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Critical Tools For Your Capital Campaign

You just can’t ask people for a gift to a capital campaign and expect you’ll be successful. You need a plan that to which you stick. And, it can be remarkably uncomplicated.

According to Amy Eisenstein, ACFRE, you need six elements: A Timeline; Objectives and Working Goal; Case for Support; Gift Range Chart; Depth Chart; and, Campaign Policies.

Eisenstein, who heads, made her comments during a session earlier this year at the annual international conference of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in San Antonio, Texas.

Timeline is obvious, according to Eisenstein. It begins with pre-campaign planning which can start three to 12 months before the campaign; campaign planning itself starts at two months. A quiet phase follows at six to 24 months, with a public phase of at least three months in duration.

There is, of course, a feasibility study that can last at least two months, and kicking off the public phase when you have reached 65 percent or more of goal. There’s also a post-campaign phase that can last up to six months.

Everyone needs goals in their life and planning a capital campaign is no different. Your statement of working goals includes objectives, a gift range chart, case for support, donor recognition plan, campaign policies, campaign timeline, committee structure and budget.

You also need to have answers for these policy questions:

  • On what date will you start counting gifts?
  • On what date do you anticipate completing the campaign?
  • What will be the standard pledge period for the campaign?
  • Are there any exceptions which allow a donor to extend that pledge period?
  • What will be the relationship between capital campaign gifts and gifts made to ongoing operations?
  • What kinds of gifts will and will not count?
  • How will you handle gifts that have been designated for a specific use by the donor?
  • How will you qualify/evaluate prospects to be solicited?
  • Who will be responsible for creating practices for record keeping, billing and accounting?
  • How often will the campaign steering committee and the board receive up-to-date reports on the progress?
  • What procedures will have to be followed to change any of the campaign policies?

There’s additional information at

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