So it’s time for your yearly fundraising event but it’s also time to expand your horizons, you need a new building. And that’s going to cost you millions of dollars. You have to start going public. It’s time to go to your donors with your capital campaign.
But! You’re starting your planning for your yearly fundraising event, too. You’re already talking to donors, you’re already securing gifts and engaging your board members, and working within your community to get the hype out and the generosity sparked. Friends, you know what? I’m going to tell you how to move both of these forward without crossing revenue streams and locking yourself out of using needed program dollars supplied by your annual funding event.
Before we go any further, I want to make sure we all know why you don’t combine your capital campaign needs into your yearly fundraiser: because you’ll be restricting those funds into your capital campaign project. Combining the two means that funding can now only be used for that project: getting a new building. The trouble is your other operational needs can’t be met without funding, so we need to be strategic to fund BOTH.
Step 1: Get comfy with the idea of a double ask/simultaneous ask.
You need to raise significant funds in a short period of time for your capital campaign. You need to raise significant funds for your operational fund during your gala event. So, here comes the simultaneous ask. Identify how much support you need from your donor for your capital campaign AND how much you need from them for your fundraising event. Ask them at the same time for the total dollar amount, if it’s going to be divided over years of support, have the yearly numbers ready. This way, you can approach them with one ask that meets all your needs.
Step 2: Clarity, clarity, clarity.
You’re going to be making a double or a simultaneous ask of your higher-tier donors. During your donor cultivation be clear about why you need funds for different projects at the same time. It does you no good to get a brand new building with an expanded parking lot if you can’t run your programs, grant scholarships, train or hire staff or do any of the great work you’re setting out to do within the community.
Step 3: Precommits
During your capital campaign, you’re going to solicit your biggest donors for the heavy lifting before you go to the public to help fund the balance. When you’re asking the public to fund the balance, you have to remember they’re also supporting your event yearly. This is where your double ask comes in during the pre-commit phase so you can plan accordingly and make sure your programs are also funded.
Step 4: Gratitude
Recognize your donors. Anywhere you can. Give them a bunch of love for their support. Make them shiny. They are the reason you are getting the funds for this Capital Campaign.