Getting to and Through the Four Phases of a Capital Campaign
The best way to determine an organization’s need for a capital campaign is by doing a strategic plan that outlines the goals and direction of the organization for the next three to five years.
That according to Corrine Sylvia, founder and president of Corrine Sylvia & Associates, who currently is campaign counsel for Pennsylvania’s West Chester Area Senior Center’s $1.5 million capital campaign and the Philadelphia-based Congregation Rodeph Shalom’s $10 million capital campaign.
“Out of that strategic plan will come either capital items or programmatic items that you need to find funding for over and above what you raise for the annual fund, and that’s usually where the very beginning of your capital campaign comes from,” she explains.
If, after doing the strategic plan, an organization realizes it needs a bigger facility, Sylvia says the next step is to determine what it will cost to create the facility and what it will cost to raise the funds to build the facility. Then take a look at your organization. Do you have enough staff? Do you have enough donors? If you do a capital campaign, can you also sustain an annual campaign? Do you have enough volunteers to go out and solicit gifts?
In the session she co-presented in Philadelphia May 18 for the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals on how to have a successful capital campaign, Sylvia suggests that the next step is a feasibility study will address questions about how individuals feel about your organization. For a $5 million capital campaign, Sylvia recommends interviewing 35 to 40 key donors, being sure to address their feelings about the specific campaign, your organization in general (visibility, leadership, staff, its image in the community, etc.) and their reactions to the case for support, the document that explains the organization’s need for donations.