Tracking a capital campaign for fundraising success 9 months ago

Capital campaigns, or bricks-and-mortar campaigns as they’re often known, usually refer to fundraising campaigns that go above and beyond the general budgetary requirements of a charity or not-for-profit.  

Capital funding is generally earmarked towards a new building, an upgrade to current infrastructure, or an extension of an existing structure to increase operational capacity.

Because of the complexities involved in delivering high-level projects, capital fundraising campaigns are managed as a separate project to general fundraising income and involve coordination of multiple internal and external stakeholders. 

Once the campaign committee is selected and the scope of the capital campaign defined, the following five tips will help keep a capital fundraising campaign on track. 

1)Set a fundraising goal

A capital campaign requires a structured overview of the short and long-term fundraising goals and specifically, the groups which you intend funds to be raised by.

Perhaps half the funds will be allocated through a major giving campaign and the rest through a public appeal.

In some cases, a trust or foundation may pledge 50% as a matched giving donation as long as the remainder is raised through other means.

Whatever the cost of the project, capital campaigns are complex. A clearly defined fundraising goal highlighting the targets for each section will help keep the project on track.

2) Report results

Regular income reporting is essential to keep all internal and external stakeholders informed of the real-time progress of a capital campaign.

Create a unique donation code to allocate to capital donations to avoid earmarked funding being swallowed up in the general fundraising budget. Reports should be run weekly and presented to all members of the campaign committee to provide visibility of how the campaign is tracking.

Regular reporting will help you tweak the campaign to avoid it getting to the point of no return if results aren’t as predicted.

Capital campaigns can be lengthy so create a regular communication strategy to report to donors the progress of the campaign to avoid them feeling like their donation has fallen into a big black hole.  

3) Create a project case for support

The project case for support is a high-level document containing all the information potential donors and investors may require. There’s likely to be a lot of publicity surrounding the campaign including media and radio advertising, and a detailed case for support should be accessible for potential investors of all levels to view at a moment’s notice.  

The case for support is an opportunity to create a compelling appeal that will encourage community support. You can find out more about writing a case for support here.

4) Define a contingency plan

You’ve established that there’s a clear need for the project and your case for support will demonstrate the benefits for the donor, but fundraising campaigns don’t always go as planned.

Have a ‘plan b’ in place in case the initial launch of your campaign doesn’t achieve the expected outcomes, or for every milestone you fail to reach.

Throughout the project, once you’ve started implementing the build, it will be too late to go back if targets aren’t achieved, so commit to the point you’ll re-direct the strategy if it becomes necessary. 

5) Implement a donor stewardship program

A capital campaign is an excellent opportunity to attract the attention of new donors who may not have previously supported your cause. Capital campaigns often appeal to philanthropists seeking an opportunity to create tangible change with their donation so you should expect to add many new major givers to your database.

Stewardship ideas could include naming a building or piece of equipment after donors, or a wall of fame or commemorative plaque with high-level donors details on them.

Always use campaign and giving codes in your data management program so you always refer to the support in future correspondence with high-level donors.

Capital campaigns are complex, have a large number of variables and require effective management to deliver projects on time and within budget. SupporterHub is a donor management and data tracking tool that has data reporting capabilities to track and report income, meet stewardships obligations, and help you consistently stay on track to achieve pre-defined goals.

To find out more or to arrange a free trial, contact us today.