Insights
2 min Read
June 22, 2015

Make your donor the superhero in your capital campaign

Mild-mannered Clark Kent famously pulled off his glasses, ripped open his shirt, and revealed his inner superhero, ready to save the day. Wouldn’t it be great if your donors felt inspired to do the same thing for your nonprofit?

While we may not want to encourage too much shirt-ripping, the notion that a donor can reveal their true commitment and make a big difference is heady stuff. And capital campaigns do just that: give donors an inspiring new way to demonstrate their support and make their own mark on your organization.

Here are a few tips to inspire your donors to reveal their superhero-like passion for your work and inspire them to go further in your capital campaign.  

1. Let them investigate, pen in hand, and write their own story. Your lead gifts are more likely to come from people you’ve engaged in meaningful one-on-one conversations, regardless of whether or not you give them a sexy brochure. Remember that during the early phases of a campaign, when leadership and major gifts are being solicited, conversations are key.

Invite their ideas for the campaign and input on the case for support in draft form, and you’ll find they’re more likely to invest. They’re also likely to suggest terrific ideas that shape the story you’ll tell to other donors. Downstream, if you print that fancy case statement, they’ll recognize their influence on it and may be more likely to want to help you solicit other donors as a result.

2. Help them develop supersonic vision and see what’s beyond the horizon. Too often, capital campaign communications focus only on the specific, tangible items the campaign will fund (e.g. that facility you’ll build), and it all ends up sounding a bit dry or dull. A case for support should specify how funds raised will be used in the short-term, but emphasize the benefits or outcomes they’ll create over time. Constructing that new building, for example, will create a state-of-the-art learning facility that allows teachers to do their best work, students to learn in inspiring environments, and provide more space for local students to get a top-tier education close to home. Those benefits are what they’re really supporting– not the construction of a facility.

3. Build on your own superhero brand. Your campaign has to tell a compelling story and invite donors to go above and beyond their regular support. At the same time, we also want to build on their history and loyalty to your organization. Use copy and design elements that reinforce the idea that this is all still coming from the organization they feel connected to, while weaving in a new theme that strikes at the heart of what this specific campaign is all about.  

Need more ideas or inspiration? I gave webinar recently with the terrificly smart Sevil Miyhandar, Corporate Vice President & Managing Director at CCS, developing smart communications that inspire support at all points in your capital campaign. It’s recorded and ready to watch whenever you want it right here.

Sevil and I will also be hosting a follow-up session on July 7 to answer some of the great questions we received during the webinar. Find more info here.

Related Content