Putting Together Winning Capital Campaign Communications

Mar 23rd, 2016

By Gail Cowley, Executive Vice President

Why do non-profit organizations run capital campaigns? The simple answer is they need funds and support to build something. Build capacity, a new building, infrastructure, an endowment, awareness; it’s all about building. So, when an organization is building their marketing and communications for the capital campaign, considerable thought goes into the architecture and materials used, similar to what one would do for a physical structure.

All capital campaign communications efforts need to be formulated from the ground up because each individual organization is unique to their mission and to what they’re raising money for. So, everyone should start with a unique, compelling, and emotional campaign theme/concept which resonates with donors and highlights the importance of their support. This theme is the beginning of the story that’s going to be told throughout the rest of the communications and marketing materials.

All marketing materials need to be donor-centered and demonstrate the need and benefits for the project and campaign. But, they also need to tell your organization’s unique story and mission. People are naturally driven to be empathetic and caring, but they just need to be touched by the right cause, right timing, and the right reason. Excellent visuals and proposed renderings of capital projects should be prominent in all communications so prospective donors can see what the dollars are being raised for and the people who will benefit from the organization’s mission.

In a donor-focused capital campaign, one foundational piece that’s crucial is a brochure that is used to the tell the story and motivate individuals to give. Any questions that a donor might have or ask will need to be answered thoroughly in these prepared materials.

Among the information they'll want to know are:

- Other community members who are involved in the campaign leadership
- An overview of the project scope and associated costs
- Ways of giving that will be flexible for their particular situation

However, a brochure is only part of the integrated communications strategy. Organizations need to make use of all communications channels, both traditional and digital, especially web and testimonial videos. Ongoing project updates and progress is also crucial to communicate to donors to keep them engaged and excited about what they have contributed to. Donors can become the strongest ambassadors if they feel connected throughout the entire campaign. 

Running a capital campaign takes a significant amount of effort and collaboration. With the right project, the right people, and communications materials in place, non-profits can find success in their efforts to continue to build their organizations and advance their mission. It all starts with your story and the ability that you have to tell it in an emotional and appealing way that will attract the right donor engagement to your project.

Good luck in any and all of your fundraising and capital campaign efforts!

About The Author

Upon meeting Gail, one is immediately struck by her poise and sophistication. After speaking with her, one is delighted by her genuine warmth, enthusiasm and natural curiosity. Her 30+ years in advertising lends an incredible depth and breadth of experience to the agency, giving her the ability to articulate a vision and strategy in a way that inspires and motivates her team to exceed expectations. A true leader and visionary, Gail continually strengthens Cowley Associates' ability to succeed in building our clients' businesses and brands.

Gail Cowley - Executive Vice President

Gail Cowley

Executive Vice President


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