Capital Campaigns…Their Impact on the Annual Fund


As a not for profit organization embarks on a capital campaign, one question often arises….how will this campaign impact the annual fund?  Oftentimes, the Board and Staff leaders have grave concern that a capital campaign will negatively impact the annual fund – which is often the bread and butter of an organization’s fundraising revenue.  I have some reassuring news…and research conducted by various organizations support this fact.  The good news is that, more than not, the annual fund actually increases during the time of a capital campaign!

Why is this?  Well, for one, a savvy development team is well prepared when they ask donors to support a capital campaign.  Often, donors have the option to spread their gifts out across a period of time because gift requests for special campaigns tend to be larger than an annual fund gift.  When the development team asks for a gift to the campaign, it is vitally important to ask for a gift above and beyond the annual support.  A conversation may go like this…

Sally and Tom, your annual fund gift is so critical to our day to day operations.  Today, we are asking for a special gift to support a capital campaign that will have significant impact on our clients.  But, we ask that you consider a gift of $10,000, above and beyond your annual support.  This is a one-time, special gift that will help our organization serve more clients and expand the scope of our services.  As you know, we rely on your continued annual support.  But an additional gift to help us with this capital effort is so critical.  Would you consider a gift of $10,000 for the capital campaign – beyond your generous annual support of $1,500? 

In addition to asking a donor for a gift above and beyond current annual fund giving, a capital campaign often ignites passion for the organization’s mission.  It also helps increase an organization’s visibility, allows you to cultivate and steward existing donors in a way you haven’t before, and attracts new donors to your cause. All of these factors combined contribute to greater success with your annual fund – both during and after your capital campaign.

by: Susanna Decker, Senior Consultant HUB Philanthropic Solutions


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