Fundraising Campaign Ideas: 5 Things to Do If Your Capital Campaign Stalls

Fundraising Campaign Ideas: 5 Things to Do If Your Capital Campaign Stalls

December 5, 2018

You’ve started your campaign! Now what? In order to maintain and oversee its success, you have to move systematically with your fundraising efforts. But, what do you do when your efforts slow down and your capital campaign stalls? Here are some fundraising campaign ideas to help you to navigate through anything that might bump your goal off course.

Signs That Your Campaign is Stalling

You’ve started your campaign, and have begun to fill out your gift table. It feels like things are going smoothly, but then your efforts begin to slow down. You may start thinking, “Why are we losing traction? Why now?” Firstly, it’s important to evaluate the work you’ve put in so far. It’s important to ask yourself: What’s the capability in my database with my existing donors? Are we going to the same major gift well over and over again? Are people getting burnt out? What is our pipeline looking like?

Any stalls experienced during your campaign may stem the following areas:

1. Gifts are coming in slowly

If you’ve already started constructing your building or other specialty projects for your campaign, donors may not experience the same sense of urgency as you do to collect donations. If they can see the final result or even parts of it, donors may be under the impression that their efforts are no longer needed. Although you have collected major gifts to secure the bulk of your project, there are still sections of the campaign that have yet to be paid for. These expenses are typically covered by the donations of individual donors in the form of small gifts. If it takes an unusually long amount of time to procure these payments, your project is at risk of failing. Once this happens, it takes about 10 years for an organization to recover from the losses they’ve endured, and to regain recognition in their community.

2. Staff is getting burnt out

Putting together a capital campaign is an intense effort to meet an organization’s campaign goal. This means that the staff, including paid employees and volunteers, have to work just as efficiently and effectively to realize the pending campaign goal. Although the experience of creating a campaign can be exciting, unless additional experienced staff members are hired to work on the campaign specifically, it can prove to be an exhausting venture. Not only are staff members meant to help organize and oversee the progress of the campaign, but they’re also meant to continue completing their existing assignments. By not checking in or divvying up tasks appropriately, the efforts of existing staff members and volunteers may unintentionally slow down, which can potentially spill over into how quickly the campaign goal is realized.

Common Pitfalls that Lead to Campaign Stalls

Now that you’ve understood why your campaign has stalled, it’s important to identify actions or areas that may have contributed to your grinding halt. There are three factors that may influence your ability to maintain your campaign’s success:

1. Messaging is not resonating with individual donors

While it’s important to articulate your organization’s mission, campaign goal, and hopes for the future, it’s even more important to forge a personal connection with your individual donors. If potential donors feel that their contributions only benefit your organization, and there’s no aspect of the campaign that benefits them, they may feel less inclined to provide a gift, big or small.

2. Not having enough individual donors

Although 75% of any campaign goal is taken care of by major gift leads, the remainder of any campaign is completed by individual donors. By not communicating accurately or enough with individual donors, you’re at risk of drawing out your campaign for a long period of time.

3. Ambiguous or complicated goals

When creating a campaign, your first step is to create a goal. Simple enough, right? However, if your goal isn’t clear and there are too many micro-goals, your staff and potential donors may not know how to approach and act upon your project. It’s important that they have a clear impression of your actions and intentions.

Now that you have a greater understanding of the factors that may be contributing to your campaign stall, you can begin identifying potential fundraising campaign ideas that will help put your efforts back on track.

Fundraising Campaign Ideas to Refresh Your Stalled Campaign

Just because your campaign has stalled doesn’t mean you’ve hit rock bottom, or that you have to start from scratch. If anything, it’s an opportunity to tweak the old, and refresh your efforts. Here are some fundraising campaign ideas you can implement to revamp your campaign:

1. Bring in new donors

The first fundraising campaign idea is to bring in new donors. By bringing in new donors, not only are you creating more opportunities for them to contribute to your campaign, you’re creating opportunities to form connections with people they know and people like them.

2. Refocus messaging

When communicating with existing and potential donors, it’s important to make them the heroes of the story. Yes, you created the campaign, but your efforts and your goal must support THEM. Show your donors how your campaign will uplift them. Express your investment in them individually and communally. What impact will this project have on their lives?

3. Shuffle staff members and volunteers

Another fundraising campaign idea is to shuffle your staff members and volunteers during the campaign process. If your staff and volunteers have other commitments besides the campaign, it’s easy for them to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. That being said, it’s important to shuffle your staff around so they can dip their toes in different areas. By doing this, you’re giving them to work with material that allows them to refocus their attention and regain energy because they’re learning something new.

4. Evaluate the strength of your campaign models

If your campaign model seems weak, it’s important to identify areas that could be more finely-tuned. When conducting screenings three to five years out, it’s important to make sure that you’ve incorporated new donors you’ve acquired, and fresh blood in your campaign to strengthen your pipeline.

5. Reach out to your Board

Our final fundraising campaign idea is to reach out to your board. If your Board still supports your campaign efforts, it’s important to see if any of them could help you to move out of your stall. By doing this, board members may feel inclined to contribute larger gifts or have one of their constituents do so.

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