This question is one that I am asked frequently. And it is a great question! It is wise to ask yourself this question before launching into a Campaign, uncertain if it is the right time.
It is best to make sure we clarify the kind of fundraising Campaigns that you may want to explore:
A Capital Campaign
Traditionally, this is what everyone refers to for a major gifts project that is going to fund a new facility, campus or renovation to an existing set of facilities. However, more than not, major gift campaigns are inclusive of other important elements that align with the strategic direction and goals of your organization. This includes long-term planning needs such as a Reserve Fund or establishing / building on an existing Endowment. Additionally, there are often Program goals that align with the other aspects of the Campaign which may include additional staffing and infrastructure tools like a database to track your donor and stakeholder engagement. A traditional Capital Campaign is primarily focused on just bricks and mortar and not these other elements.
A Major Gifts Comprehensive Campaign
This kind of campaign is the one that encompasses several elements. A Comprehensive Campaign includes several or all of the following:
Land Purchase or Donation
Bricks and Mortar for Facilities (New Build and/or Renovations)
Infrastructure Support (i.e. Technology)
2-3 years of Operating Support
An Endowment Campaign
As this is named, this type of Campaign is specifically focused on raising funds to support the future sustainability of an organization or a particular project. For some organizations who are providing direct service needs to clients, an endowment campaign may be established to help either:
Provide long-term sustainability for the facilities, infrastructure and programmatic needs of the organization; and/or
Establish resources for programs that can help with prevention of the issues that they are solving for their clients.
In a recent client engagement for FBC, a feasibility study was conducted to explore the possibility of establishing an endowment for the evidence-based programs that are focused on helping to prevent the epidemic of child abuse. Ultimately, it was found that there is enough interest of seed funders to help create such an endowment and the organization has embarked to hire staffing and start cultivating donors who have an interest in not just treating the problem but getting ahead of it with proven programming.
Review this 10 item checklist to help you gauge if you are ready for a Campaign. We are always happy to discuss your goals and the opportunities that lie before you!
Does a campaign support your mission and vision? Is it tied to your strategic plan?
Do you have effective staff and volunteer leadership?
Do you have the infrastructure and systems that can support a capital campaign?
Do you have a compelling vision and plan?
Do you have capable and interested potential donors and investors who will step up early?
Have you enlisted advice and gained consensus from your stakeholders through a Campaign Readiness process?
Do you have a track record of success in the organization (in program delivery and fundraising)?
Are you prepared to make an investment in planning and executing the campaign? Is there seed money?
Do you have a positive culture of philanthropy in your organization?
Will you be able to stay the course throughout the campaign?