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Summer is often a challenging time for capital campaigns. Schedules change. Volunteers and donors often travel. Under normal circumstances, donors, committee members, and staff members might be unavailable for weeks or months at a time.

A Challenge or An Opportunity in 2020?

This coming summer of 2020 is likely to be especially challenging in the times of COVID-19 – or an opportunity.

You may have kids home from camp. You might be transitioning back to working from work (as opposed to working from home). Businesses are starting to open up, slowly. It’s a strange time.

Here’s the good news…

The good news is that donors, volunteers, and staff members are now all accustomed to working remotely. Regardless of what your summer plans may be, you can convene Zoom calls to continue the conversation.

5 Planning Tips for Your Capital Campaign in Summer 2020

Here are some things to do to make sure your campaign, or campaign planning, stays on track this summer.

1. Plan time for planning.

The summer is always a good time to plan. Things are generally a bit slower in the summer, so use the opportunity to plan your campaign and consider how to proceed. Designate a day (or days) this summer to do research on donors, discuss plans with your committee, and create alternate plans and scenarios based on what’s happening at your organization.

Plan A — You raise all the money you need and more
Plan B — You raise about what you planed for give or take a little
Plan C — You raise less than what you need

2. Set realistic, yet optimistic, expectations.

Campaigns are about a big vision. Your volunteers, donors, and staff should be excited by the vision. Help them help you by setting out expectations. How many meetings will you have? When will you need their help and for what tasks?

3. Communicate often.

Don’t take the summer off. Donors and volunteers may have time on their hands and not much to do. So don’t waste the summer by not communicating with them. Keep them up to date on the status of your organization and your campaign progress.

Share what’s going on with your clients, staff, programs, services, and in the community:

  • Individually — Identify those who need personal meetings or individual emails.
  • Small Groups — You can send or share reports to small groups of volunteers or donors.
  • Bulk / Mass — In the public phase of your campaign, you’ll want to communicate with your full community via email or in town hall type settings over Zoom.

4. Be creative and brainstorm.

How many new and creative ideas can you and your team come up with? No idea is off the table during a brainstorm session. Summer is a great time to think outside the box. How many creative ways can you think to communicate with and learn more about your donors? I’ll start, taking into account the unique social distancing challenges we face this summer: Invite donors for a walk on the beach (or for a walk through the woods).

5. Take some time off.

Take advantage of the slower summer months to take a week or two off. Let your brain decompress and recharge. Come back to your campaign refreshed and relaxed.


The spring has been filled with anxiety and stress. Use the summer to plan, relax, and recharge for the fall. Ask yourself, What can get done this summer? And also ask yourself, What needs to wait until the fall?

What will you do this summer to move your campaign forward? Let us know in the comments below and commit to taking action.

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