to Approach the Wealthiest People for a Gift the Right Way

Once you get over your misconceptions that rich people are so different and that they won’t want to talk with you, you’ll find that if you share common interests, you can bridge the wealth gap and build a relationship that may well lead to a gift...

Pop Quiz: How to Approach the Richest People in Town for a Gift

Do the wealthiest people in your community seem beyond your reach? Perhaps there’s a business person in your city who seems to have her fingers in most everything. She is the developer of the town’s most prestigious residential community...

Change Your Mindset: Capital Campaigns Build More Than Buildings

What’s the first thing you think of when you think “capital campaign?” I’ll bet it’s buildings. Most people believe that capital campaigns raise money for new buildings. In fact, many people think that donors like to give big gifts for buildings...

How to Recruit First-Rate Volunteers for Your Capital Campaign

Your capital campaign’s success depends heavily on the work of volunteers. The right sort of highly capable campaign volunteers add a breadth and depth to your campaign that your staff simply can’t replace. Volunteers won’t just open doors, solicit gifts and help with all sorts of tasks, but they’ll also be generous donors to your campaign...

A Cautionary Tale: Gift Solicitation Gone Wrong

Have you ever wondered what the ideal number of people is to solicit a gift? Is a one-on-one meeting best? Perhaps you should bring two people—your president and campaign chair? Or perhaps three people would be even better—president, campaign chair and board member. Sounds reasonable, right? Get a power team to solicit a power gift! But here’s a story that will set you straight...

Find the Right Board Giving Goal for Your Capital Campaign

What percentage of your campaign goal should your board members give to your capital campaign? Twenty-five percent? Forty percent? Ten percent? Again and again, I’ve seen board members stumble over this question. They want to do what’s right; but really, they have no idea what’s appropriate or more importantly, what’s possible...

To Make an Impact, Ditch Unnecessary Anxiety and Unwarranted Blame

I tossed and turned much of last night worrying that an email I sent to someone had been too critical. You know the feeling that starts just after you press the send button and immediately wish you hadn’t? But this morning I found a genuinely appreciative email from the guy, thanking me for my unvarnished…

Throwing Spaghetti for Capital Campaign Success

Have you ever thrown spaghetti at the wall? Either literally or figuratively? This week, try doing something just a bit outrageous just to remind yourself that you can and to know what it feels like...

Capital Campaigns and Conference Calls: A New Meeting Format

If you are planning a capital campaign, you should develop your skills at managing conference calls. The success of capital campaigns will depend on your ability to recruit and manage great volunteers. And these days, pulling volunteers together for meetings is harder than ever...