9 Reasons Every Organization Should Have a Capital Campaign Every Decade or Two
Welcome to the first installment of CapitalCampaign PRO. I’m Andrea Kihlstedt and I wrote the big book on capital campaign fundraising.
Capital campaigns—those big, scary fundraising events that happen every once in awhile—embody some of the essential lessons of great fundraising. Capital campaigns raise money to springboard your organization to the next level. They are not your day-in, day-out slog. They’re inspiring, energizing and occasionally terrifying.
In this blog, you’ll learn lots about capital campaigns, but you’ll also find tips and tools that’ll help you raise more money year in and year out.
Mind you, I think that every organization should have a capital campaign at least every 10 to 15 years.
Because if your organization wants to expand so you can do more good work, you’re going to need more money to invest in that growth. (Frankly, if you’re not striving to grow, you should be asking yourself "why not?")
If you need more convincing, here are nine compelling reasons for you to get started planning a capital campaign.
- A capital campaign will give you a rare opportunity to think from abundance rather than scarcity. You’ll be able to think expansively about what you might do if you could raise five or 10 times more (or even more) than you currently raise.
- A capital campaign will push you, willy-nilly, into major gift fundraising. If you already have a major gift program, it’ll make it even bigger. And if you don’t, a campaign will kick-start the major gift process with a bang.
- A capital campaign will give you a great opportunity to prune your board, clipping off the dead wood or, perhaps more accurately, scaring away the dead wood.
- A capital campaign is a great opportunity to review and upgrade development systems. You’ll even be able to tuck some money for infrastructure upgrades right into your campaign budget.
- It will help you get over your fear of talking to major gift prospects. As you think bigger and work to expand your vision, you’ll find that the major philanthropists in your community would actually like to talk with you about what you’re planning.
- If your fundraising program is too reliant on events—and it probably is—a capital campaign will push you out of event-driven fundraising in a big hurry.
- Want to train your board members on the many important ways they can help with fundraising? A capital campaign will light a fire under your board members and provide a great opportunity to train them.
- Do you wish you had a stronger relationship with the major donors in your community? There’s no better time to connect with your community’s philanthropic leaders than when you’re planning a big step forward.
- Does your year-in-year-out fundraising feel like a slog? A capital campaign will breathe new life into you and your entire staff. There’s nothing like a bit of adrenaline!
So encourage your leadership to start thinking about what it could achieve if it had the courage and will to conduct a capital campaign. There’s nothing like thinking from abundance to create excitement in you, your staff, your board and your community.
Andrea Kihlstedt is an innovative leader and expert in capital campaign fundraising. She wrote "Capital Campaigns: Strategies That Work (4th ed)," often referred to as the “bible” of capital campaign fundraising. She founded Capital Campaign Masters and co-founded Capital Campaign Toolkit, an online capital campaign resource and platform.