Solicitation stage of a capital campaign
After the preparation phase, your organization should move into the solicitation stage — the heart of a successful fundraising campaign. It has two key parts: the silent phase and the public phase.
Silent phase (or major-gift phase)
Major gifts will supply the bulk of your capital campaign fundraising total. The 80/20 rule applies. Cultivating your relationships with these donors is paramount.
During the silent phase, it is common to host cultivation dinners and meet with your top donors. Your organization’s leadership should be heavily involved in these events, because they will yield more buy-in from donors.
At the Steier Group, we know that personal visits lead to more donations. In our research, we found that donors, when asked in person, gave 54 percent of the requested amount. In comparison, donors gave 29 percent of the requested amount when approached by telephone and 33 percent when approached by mail.
Before announcing your capital campaign to the world, you’ll want to secure as many major gifts as possible. You can use these gifts to create momentum for the public phase of the capital campaign.
This is the time to share your goals and successes with a broader audience. In this phase, you will host your capital campaign launch event. Such kick-off events should be fun and should engage the rest of your potential donors with the campaign.
Although the bulk of your funds will come from the major-gift donors, strong momentum in the public phase can lead to great success for your organization. In addition to meeting or exceeding your fundraising goals, the public phase allows you to cultivate and engage new donors. These new donors, in turn, can be the foundation of future capital campaigns.
Make sure you use the tools available to maximize the success of your public phase. From an attractive capital campaign website to an engaging fundraising video, there are many ways to make this part of the campaign successful and fun for your donors, volunteers, and staff.
And no capital campaign public phase plan is complete without a commitment weekend. Use this event to attract as many new donors as possible, even at small giving levels. It’s a great technique for a final push over your financial goal.