We asked you to share with us your most pressing campaign questions. And we got so many questions that we’ve decided to give you some quick answers to the most common questions.
10 Answers to Critical Capital Campaign Questions
You’ll learn more fully about these ten topics in the coming months on this site. But here’s some practical advice you can apply TODAY for ten of your most pressing capital campaign questions.
1. How should we determine our campaign goal?
Your campaign dollar goal will be the financial estimate that grows from the list of things your campaign will accomplish. You should figure out a working goal for your campaign early in the campaign planning process.
A working goal is akin to a draft. You’ll try it out and test it in the initial phases of your planning. You might increase or decrease it once you complete the leaderships gift phase of your campaign and have a clearer notion of what’s possible.
2. How soon should we start planning our campaign?
Start planning your campaign sooner rather than later!
Your campaign planning begins long before you start asking for money. It begins at just about the same time you start figuring out what you want to raise money for. Use your planning process to involve and engage the people you will go to for major gifts to support your project.
In a nutshell, don’t wait until you’ve finished your project plan to start planning your campaign. Instead, use your planning process to get a jump on your campaign.
3. Does our little organization need a campaign consultant?
Unfortunately, its the small organizations with small campaigns that usually need a campaign consultant more urgently than the big campaigns. It’s also the small ones that don’t have the money to hire one.
Small organizations often don’t have campaign experience. They have good will, high hopes, commitment and passion and the best of intentions. But they don’t know much about capital campaign fundraising.
If you’re a small shop and planning your first campaign, find a way to get some expert advice. It’ll keep you from making deadly mistakes!
4. What are some tips for finding a perfect campaign chair?
- Have clear, written expectations — then be willing to bend them to fit your chair’s realities.
- Make a strong case that the campaign is likely to succeed — no campaign chair wants to fail.
- Get other leaders in your organization to help recruit your chair — they are much harder to turn down.
- Be persistent — agreeing to chair a campaign isn’t a decision your perfect candidate will make lightly.
5. Do we need a fancy campaign brochure?
Most of the large gifts to your campaign will be solicited by your leadership without a glossy campaign brochure.
But your campaign volunteers will feel more comfortable asking for gifts if they have an appealing and effective brochure.
6. What role should our board play in our campaign?
- Your board should approve the plan that leads to the campaign.
- Your board should also approve the campaign itself.
- And your board members should each make a financial commitment to the campaign.
Beyond that, some board members may play an active role in the campaign itself and others may not.
7. Can we go back to early donors at the end of our campaign for help reaching the goal?
Yes, you can (and you should) go back to some of the early donors for increased gifts as your campaign gets close to the goal.
Many of them will be happy to help you sail beyond the goal by increasing their gifts.
8. What role should events play in our campaign?
Campaign events fall into three categories:
- Cultivation events
- Momentum building events
- Celebration events.
For the most part though, don’t think you will raise the money for your campaign through fundraising events! That’s not the right approach. (Stay tuned for an eBook on campaign events by Gail…soon!)
9. Our organization is about to turn 20. Is that a good reason to have a campaign?
While celebrating birthdays is a great opportunity to recognize people and highlight an organization’s history, your organization’s birthday is not a good excuse for having a campaign.
But the occasion of a big anniversary might trigger some forward thinking and planning for the next 20 years. And those plans ARE a good basis for a campaign!
10. What are typical proportions for endowment, building and operating support in a campaign?
We know you like the straight scoop and formulas to guide you. But on this point, there’s no straight scoop.
The proportional allocation of your campaign has got to be based on the specific situation of your organization. So here’s the real answer: It all depends…