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How to Create a Successful, Top of the Line Capital Campaign

March 2016

When you think of a “capital campaign” what comes to mind? Major financial undertaking? An intensive fundraiser with the goal of raising millions? Does this sound daunting to you? Well, in today’s world, capital campaigns are how many schools, churches and organizations rally their supporters to help them raise the resources needed to build their dreams and turn their ideas into reality.

Over the past few years, the Element5 team has had the pleasure of designing and developing websites for several campaigns, The Michigan State Spartan Fund, Walsh College’s #WalshGives Giving Tuesday campaign, and most recently, Kensington Church’s Every[one] campaign. While each one of these campaigns had a unique mission, all three institutions had big, bold goals that needed a whole lot of support from their audiences.

Working closely with all three of these institutions taught our team first hand what it takes to transform a mighty vision into a digital reality. If you and your team are thinking about building your own top of the line capital campaign, check out the following strategies that we know work:

Design matters, make sure your User Experience is top notch.

e1-screenshotWe can’t stress this one enough. All too often capital campaign committees get so caught up in their vision that they forget that the rest of the world isn’t already on board with the great things they are trying to achieve. This is where your website’s design comes in. By making your website is inviting and easy to navigate, you will ensure your audience sees and fully understands what you are
trying to accomplish. As the conveyors of everything your organizations is dreaming of doing, it’s important that your website helps you stand out. Take a look at Kensington’s site to get some ideas on how to make your vision shine through.

Convey your vision clearly, don’t make your donors guess what you need. 

spartan-fundAll too often fundraisers, big and small, leave their donors guessing what it is they are supposed to be supporting. Avoid this mistake by clearly laying out your plans front and center on your website –
– right, where your supporters will easily find them. If you want your potential donors to participate in your mission, you must show them how their contribution will fit into your overall vision. It’s not enough to tell your idea to your audience, you must invite them to make it their own. Check out  Kensington’s and the Spartan Fund’s websites to see what we are talking about in action!

On that note, make sure you are appealing to their hearts, not their brains.

walshEnough said in my books, but let me explain. Unlike regular ol’ fundraisers which are often based on transactions – you give me a donation, I give you something in return –  the success of your capital campaign is based solely on the relationships you build. The best way to do that? Appeal to their hearts by telling them your story. Take a leaf out of Walsh College’s book and have a student, volunteer, or believer let your audience know why they should also care.

Calls to Actions are really important, yours needs to stand out. 

No matter how clear and appealing the content on your campaign website is, unless you have bold and catchy Calls to Action (CTAs), you will be hard pressed to get anyone to participate in your fundraiser. To put it simply, you want to make donating a no brainer. Need to see some CTAs doing their job? Check out the many ways Kensington is currently asking their audience to give.

Share your progress and don’t forget to say ‘Thank You’!

Last but not least, keep your supporters up-to-date on your progress. You are asking them to take on your vision so the very least you can do is make it easy for them to follow your progress. See how Walsh College and the Spartan Fund showed their audiences the impact they were making.

If you are thinking about launching your own capital campaign, let us know! We’d to love to sit down and chat with you to see if we can to help you and your team turn your own fundraising vision into a digital reality.





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