Why do we say that nonprofits should consider a capital campaign every ten years?
No, we don’t think you’re going to want to build or buy a new building every decade!
But we do think that, at least every ten years, you should find the courage, energy and passion to catapult your organization forward.
Make a Bigger “Ding” in Your Universe
At least every ten years — and perhaps more often than that — you should think seriously about what you’d need to do significantly more of for the people you serve, or to serve a lot more people, or in some way make a much a bigger “ding” in the universe (to quote Steve Jobs).
Just think about the possibilities!
- What if, instead of being timidly rational every single year, you marked each decade with an ambitious dream to really change the world — or at least your corner of it?
- What if, instead of serving 250 women in need of food and shelter, you developed a plan to radically improve the lives of every woman in need in your community?
- What if, instead of spaying or neutering twenty stray dogs and cats a day, you figured out what it would take to make a much bigger dent in your area’s population of feral animals?
In other words…
What if, instead of doing “business as usual,” you did something extraordinary?
That’s the kind of thinking your organization should do every few years. It’s the kind of thinking that energizes staff, volunteers — and donors.
10 Reasons to Think Bigger and Consider a Capital Campaign
Often (though not always) thinking bigger will lead to a capital campaign. If you and your board generate the kind of inspiration that infuses your organization with vision, courage and excitement about how much more good you can do in the world, a capital campaign is the likely outcome.
Here are 10 reasons to think big and consider a capital campaign for your nonprofit.
1. Energize your board.
Your board members will become more engaged. In fact, you’re likely to find that big thinking about making a transformational difference in your community attracts more energetic, more effective new board members.
2. Enjoy bigger gifts from board members.
Your current board members will make larger gifts. Your plans, and the resulting capital campaigns, will provide a bigger context for those gifts and an effective structure for making the asks.
3. Boost investment in your development program.
Your board will be willing to invest in your development program so you’re ready to raise the money to fund your dreams. Say your goal is $1 million. Taking just 10% of that amount for your fundraising shop means you’ll have $100,000 to spend on new staff, communications, upgraded donor software, donor recognition… and more.
4. Improve your ability to raise money.
Your entire organization will get better at fundraising. Board members, development staff and even program heads will be excited to help bring in the money needed to make the vision a reality.
5. Increase your nonprofit’s visibility.
Your nonprofit will become more visible — much more visible — in your community, and maybe even beyond. New ideas and programs and big gifts attract press coverage like sugar attracts ants!
6. Encourage face-to-face fundraising.
The pressures involved in your capital campaigns will push — even force — staff, board members, and other volunteers to get involved in face-to-face fundraising in a way that annual appeals just don’t.
7. Engage new community leaders.
Your visions and campaigns will give you lots of opportunities to engage new community leaders who, over time, might play a long and important role in your organization as it transforms itself from merely good to great!
8. Attract more volunteers.
Your expanded vision will attract more volunteers – who, with time, may well grow into the role of board members.
9. Feel accomplished with an end goal.
Unlike your annual fund drive, the capital campaign will end — and lead to a great feeling of accomplishment!
10. Reach a whole new level.
Once your capital campaign succeeds, you’ll have the pleasure of taking your nonprofit to a whole new level of service –- which in turn will attract even more volunteers, community support, and major and smaller gifts alike.
Change is Good — and Necessary
Don’t let your organization get stuck in the rut of doing what you’ve always done.
Every few years, find the courage and will to think expansively about what might be. Those thoughts will inspire you and your board to imagine a bolder future. And capital campaigns have a way of making bold visions come true.
** Photo credit: sbay650 / 123rf Stock Photo