Welcome to the first in a seven-part series about capital campaign basics. Click here to read the introduction to the series.
- Capital Campaign Basics: 7 Steps to Success
- Step 1: Clarify Your Fundraising Goals
- Step 2: Write Clear, Effective Campaign Material
- Step 3: Develop a Gift Range Chart
- Step 4: Make a List of Prospects by Giving Level
- Step 5: Contact Your Best Prospects
- Step 6: Ask for Gifts in Person Using Gift Range Chart
- Step 7: Follow Up with Every Donor
In last week’s post, I outlined seven simple steps for your capital campaign. The first of them, clarifying your case and your campaign goals turns out to be more challenging than you might imagine.
Should you dream big dreams and shoot for the moon? Should you stick within what you believe to be realistic and achievable?
Is there dishonor in starting with a with a high goal and then having to reduce it? (The answer to this question is “NO.”)
Even in the work my Margaret on her $15,000 campaign described in my last post, becoming clear about what she was raising money for and how much she should raise was a challenge. When Margaret came to me, she thought she would raise $8,000. In fact, she was afraid that even that modest amount might be more than she could raise.
As we talked, I realized that in order to complete her project successfully, she’d need more than the $8,000 she was proposing. After all, what’s the point of raising money if it’s not enough to accomplish the task effectively?
Margaret was so worried about how she was going to raise the money and whether she could raise it that she was shooting far too low.
A Realistic Budget is a Good Starting Place
I sent Margaret back to the drawing board to develop a realistic budget—one that was big enough to enable her to successfully carry out her project. Two days later she sent me a new budget—this one for $12,000. And after looking at it, I said, “Margaret, it will be no more difficult for you to raise $15,000 than it would be to raise $12,000. Why don’t you shoot for $15K?”
Shakily, she agreed. She would go with the larger goal that would enable her not only to prepare for and do the project, but also to cover the costs of promoting it.
Yes! Now Margaret had a goal that made more sense.
The higher goal did make her anxious, but she was willing to take the plunge.
With this budget and clear objectives she has a reasonable starting point. And from that solid beginning, her entire campaign will flow.
By many standards, Margaret’s objectives and campaign goal is small, but the process she is going through is exactly the same process required of any capital campaign no matter how big.
Three Simple Things to Keep In Mind as You Get Started
Here are three key things to keep in mind as you firm up your capital campaign goals
1. Campaign Objectives: Clarify your campaign objectives. Make sure you really know what you want to do with the money you’re planning to raise.
2. Campaign Goal: Set your capital campaign goal high enough so that when you raise that amount you will actually be able to accomplish your objectives. Remember that most projects go over their budgets, so be sure you build in a cushion.
3. Emotional Tolerance: Set a fundraising goal that takes your breath away but doesn’t make you pass out. I know, that’s a pretty subjective measure, but if you pay attention, you’ll know what that feels like.
Check out Gail Perry’s post for more information about setting and finalizing your campaign goals.
Got your goals and objectives? Start work on your case for support.