“Go or No Go?” – The Power of “Preliminary” in Capital Campaign Planning

In a recent visit to Greenville, SC, Erik J. Daubert, MBA, ACFRE shared one of his favorite words in capital campaigns – “preliminary.”  He pointed out that when developing a capital campaign plan, nonprofits should include critical checkpoints – this includes constant and formal “check ins” with board that allow for great communication and management during process:

  • During Education and readiness – no, not yet, or keep going?
  • During Project Development – no, not yet, or keep going?
  • Before Fundraising – no, not yet, or keep going?
  • During Fundraising – no, revise, or keep going?
  • After Fundraising – what have you promised?
  • Other

By checking in at each phase, tyour nonprofit leaders take the time to ensure that the campaign proceeds with the best likelihood of success and the least likelihood of putting the organization’s reputation in jeopardy.

It is important to remember that strong capital campaigns are by definition time-limited.  The length of the campaign depends on the quality of the planning, the strength of the case, the size of the goal, the number of campaigners and prospects, and the organization’s readiness. But the better the planning, the shorter the campaign can be.

As Jamie Inman, Chief Mission Advancement Officer with the YMCA Greenville, shared in a panel at the end of the day, a capital campaign should have a solid and comprehensive plan before it is launched. An organization must follow every one of those steps, not skipping any or taking shortcuts along the way. If that plan is followed, then the likelihood of success is much greater.

Of course, success is what GPP members want for nonprofits who engage in capital campaigns and for donors like themselves who choose to invest in them.

For a list of books and periodicals to improve your fundraising check out some of Erik’s favorite books on philanthropy recommended during his recent visit – you’ll find a reading list for a virtual degree in fundraising!


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