Capital Campaigns

Whether your nonprofit is considering a capital campaign for improving or building facilities, creating or strengthening endowment funds, or beginning new programs, our firms’ 30+ years of experience and time tested principles will serve to prepare and guide you through a campaign tailored to the ethos of your organization.

Readiness Assessment

The Readiness Assessment is used to determine the clarity and unity among an organization’s internal constituents – including the board, administration, and other insiders – related to the organization’s future and the vision for moving into the future, particularly as it relates to capital requirements. In addition, the assessment will evaluate the current advancement systems, procedures and staffing as an organization prepares for a major campaign.

During the assessment, through a combination of data collection and analysis, and individual interviews, the focus will be on answering the following questions:

  • Are your advancement systems ready to support a major campaign?
  • Do you have sufficient staff prepared to support a campaign?
  • Do you have policies and procedures in place for planned giving, endowment gifts, etc?
  • Do you have a compelling draft of the case for your campaign?
  • What successes or challenges have you experienced during past campaigns?
  • What is the capacity of your top 100 donor prospects for the campaign?
  • Who are the qualified prospective individuals and foundations with the capacity to give gifts of six and possibly seven figures to interview during a feasibility study?
  • Who are prospective volunteer leaders and solicitors for the campaign?
  • Are the board, administration and key volunteers informed and supportive of the proposed campaign?
  • What is the recommended time frame for launching a feasibility study and capital campaign?

Feasibility Study

The FOCUS Group has a high commitment to customize our services to the needs of each client. We believe a client does not benefit from a boilerplate feasibility study filled with canned analysis. Instead, based on over thirty years of experience, what clients will get from The FOCUS Group, is the best research and analysis a development dollar can buy. Analysis that is individual, thorough, and professional.

A carefully crafted feasibility study will assist an organization in formulating realistic and achievable plans for the proposed capital campaign. The feasibility study includes extensive and significant data collected through structured, confidential interviews with major donors, board members, key volunteers and staff.

Specifically, the data collection and analysis focuses on the following:

  • The reputation and image of your organization among its constituencies.
  • The respondents’ review of and specific recommendations for improving the draft of the campaign case statement and the proposed initiatives for your organization to grow and strengthen its mission.
  • Your organization’s potential for recruiting the volunteer leadership required to lead the campaign.
  • A dollar goal for the campaign based on prospect research, the respondents’ projections of their gifts, and extrapolations based on the respondents’ gift projections.
  • Data related to potential planned gifts and the potential for setting a goal for planned giving.
  • The campaign plan and strategy to raise the funds.
  • How to deal with obstacles or problems that would limit or impede a successful campaign.
  • Organizational chart, timetable, staffing and budget for the campaign.

From the data and analysis, counsel will prepare a report with tailored recommendations for moving forward with the launch of an organizations’ capital campaign.

Feasibility Review

The FOCUS Group also offers a Feasibility Review that mirrors a prior Feasibility Study and provides current data after:

  • Significant time has passed since a previous Feasibility Study was conducted
  • There has been a major organizational change, for example, a merger
  • Or, an organization has questions about the credibility of a Feasibility Study undertaken by another firm

The scope of a Feasibility Review is narrower, in regards to prospect research and number of interviews.

Campaign Counsel

Every nonprofit planning a capital campaign wants to be successful.  The FOCUS Group offers expertise focused on meeting capital campaign challenges head-on, as well as being attuned to the culture and personality of the client.  The FOCUS Group takes clients through a carefully crafted campaign strategy, driven by the experience our firm has to offer, yet individually tailored to meet the needs of the organization.

Campaign Management Software

Windshield2020® is a cloud-based software program, created by The FOCUS Group, which maximizes the effectiveness of nonprofits managing capital campaigns and annual funds. By providing a “forward-looking” strategy, Windshield2020® supplements traditional fundraising software that often serves solely as a “rear-view” strategy tracking donor history and pledges, and performing accounting calculations. It is designed to manage complex campaigns and projects by coordinating staff and volunteers through research, preparation, solicitation, and follow up to succeed in meeting your financial goals.

Windshield2020® is built around a relational view of fundraising. It manages fundraising at any level (local, regional, national) and also manages multiple campaigns concurrently.

Windshield2020® addresses these key prospect management components:

  • Know and prioritize your major donor prospects.
  • Track communication with prospects, and plan for next contact steps and dates tailored to the individual prospect.
  • Assign prospects to a primary caller (or solicitor) and manage and track the progress of each caller and their respective prospects.
  • Accurate and up-to-date “best case” and “worst case” scenarios for your campaign or annual fund.
  • Develop and assign strategies for cultivating and soliciting each prospect based on their priority and relationship to an organization.
  • Create attributes as descriptors for prospects with similar affinities – for example “board member,” “alumnus,” “NY region,” “Small Business Owner,” – and use these attributes to filter down the overall prospect list.
  • Create various reports with detailed information useful for internal communication and progress reporting.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to communicate the scope and initiatives of our campaign?

A key step in launching any fundraising initiative is preparing the case.  This is especially true in planning a capital campaign.  The FOCUS Group works with clients in a fairly intense process to develop thoughtful case statements that build the organizations’ brands and make compelling arguments for why donors should give.  The cases available here are for campaigns where The FOCUS Group serves as counsel and these organizations have approved making their cases available to the public.  The FOCUS Group hopes these cases will be helpful to other nonprofits and encourage the development of strong and compelling cases for their missions.

Download Sample Campaign Cases

We’re thinking about launching a campaign but do we need help from a firm like yours?

Of course, you’d expect us to say “yes” but we would qualify that by asking you, “Is this your first campaign?” or “Have you had a campaign that stalled?” In either of these cases we would strongly encourage you to work with a consulting firm that has at least 10 years serving nonprofits in campaigns. Check the track record of the firms you’re considering to be sure they have been effective in campaigns comparable to the one you’re planning. On the other hand if your nonprofit has had successful campaigns you might still consider engaging a consulting firm to walk alongside you, particularly during the planning and launching phases to make sure you’ve covered your blind spots. You might spend thousands for this counsel but good counsel could help you raise hundreds of thousands more (millions?) than you might have on your own.

Download a list of Completed Campaigns

We need to launch a campaign but how do we know we’re ready?

The two key components you need to have in place are your case and prospect list. Providing you have these, then they need to be field tested. Often nonprofits craft cases that essentially read like the nonprofit talking to itself and they make assumptions about what their donors will give that aren’t connected to reality. To avoid these pitfalls most successful campaigns are preceded by a “Research & Readiness” phase followed by a “Feasibility Study.” Sometimes nonprofit boards think these planning tools tell them what they want to hear – not what they need to hear – and enrich the consultants. At The FOCUS Group we work hard to make sure clients hear what they need to hear and along with this, get realistic recommendations for proceeding including a recommended goal based on hard data, campaign timetable, bi-level leadership plan, staffing plan, budget, and marketing strategy. In other words, we give clients a detailed campaign road map.

How will a Capital Campaign effect our fundraising in the future?

The FOCUS Group was founded with the idea that we would focus our expertise on the twenty percent of the donor sources that can give eighty percent of the money. This is the underlying premise of The FOCUS Group’s work and serves as the foundation for all client strategies. Given the 90/10 rule in capital campaigns, in which ten percent of the donors give ninety percent of the total, knowing how to work with major donors is absolutely critical. The expertise of The FOCUS Group in the area of developing major donors is important not only to the pending capital campaign, but will also have long-term impact on your organization’s work with major donors, laying a strong foundation for the future.