Budgeting for a capital campaign is always a challenge, in part because an organization doesn't want to foreclose on the possibility
of a good idea just because it isn't in the budget. Therefore, the budgets and costs outlined in the article should be a guide only
and careful thought should go into developing one for your specific situation.
There are generally two costs for a capital campaign – consulting fees (and related travel, etc. costs) and the operating costs of a
campaign (video, brochure, mailing, etc.) Some organizations also budget staff time as a way of getting a true cost of the capital
campaign. The challenge with doing this, especially on smaller capital campaigns, is that the total cost as a percentage of the goal,
may get to be outside acceptable limits.
As a general rule, total costs less than 15% of the campaign goal will be considered acceptable to most donors (less than 10% is
considered very efficient). Organizations should also include the cost to conduct the campaign in their goals (if you are raising
$2,000,000 in a capital campaign you can make the goal $2,200,000 so that funds raised can pay for the cost of the campaign.
Consulting fees can run everywhere from a few hundred or thousand dollars a month up to $20,000 or more per month for full-service,
on-site campaign management.
Operating costs of a campaign can also vary. Below is a sample budget from a campaign. Organizations should look at all of the
items and complete the costs based on their market and their plans.
Chart of Accounts
Campaign Brochures and Prospectuses
Campaign Video and Portable Monitor
Public Relations Expense
Data Processing and Mailing