Independent school capital campaigns: they make raising millions of dollars look easy.
Well, at least to outsiders — even though they take years to complete, and more time to carry out.
While your school's capital campaign's success may appear effortless, we know that your advancement team works tirelessly day in and day out to ensure the success of all giving campaigns — especially those that last years.
But what does it take to ensure those campaigns are in fact, successful?
We recently stumbled upon some noteworthy capital campaigns that answer that question, and deserve some recognition: A World of Opportunity Campaign, Foundations for the Future, and Gators Go TURF. Besides having fun names and big goals, the capital campaigns at Crofton House School, Fairfield Preparatory School and Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart have capital campaigns that are gaining momentum.
So, we took the time to analyze their pages a bit to discover a few trends and best practices that you'll want to steal when it comes time for your capital campaign to switch from its private phase to public phase.
Here are the qualities of great capital campaign pages that drive results:
They market their capital campaign separately from their regular Annual Fund.
Provide your capital campaign its own page on the website that is easy to find and navigate. Burying your capital campaign details in your Giving section will hinder its importance. Since most capital campaigns last years, giving it its own brand is sure to make it stand out. For example, Crofton House School in Vancouver has an awesome microsite that gives its capital campaign donors a place to donate, view progress, learn about upcoming events, and more.
They appeal to emotion.
As humans, we are storytellers by nature — meaning we look for content that resonates with us. Each one of these campaigns does an excellent job incorporating videos, images, and testimonials and prove donations made to the campaign are truly making a difference.
For example, this section of Fairfield Prep's capital campaign microsite perfectly appeals to alumni and current families. Because really — who wouldn't want to expand opportunity, strengthen student bonds, and improve the educational experience? It's plain to see exactly where donations are going, and each of them is a worthy cause.
Fairfield Prep also goes the next step to provide a sub-page, complete with a video for each one of critical areas.
They thank their donors.
Capital campaigns are unique because of their dependence on larger donations and endowments. While saying "thanks" in your Annual Report is usually enough for Annual Fund donations, thanking your donors immediately both on the website and via a "thank you" card is essential.
Stone Ridge's Honor Roll of Donors is a fun way to acknowledge all those who have donated thus far.
They share progress.
Is the end of your campaign in reach? Sharing how close you are to your goal can help your campaign gain some steam as the goal becomes more attainable. Many schools choose to use a thermometer that shows how far along they are, and what those funds can afford thus far.
10 Strategies for Engaging Donors Whitepaper
They are interactive.
Both your website and campaign itself should be fun and interactive. Using videos, photo updates, social media, personalized giving and donor events, these web pages fuel their capital campaign by evoking the nostalgia and emotion of your community.
Stone Ridge School offers a Buy-a-Brick donation, personalized giving, naming opportunities and has this fun video that encourages families to donate to the Gators Go TURF campaign.
They make it easy to donate.
When you're putting in the effort to convince constituents to donate, you won't want to lose them along the way by making it difficult. Using a "Give Now" call to action button that links to an online giving page will make giving simple and instantaneous.
Fairfield Preparatory School's Foundations for the Future campaign page is also a microsite. Fairfield Prep positions the campaign "In the Spotlight" on the homepage, making the campaign just one click away.