A capital campaign is often the flagship event or campaign for a non-profit. In many cases, this single undertaking could require months of planning and earn the funds needed to help a non-profit operate for a large portion of the year.
One reason capital campaigns are so common among non-profit organizations is because they provide the opportunity to reach a wide range of potential donors. This is important because there are only two ways to increase funds for a non-profit: either increase donation amounts or increase the number of donors.
As you may suspect, a large number of donors donating a smaller amount is much more lucrative than a small number of donors donating larger individual sums.
However, a capital campaign is not just about money. While the funds earned are nice and can certainly help continue operations for a sustained period of time, there should be multiple goals when conducting a capital campaign.
There are so many opportunities during a capital campaign to connect with people and grow your organization’s profile. What should you focus on in addition to fundraising for your next capital campaign?
Build a Strong Base of Volunteers
Nearly 30% of Americans volunteer some of their time each year with 80% of non-profit organizations saying they rely on volunteer hours to provide services. Clearly having a strong base of volunteers is an important key to success for non-profits.
Integrating a volunteer drive into a capital campaign is a great way to connect with a lot of people while not having to put out a lot of budget for a separate volunteer drive. Since money is already allocated to the capital campaign you are essentially killing two birds with one stone.
Your volunteer drive doesn’t have to get in the way of your capital campaign nor does it have to be an –in-your-face style of volunteer drive. Instead, use the profile and events within the capital campaign to provide sign up sheets to interested people.
The advantage of doing a volunteer drive during a capital campaign is that you have a captive audience. You know the people attending events and donating funds are interested in the cause. They require a lot less convincing than people who are approached at random.
If your capital campaign winds up with a large event or gala then be sure to provide volunteer sign up forms to everyone who attends. Take time to explain how much volunteers mean to your non-profit. If possible, put a dollar value on each hour of volunteer time. Use the power of your capital campaign to build a volunteer base that lasts well beyond the end of the wrap up event.
Grow and Update Your Contact List
If you have ever been involved in planning a capital campaign then you know the costs that go into such an endeavour. Of course, the results are often worth it but it would also be nice to have year long donations to count on.
A capital campaign is a great time to grow email and telephone lists that can be used throughout the year to procure donations and rally volunteers.
In addition to growing existing lists, a capital campaign presents a unique opportunity to reconnect with previous donors and volunteers to ensure contact information is updated and correct.
Using these contact lists throughout the year provides two distinct benefits. First, you can stay in touch with donors and volunteers regularly and remain top of mind even long after your capital campaign has ended.
Secondly, using these existing contact lists is much more cost effective than running additional campaigns. As a result, non-profits that make smart use of the contacts they have can direct more funds toward their services rather than to marketing.
As privacy and contact rules change you may also want to assess your contact lists and see if updates are needed to meet regulatory requirements. While this may seem like additional work during a busy capital campaign, it is important work that needs to be done to ensure compliance. An updated contact list can be expertly used throughout the year to keep interested donors and volunteers aware of upcoming events and news in the non-profit world.
Build Strong Corporate Partnerships
Having a committed corporate partner that shows strong support for your non-profit can be essential to success. A capital campaign is a great time to build and grow relationships with corporate partners.
Corporate partners often look at non-profit partnerships as a part of their marketing plan. They want to help but they also want to be seen and recognized for their donation. This is why a capital campaign with large events, marketing budgets, and plenty of eyes to see the success is a great time to bring new corporate partners on board.
Once a relationship has been built with a corporate partner, they can be a source of funds and volunteers. Businesses can rally their staff to volunteer for big events that helps them be seen in the community. These benefits can last long beyond the capital campaign timeframe and a strong partnership could help your organization expand efforts and awareness.
Plus, once a corporate relationship is established it can be maintained and grown over time. As a result, less funds and resources will need to be committed to finding new corporate partners for future campaigns.
Excite Dedicated Donors and Volunteers
Many non-profit organizations have a dedicated base of people that are there through thick and thin. A capital campaign is an exciting event that can re-energize people who have been working tirelessly to deliver exceptional service.
Involve volunteers in planning and operations aspects of the campaign, bring them into the planning meetings so that they understand the goals, and look for input when appropriate. While gaining new donors and volunteers is nice, keeping the stable number of people already dedicated to the cause excited and involved is just as necessary.
A successful capital campaign depends on a dedicated base of supporters to make it run smoothly. Enlist people for help and get them excited about the campaign. The success felt during a capital campaign can sustain people when times get difficult. Plus, when people see excited, dedicated volunteers they may be more inspired to volunteer their own time which can help build on your existing volunteer base.
Announce New Programs or Initiatives
The time of excitement and attention surrounding a capital campaign is a great time to make major announcements and maximize the attention your organization is getting.
Use this excitement to your advantage. When all eyes are on your capital campaign, make new program announcements. Not only is this a great way of marketing announcements but you can also kickstart excitement about the program and encourage increased donations.
If appropriate, set fundraising goals for the new program and make it a focal point of your capital campaign. The interest and excitement surrounding the new program will only bring more attention to the capital campaign.
Other initiatives like expanding programs or partnerships with other organizations are also great things to announce during a capital campaign. Not only will this help bring in more attention but partnerships are a great way to expand marketing reach as partners share the news on their own social media channels.
Be Creative and Seize Opportunities
A capital campaign is not a rigid, set-in-stone, cookie cutter kind of undertaking solely aimed at garnering donations. Adapt your capital campaign to meet your organization’s unique needs and capitalize on the excitement surrounding the campaign.
A successful capital campaign can pay dividends long after the campaign has been wrapped up and the money has been counted. Make long term goals for your capital campaign and think beyond just the dollars and cents.
Every marketing dollar spent on events or advertising should be aimed at helping achieve multiple goals. Set your goals, make a plan, and make those goals a part of your capital campaign.
Ultimately, with the right planning, your capital campaign will create a strong base from which you can build success for the rest of the year. Set your goals, make a plan, and begin working to creating a more effective, more complete capital campaign that addresses a number of organizational needs beyond just funding.