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Phases of a Successful Campaign

Article By William C. Krueger

Generally speaking, successful capital campaigns will go through five distinct phases, usually in pretty much the same order. While not all prospects will be solicited in one phase, the following description outlines the basic phases and what is accomplished in each.

Individual financial goals, and specific objectives, should be established for each phase in order for campaign leaders to evaluate whether the campaign is on target.

Most capital campaigns consist of five specific phases with specific goals. These phases are:

Phase One – Pre-Campaign Planning

This phase allows the volunteer and staff leaders to seriously evaluate their commitment to a campaign – as opposed to their commitment to a new building or equipment – and start to develop the basics in preparation of conducting a successful campaign. Included in this phase is a careful internal evaluation of needs, discussion of whether or not campaign counsel is needed, and an honest appraisal as to whether the organization is ready for such a major undertaking.

Phase Two - Pre-Campaign Planning and Feasibility Study

This initial phase, usually conducted in six to eight weeks, allows an organization, with the aid of counsel, to objectively evaluate:
  • its image in the community
  • how its case for fund raising is viewed by leaders and donors
  • whether quality leaders are available to help in the campaign
  • prospective donors and potential giving levels
  • whether proper resources are available to conduct a campaign
Additionally, a detailed, comprehensive fund-raising plan is developed. The campaign plan includes lists of prospective donors and leaders, timetables, job descriptions for leaders, commemorative opportunities, an education and public relations plan, a table of gifts and other necessary ingredients to a successful campaign.

A thorough Case Statement is prepared for initial review by the Board of Directors.

Phase Three - Organization Phase

This phase creates the tools necessary for fund raising.
  • Leadership Plan Book
  • Fund Raising Prospectus
  • Fund Raising Brochure
  • Video Presentation
  • Develop Campaign Theme
  • Case Statement
  • Leadership Recruitment
  • Public Relations Effort
  • Detailed Corporate and Foundation Research

Phase Four – Solicitation Phase

This phase is the central phase of the campaign and focuses on the actual cultivation and solicitation of major and advance gift prospects. Additionally, proposals to regional and national foundations and corporations are prepared and submitted. The full public information and public relations plan is implemented.

Phase Five – Post-Campaign

This phase is a "catch all" for outstanding solicitations remaining from earlier phases. Many of the decisions will actually be made in this phase, so effective follow-up and public relations efforts are critical here.

All prospects are encouraged to make their decision during this phase if they have not yet responded.

A comprehensive pledge redemption system is also recommended.

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