Getting to and Through the Four Phases of a Capital Campaign
Sylvia adds that bringing in a consultant to conduct interviews often can elicit much better information than handling it in house. “Sometimes donors don’t feel comfortable talking to an executive director or another staff person or even a board person because it may be speaking truth to power, and they don’t want to be in an uncomfortable position.”
Organizations then should use the feasibility study findings to strengthen the case for support and any other areas that need fixing. Then it’s time to recruit individuals who can help raise funds. Organizations should seek out people who have visibility in and are respected by the community. Some may be board members, but a capital campaign is a good time to reach out and bring in new volunteers. If the volunteers do well with raising funds for the capital campaign, they might be good board prospects in the future.
After the feasibility study is done and volunteers are found, the campaign begins. The stages of soliciting funds include:
1) Quiet phase. In this stage an organization solicits those gifts that were identified in the feasibility study, approaching its strongest donors for the initial, larger gifts that get the campaign going. During this phase an organization should seek to raise 30 percent to 50 percent or more of its goal. The idea is that when you open the campaign up to the public you want to be able to position it as being successful. It encourages others, particularly smaller donors, to give, knowing they’re a part of a successful campaign.
2) Public phase. After about 50 percent or so of the goal is reached in the quiet phase, an organization embarks on the public phase of the capital campaign. It should announce that it is launching the campaign and that it already has raised X number of dollars. In this phase organizations are looking for smaller leadership gifts of $10,000 to $25,000, and gifts of any amount in general.