Identifying the Second Round of Capital Campaign Prospects

Capital Campaign Volume 10: Identifying the Second Round of Capital Campaign ProspectsNautilus shell cross section spiral

In Volume 9 of this series, I focused in on the first group who should be solicited on behalf of your capital campaign.  You can read it here but if you missed it, I will offer a spoiler and tell you that the first round of giving should always be the capital campaign committee and board of trustees or directors—from whom you want nothing less than 100% participation in the most meaningful way possible.

Now it is time to Identify the Second Round of Capital Campaign Prospects

How do you identify your next round of capital campaign prospects?

  1. Look at your donor list from your annual fund and consider who is close to the organization. Please note that I did not say, “Who has previously given a lot?” In the same way that the capital campaign leadership and the board should be the first group to give to the capital campaign, look for additional donors who are involved and will understand the benefit that this campaign will bring to the nonprofit. Donors who volunteer their time as well their financial resources, previous board members who have remained close and continue to volunteer, other committee members, and those interviewed during a feasibility study can fall into this category.
  2. Do a prospect research screening with a well-known company (we are big fans of Donor Search). The screening will help you uncover hidden gems as well as help you determine ask amounts. However, it will take time to review the names and ensure that the highest ranked prospects’ wealth is  not heavily based solely in real estate.  This is particularly true where a person may have purchased their home in 1993 for $400,000 only to find it is now worth more than $1,000,000. Also, beware of out-of-date information or false positives—when your prospective donor’s name is similar to someone located in a different part of the country.
  3. Ask the committee, board members and/or staff to review the screened donor list and give suggestions about who should be in the next round of solicitations. They can highlight volunteers/event sponsors/people who visit the facility who might otherwise slip by unnoticed.
  4. Collect anecdotal information to give you the best picture of each of your next capital campaign prospects. Once you have the next round of prospects, find out everything you can about them. Did they recently move or have a child?  Did they host another nonprofit’s fundraiser this year or start coming twice a month to volunteer? Every detail will help the solicitors be well informed with a better chance of success.

Once you have your list in hand, then, it is time to prioritize by potential gift.  You want to ensure that each person on this list has a chance to give a meaningful gift, but to move the needle on your campaign, start with your larger gift prospects. And, if these people are truly committed to the organization, they will want to give to your worthy cause.  Making each capital campaign ask that much easier.

Last Month: Who To Solicit First For Your Capital Campaign

Next Month: Maintaining Capital Campaign Momentum