Capital Campaign Basics for Jewish Camps

The what, how, and why of Capital Campaigns

Capital Campaigns Basics for Jewish Camps
As a board member of a Jewish Camp you may not have much experience in Capital Campaign Fundraising. And yet, as you look around, perhaps you’ve noticed that the Camp’s buildings and facilities require much needed repair, replacement, or upgrades.  A well-run capital campaign could bring much needed resources to your organization.  Investment can drive stronger revenue from full enrollment.  What might you need to know about Capital Campaigns?  
What it is?
  • A Capital Campaign is a multi-year, large dollar goal campaign that is more extensive than what you can realistically raise in a single year.
  • A Capital Campaign accomplishes a project that will have an impact for generations to come – such as new buildings
  • These days it is increasingly common for 90% of the funds to be raised from just 10% of the donors who give to the campaign
  • About 10% to 15% of the Campaign Goal is spent on the cost to raise money, and these costs are included in the total Campaign Goal.
 How does it help us?
  • Capital Campaign fund large long term improvements to the site, facilities, and program making a bigger or more meaningful mission impact for generations of campers and families
  • Site and facilities improvements may result in improve marketing, recruitment, and retention of Campers.  It may increase the total number of campers if you add cabins or expand the dinning hall.
  • Capital improvements might increase revenue from rentals and retreats if you winterize buildings
  • Inspiring Campaigns can excite your donor base and might help you grow the total number of donors, retain donors, and identify new major donors
  • Increased investment in fundraising staff and infrastructure can result in better fundraising results for years to come
So what’s the problem?
  • Many camps have not invested enough time in getting to know and build strong relationships with their potential major donors. 
  • Capital Campaigns work best when there is a high degree of coordinated effort between the Board, Executive Staff, and Development Staff.
  • Capital Campaigns require a high degree of focus and requires the discipline of “do not do” lists.  For example, reorganizing the top executive’s responsibilities to free up 40% of their time to meet with donors and focus on the Campaign
  • Board members must be “all in” with their stretch giving early in the Campaign to create a “wow” factor for other major donors. 10% or more of the Campaign goal given by the Board at the start of the Campaign is helpful.
  • The organization may need to spend money to increase Development department staff and beef up infrastructure to support the campaign early on
  • The Board needs the courage not to break ground or start building until the money is raised or pledged
  • You already know your current and future major donors:  They are the grown up campers, parents, staffers, past staffers, grandparents of your camp community over the years. To better identify your major donors you must do something called “prospect research and qualification.”  But that is another blog posting.
Bottom Line: For dollars spent to dollars raised, Capital Campaigns are the most cost effective way to fundraise, but investment takes years to realize.

What's next? 
Check out the many capital campaign resources in our Knowledge Center for more information.