A Mistake-Proof Capital Campaign Checklist

I’m hearing lots of rumblings about capital campaign planning these days. Some of my colleagues are laying the groundwork now so they can launch capital campaigns as soon as the economy turns.

So if you are planning a capital campaign, thinking about one, or even hoping to have one in the future, be sure to check out this Free Checklist Tool.

It’s short and quick, and will give you an indication on where you stand in the seven “must do” areas of capital campaign planning.

It’s what you do ahead of time that makes all the difference.

Smart campaign planning is like stacking the dominoes.  You take the time to carefully and strategically line them up. Then once the campaign begins, they all drop one after the other in perfect sequence.

This Checklist Tool will help you identify where you need to put energy NOW so that you’ll be ready when the time comes.

One more thing.

Please know that very few organizations can say 100% YES to all these questions. It’s the questions that you answer “maybe” that will point out your focus for the next few months.

Run this list by your board and CEO so that they understand just how much new, additional effort a capital campaign requires. It’s NOT business as usual.

AND join me for my next webinar on July 29: 10 Mistake-Proof Steps to Get Ready for Your Next Capital Campaign.  The early bird webinar-only price is only $49, and $64 with a Capital Campaign Planning Workbook.


Can your board set the financial pace for a campaign?

Are your board members influential in the community?

Does your board understand capital campaign fundraising?

Is your board in full agreement on the plan?

Does your board have good fundraising connections?

Does your board operate with business minded board practices?

Does your board have a good relationship with staff?


Do you have a history of influential people involved with your cause?

Can you enlist top leaders in your community to help lead your campaign?

Do you have influential people currently involved with your cause?

Can you identify potential campaign leaders and create a plan to enlist them?

Do you have campaign leaders already enlisted?

Can your leaders  make major gifts to the campaign?


Do you currently have a major gift program in place?

Has your major donor program been in place for 3 years?

Does your organization have a history of major gifts?

Can you identify a leadership gift?

Do you have a well cultivated and involved group of donors?

Can you identify 15-20 potential sources of major gifts right now?


Do you have experienced, capable staff?

Is the development office fully staffed now?

Is your back office functioning smoothly?

Are you able to get thank you notes out within 48 hours?

Do you have a system for tracking pledges and policies for accepting gifts of stock and real estate?

Have you allocated funds to staff up for the campaign?

Do you have a plan for funding the campaign budget? (the campaign will cost 8-10% of your overall goal)

Do you understand what a Campaign Feasibility Study can do to lay the groundwork for a campaign?

Have you determined if you need outside expert guidance as Campaign Counsel?


Is the need well established, urgent and understood?

Do you have an updated strategic plan?

Do you have an updated master facilities plan?

Are your capital projections and capital budgets complete?

Can you convey the impact of your project in vivid emotional terms?

Do you have statistics to back up your case?


Are you well respected in the community?

Do you have a track record of success in the community?

Are you a leader in your service area?

Is there confidence in your organization and its leadership?

Are you communicating your results and your good work to the rest of your community?

Are you visible in the community?


Is the fundraising environment good right now?

Are the economic conditions in your community good right now?

If you have these conditions all set, then you are ready to raise the money you need.

If not, it’s time to get to work enlisting volunteers, identifying prospects, cultivating your prospective donors and sharpening up your case for support.

Let me know if I can help you get ready for your next capital campaign.

What have I left out? Leave a comment and tell me what you think of this list!

  • Excellent!

  • martha worsley

    Thanks Gail, you have some thought provoking questions there!