Capital Campaigns

Capital Campaigns

Perhaps no other fundraising endeavor is as taxing or potentially rewarding as conducting a capital campaign. Done well, capital campaigns can unify an organization behind a singular marketing focus and galvanize core support. Done poorly, they can splinter board leadership and create doubt in the minds of otherwise loyal donors that can take years to undo.


Campaign fundraising for land trust organizations has some important differences compared with campaigns for other organizations. Land trusts rarely build structures, for example, and their natural constituency is not limited to alumni or friends and family of someone who was treated there.


Having said that, most successful campaigns do have similar components – passionate leadership, a good plan, a prepared and capable donor base, and a solid case for support. Development for Conservation can help you get there.


Description of Service

Development for Conservation understands both the differences and the similarities. I can offer “soup to nuts” capital campaign service, or “plug-and-play” service as needed during the campaign. I can help:

  • Assess the readiness of your board, staff, and donor base;
  • Conceptualize and develop the necessary plans and timelines;
  • Conduct your feasibility study;
  • Develop or refine your case statement and related materials;
  • Train your volunteers in solicitation basics;
  • Provide strategic advice during implementation; and/or
  • Serve the campaign as a solicitation coach.


Feasibility Study

Feasibility Studies are strongly recommended for campaigns with goals of $1 million and greater, and they are generally recommended anyway. In addition to testing the feasibility of a specific campaign goal, Feasibilities Studies:

  • Test the strength of a “case” argument for support;
  • Prepare loyal donors for what’s coming, allowing them to plan their philanthropy in advance;
  • Help identify other potential donors;
  • Boost confidence of solicitors who may be veterans of multiple campaign efforts; and
  • Reflect how the public views the land trust.



The benefits of hiring a consultant for your capital campaign, especially early in the campaign, are related to experience and objectivity. The consultant has not “drunk the Kool-Aid” yet and can often help organizations avoid mistakes before they become embarrassments. Sometimes the best advice I provide is to delay launching the campaign while you cultivate and prepare your donors for it.


The consultant also understands the trajectory of the campaign and is prepared for the second year “slump.” If 80% of the money comes from 20% of the donors, that money tends to come in first. It’s very exciting and organizational enthusiasm is strong. The second and third year of a campaign are very different. This is when 80% of the work gets done, and it results in only 20% of the money being raised. Having a consultant advising the campaign can help keep everything on track.


The benefit of hiring Development for Conservation is that I work almost exclusively with land trusts. I understand the nature of the land trust conservation business, and I can help craft campaign materials that will turn prospects into donors.