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Campaign Planning for Success



Embarking on a capital campaign requires careful planning to ensure its success. From setting realistic fundraising goals during the Campaign Readiness Study to allocating resources effectively during the Capital Campaign itself, every aspect of the campaign must be meticulously planned and executed to maximize impact and achieve desired outcomes. 


We’ll help you explore key planning tips in the three critical phases of the campaign from:

Phase I - Identifying fundraising capacity, key recommendations and goals to

Phase II - Setting foundational prospect and communications elements and

Phase III - Effective volunteer management for solicitation success


The first and most important step in planning for your capital campaign is Phase I – a 3-4 month process culminating with a two-day Study Summit where 50 - 60 respondents are interviewed to gauge the philanthropic capacity and interest in the project.

Why interview only 50-60 persons of influence and affluence in a study instead of more? This is because 12 to 16 donors comprise 60 to 70 percent of all capital campaign goals regardless of goal amount. Further, 120 donors are all that is needed to reach campaign goals IF the strategy and financial goals of the campaign have been set correctly.


The Campaign Readiness Study will outline the following goals:

  1. The most effective fundraising strategy for meeting the proposed goal or a successful goal range

  2. Favorable conditions for the fundraising campaign

  3. Potential conflicts with the fundraising campaign

  4. Challenges or questions that could inhibit or slow the fundraising process

  5. Assess the level of financial support available

  6. Cultivate prospective contributors

  7. Identify and cultivate potential campaign leaders

  8. Provide an opportunity for stakeholders to voice their opinions

  9. Educate philanthropic leaders about the campaign status


Crescendo Fundraising helps clients set ambitious yet realistic goals that align with your organization's mission and strategic priorities, and ensures that they are grounded in research and analysis.  


Imagine that your fundraising budget for a new building is $7 million. Your organization is excited about the expansion! You want to complete important elements to best serve the stakeholders you serve, your community, or members’ quality of life.  Unfortunately you find the budget exceeds what the philanthropic community believes they will consider giving after completing the Study Summit. We’ve seen this happen before during Campaign Readiness Studies.  We hear, “Why so much money?” “Can this be done for less?” “I’d be interested in helping with the project if the budget wasn’t so expensive.” This is vital feedback for the client. 


Along with the goals listed above, we take 25 years of experience in capital campaign management to outline realistic recommendations to help the client still move forward with the project. Possibilities include: 

1. A phased approach to your full project scope to successfully engage your donors over a longer timeframe.

2. A total change of your plans or perhaps collaboration with another non-profit to combine fundraising efforts.

3. With the urgency and awareness identified through the Campaign Readiness Study Summary, one or several major donor step up with lead gifts that  are a game changer for the project and the full goal is met!


Setting a realistic campaign goal is a vital step in every capital campaign.  Meet us at the next blog to find out the rest of the planning details!


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