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7 Essential Elements of a Capital Campaign

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There are a lot of strategies out there about the best ways to begin a new capital campaign. And because no two campaigns are exactly the same, it can be difficult to find information and best-practices that fit your unique scenario.  

Generis, a consultant group specializing in helping faith-based nonprofits, churches, and christian schools fund their visions, recently published a helpful checklist outlining important considerations before launching a new campaign. While their list is primarily focused towards Christian education and non-profits, there are certainly some great applications that any organization can take away from this resource. I will highlight just a few of their ideas here, but feel free to download the entire checklist.  

My biggest takeaway from the Generis checklist is in the intentionality of thought and planning before any Campaign begins. They list 7 “essential elements” that should exist for a capital campaign to be a successful:

  1. Mission Alignment: How clearly do the goals of the Campaign advance the organization’s purpose & mission?  
  2. Compelling Reason To Move Forward: Is there a compelling rationale, cost, urgency, and impact on the organization’s future direction?
  3. Reputation of Trust and Achievement: Do you have a track record of following through with promises and progress towards your mission? Certainly, appropriate and timely donor follow-up applies here as well.
  4. Unified Board: Is the board “willing to assume the mantle of responsibility for the success or failure of the campaign?”
  5. Fully Engaged President or Chief Executive: Is the CEO willing to be chief fundraiser, and not merely the vision-caster?   
  6. Wise & Competent Advancement Team: Is there a team in place that can execute the vision of the board and chief executive?
  7. Qualified & Capable Givers: Do you have a way to identify your top 100 prospective givers?    

Once these elements are in place, there are a many proven strategies that will help your campaign meet its goal. Generis lists several, but here are three that I’ve seen play out in different scenarios to much success:

  • Inside —> Out:  Start with your internal contacts and then move outward.
  • Up —> Down: Secure large gifts first.
  • Quiet —> Public: Secure at least 50% of the total goal before publicly declaring your goal. This will build trust and confidence to bring additional funders on board.

One final takeaway from the Generis resource is how they link the campaign goals back to how well you show gratitude towards your donors:  

“A campaign is the perfect setting to deepen a culture of gratitude among community members, staff, alumni, and financial partners. Those who will benefit from the results of the campaign can participate in saying thank you to donors, large and small. Prayers of thanks by the community can focus attention on God’s provision, albeit through His people. That culture of gratitude can impart joy in every setting in which the institution operates. It can energize new givers and help re-engage lapsed givers.”

This is a great reminder that there is never a bad time to show gratitude towards your donors. Whether in a campaign season or not, building donor loyalty will always provide tangible results to help you fund your organization’s mission.

If your church, christian school or faith-based non-profit is looking to do a capital campaign in the near future, the team at Generis would be an incredible resource to help you meet your goals. If you would like to schedule a free 60-minute meeting with a Generis Strategist, visit to reserve your spot today.

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