Gearing Up for a Capital Campaign for Your Project

Is your nonprofit considering a launch of a huge fundraising effort for a new building or to renovate your space to better serve your constituents? If so, there are many factors that your organization should considered before launching a capital campaign. There are resources available to nonprofits, such as Inscape Publico, that will help jump-start your project and raise the funds needed to fulfill your mission.

What is a Capital Campaign?

A capital campaign is a temporary fundraising initiatives to raise significant funds, above and beyond typical development operations, for a special project to grow an organization. Capital campaigns are often used as a fundraising tool to raise funds for capital projects, such as new buildings or “bricks and mortar” projects. Given the nature of embarking on the design and construction of new facilities, the need for a large investment in the present to sustain the future lends itself well for organizations to consider launching a capital campaign to infuse the organization with the assets it needs to make a lasting impact.

Advantages to Launching a Capital Campaign

Capital campaigns can be an extremely effective way to inspire donors to support your mission and even increase their current giving levels. Even after campaign gifts are made by your current donors, they often sustain their large gifts and increase their annual support. Capital campaigns also introduce new stakeholders to your network and allow your organization to acquire new donors and supporters. 

Risk in Launching a Capital Campaign

While the outcomes may be fruitful, there is always a risk to launching a capital campaign. Front-end investment of time and funds must be made to get your organization ready to begin a campaign. These costs may include additional staff, outside consultants, database software, and a feasibility study. Failure to reach campaign goals could demotivate current supporters. Additionally, the vision for your project may not be compelling to potential donors. To address many of these issues, a capital campaign feasibility study and schematic design packages from an architect are excellent tools to mitigate this risk.

Feasibility Study: Invest Now, Save Later

A feasibility study for a capital campaign is a tool used by nonprofit organizations to determine whether there is interest in the proposed campaign and to help shape the campaign vision and goals. Setting unrealistic goals and launching an unorganized campaign can damage your organization’s image and reputation. We recommend hiring outside consultants to conduct a feasibility study. The study can help your organization identify valuable information, such as potential leaders and donors, strengths and challenges, campaign priorities, and set a specific financial goal. A typical feasibility study would include over 40 interviews of a variety of stakeholders with analysis, benchmarking, recommendations, and an action plan. 

Depending upon the scope and the consulting firm, a study may cost $15,000-$50,000. This is a worthwhile investment before engaging in a campaign that could raise hundreds or thousands or millions of dollars to support your mission! This consulting firm can also work with you to help cost out the remaining expenses to launch a full campaign. The Association of Fundraising Professionals cites that campaign costs typically are 5%-10% of the campaign goal. 

How Much Will Design and Construction Cost?

An architect will help your organization cost out your building project. As part of Inscape Publico’s Nonprofit Collaborative Design Program, select nonprofit organizations receive pro bono professional architecture services to jump-start their projects. Inscape Publico takes the projects through the first phase of architectural services called "schematic design." With detailed schematic design drawings, nonprofits thoroughly cost out the project to help them determine their financial needs.

How Inscape Publico Can Help Your Nonprofit

Inscape Publico understands the mission and character of our nonprofit partners through envisioning exercises with a nonprofit’s key stakeholders, leading to the creation of the project program. We create an architectural vision for our nonprofit partners so that they can leverage the designs in order to obtain the necessary funding, through grants, private financing, and capital campaigns, turning ideas into bricks and mortar. The concept presentation, which include plans, building sections, and 3D images, allows nonprofits to share the vision of the future space with stakeholders, board members, staff, financial institutions, government officials, and most importantly, potential donors. 

Design > Fundraise > Build

  1. Design: Inscape Publico helps determine needs and vision and produces schematic design package.
  2. Fundraise: Nonprofit uses the designs to determine scope of campaign and inspire donors to give.
  3. Build: Nonprofit uses the funds to fulfill their needs and support its mission!

Getting Started

Nonprofits of all types are invited to apply to the Nonprofit Collaborative Design Program by submitting the form on our website to get the conversation started.

By Matthew Alcide, Development Director

Resources for Nonprofits

To enhance our efforts to be a resource to nonprofit organizations, Inscape Publico will be sending a monthly newsletter that includes a "Nonprofit Corner" containing information, tips, and resources for nonprofits.

Inscape Publico is also pleased to announce a new page of its website dedicated to nonprofits. The page outlines the Nonprofit Architecture Design Program and how their organizations can start the conversation with Inscape Publico about their design needs. A "Letter of Inquiry" form allows nonprofits to submit their information to Inscape Publico to start the potential partnership.

We ask our supporters and partners to please share with nonprofit organizations who may need professional design services. Thank you helping in our mission!