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  • Writer's pictureThe MSG Team


As the country slowly starts getting back to normal . . . there has been more interest in nonprofits wanting to do capital campaigns. As Executive Directors, it is so exciting to think of the possibilities.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself before moving forward, just to make sure you are thinking as clearly as possible:

1) What does your donor base look like? - If you don't have a lot of donors or if you are struggling with your donor base . . . you might want to focus on that first. Take the time to building your annual and planned giving programs if need be. If you are having a hard time bringing in annual donors you are going to have a REAL tough time raising millions of dollars . . . no matter how great your vision might be.

2) What does your board leadership think? - Talk to your executive committee and get their thoughts. Any winning campaign will need to have board support. Trying to do this on your own without board support will be near impossible.

3) Do you have a plan for the project? - You don't need to know everything about the project but you at least need to know some basics. Where will it be located, how much space, what programs will be there, why that space, why is that space better than your old space, how many people will be served, etc. When conducting your feasibility study or asking people for money . . . people are going to want to know this information so you look like you know what you are doing.

4) Do you have a plan for the fundraising? - Contrary to popular belief, raising money for a capital campaign is hard. Just because you know donors with money and just because you have a great idea . . . does not mean that it's easy work from there or that all you need to do is sell a bunch of t-shirts. There's a lot of strategy behind raising campaign dollars, so make sure you take the time to learn about those strategies.

5) Do you have the personal time? - The process of a capital campaign is very time consuming. You will be running around all day, taking part in meetings at night, and all while trying to do your normal every day work. Be sure to keep that in mind in your decision making.

6) Is this part of your strategic plan? - Was this idea part of your strategic plan to begin with? If so, what steps are next? If not, is this something you really want to do? That's something only you can answer. (If you don't have a strategic plan at all, we can help with that)

There are many more questions to ask yourself, however these are 6 great starter questions to consider first BEFORE moving forward with anything else. Our post is not about discouraging you or your dream. However, if you consider these questions, it sets you up for a better understanding. Admitting that you're not ready for a capital campaign is just as important to know, as being read for one. Need to run your capital project idea through someone first? Midwest Studies Group would be happy to talk these questions over with you, through a free consultation.


Midwest Studies Group connects nonprofits to their communities, by providing feasibility studies, annual giving studies, RD planning, strategic planning, and capital campaign support. Learn more at

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