How Many Solicitations Will You Need For A Successful Capital Campaign?

Campaign PyramidTwo weeks ago, David A. Mersky began his new series focusing on the benefits of a capital campaign (above and beyond the financial results). The additional bounty comes about, in part, because a campaign is a marathon – not a sprint. And a lot can happen during an endurance race.

The Phases of a Successful Capital Campaign

While each capital campaign is unique, most campaigns have two stages – a quite phase and a public phase. The idea is, usually, to raise 50-70% before going public. This relies on the 80/20 or 90/10 rule (80% of the money will be raised by 20% of the donors).

But how many solicitations are required to get to 50 + percent of your goal?

I am going to make a few assumptions to move this process along. Assuming that you have determined your needs to be $10 million and you have conducted a study to understand that your community would support a campaign of this size, it’s time to look at your list of prospective donors and create a donor pyramid. Now, let’s say that you are using a standard donor pyramid distribution (google or any number of sites can help you figure this out).

That $10,000,000 campaign will need approximately 171 solicitations.

While that sounds like a large number, we are talking about $10,000,000! That’s a huge number, too.

How did I reach this conclusion? On average you need to ask 3 people to ensure each gift at a level of $25,000 or more, the standard $10,000,000 breakdown would require 57 gifts to raise $9.6 million. (the remaining $400,000 will be raised with a much larger number of smaller gifts.)

Before I scare you too much, consider that 10 committed fundraising committee members should easily handle 17 prospects over two years. But, they have to be committed to stay the course for the full marathon. A successful capital campaign will not occur by accident or by luck. To continue the metaphor, it is the long distance run that can provide you with a new building or the financial security of a stronger endowment.   And isn’t that worth 17 meetings?

If you would like Mersky, Jaffe & Associates to help you assess your potential for a successful campaign – call us at 800.361.8689

To read David’s series click here

To read more articles on capital campaigns click here