Getting Your House in Order for a Capital Campaign

Feb 22, 2021

Financial stability is important before entering a capital campaign, particularly to leadership donors. No one wants to fund a “sinking ship.” If your organization is in a weak financial position, you will need to stabilize it. You’ll need to have sufficient reserves to cover contingencies and up-front campaign costs. Remember that you will be seeking pledges that might not be paid in full for three to five years, and you will likely need to approach a financial institution for short-term financing or a construction loan. These financial entities will be asking tough questions to make sound business decisions about financing your organization.

Have You Met Your Development Goals?

During your last fiscal year, how did your organization’s unrestricted gift income compare to your annual appeal goal?

  • We exceeded our goal by 15 percent or more.
  • We met or slightly exceeded our goal.
  • We were within 5 percent of reaching our goal.
  • We were more than 5 percent short of reaching our goal.
  • We did not have a goal.

How would you characterize the role that fundraising and philanthropy play in helping your organization meet its annual operating budget and/or fulfill its mission?

  • We conduct an ongoing and substantial fundraising program and receive philanthropic support each year. Without this income, our operations would be significantly curtailed, and fulfillment of our mission would be threatened.
  • We conduct an ongoing fundraising program and receive philanthropic support each year. These funds represent a substantial part of our total operating revenue.
  • We conduct organized fundraising and/or receive philanthropic support each year. These funds represent a relatively modest, but important, part of our total operating revenue.
  • We have never conducted organized fundraising or regularly received philanthropic support that has represented a significant portion of our annual operating revenue.

If you don’t have a successful annual giving program in place, it’s not impossible to run a successful capital campaign, but it will be more challenging and will probably take longer. So, start getting ready for that campaign now, even it’s several years down the road.

To learn more about capital campaigns and your campaign readiness, take my course, Capital Campaigns: Yes, You CAN Do It. Sign up here


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