Planning for a Successful Capital Campaign: Infrastructure

capital campaigns Feb 23, 2021

Donor Records and Development Office Infrastructure

Having a single database that will track your campaign information, allow you to communicate with your donors and volunteers, and prepare campaign reports will be critical. If you’ve never run a campaign before, this might be the first time you’ve had to track multi-year pledges. If you’ve never worked with volunteer fundraisers, you might not have needed to track the results of volunteer solicitation calls. If you will need short-term financing, your lender will want to see cash-flow projections for the campaign. Be sure you have a system that can track these things.

How would you describe your organization’s giving records?

  • We have a single, integrated, and always-current donor database managed on a computer with development software. This software was purchased within the past three years or is updated regularly and contains complete donor giving histories for the past five years or more.
  • We have reliable individual donor giving records for at least the past three to five years on a computer and are using development software; we can usually produce reports and mailings which meet our needs reasonably well.
  • We have records of almost all individual giving, including most fundraising events, mailings, and/or activities of the past three years, but they are not integrated using development software. Records are in Excel, Access, or some type of database that is not a licensed fundraising software program.
  • We have almost no permanent records showing gifts received more than about a year ago.

Can you trust that the information on your donor database, including both contact information and donation history, is up-to-date and accurate?

Will your donor database allow you to record and report on campaign pledges and donations, volunteer activity, and other critical donor information?

Fundraising Policies and Procedures

 Why is it important to have fundraising policies in place?

Most nonprofit organizations have personnel policies, fiscal policies, and board policies, but often these same organizations have never taken the time to develop fundraising policies. Since you will likely be accepting major donations, gifts in kind, and perhaps unusual gifts, these policies will be especially important during your campaign for a number of reasons:

  • They prevent you from accepting gifts that may be inappropriate for your organization or the campaign.
  • They prevent you from accepting gifts that have "strings" attached to them.
  • Consistent policies prevent your staff from reinventing the wheel if an unusual situation arises during the campaign.
  • They provide guidelines for volunteers who are making solicitation calls.
  • They provide guidelines on how to dispose of or invest non-cash gifts.

What should these policies cover? Some things to consider when developing gift acceptance policies:

  • How will gifts be solicited?
  • From whom will the organization accept gifts?
  • What types of gifts will be accepted?
  • How will those gifts be acknowledged and recognized?
  • How will gifts be disposed of or invested?
  • What kind of stewardship will be provided to the donor?

Do you have gift acceptance polices in place?

Office procedures are important for all your development activities but will be even more critical during a campaign. This might be the first time you’ve had to deal with multi-year pledges, major donors, and unusual gifts. You need to be prepared for all these things.

Do you have office procedures in place for accepting, recording, and reporting campaign pledges and donations?

You might need to purchase a new database, upgrade your current system, or train your staff in using the database to track campaign data. In addition, you might need to develop policies and procedures before you start the campaign. There is a table in my workbook that will help you create a plan to do that.

To learn more about capital campaigns and building the infrastructure needed to run your campaign, take my course, Capital Campaigns: Yes, You CAN Do It. Sign up here

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