The first thing you probably think you need for your campaign is the case for support. If you’re like many people, you think your case is a glossy brochure. In fact, you may fervently hope that you can create a brochure so good that you can just send it to donors and they’ll be moved to write you a big check.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

You’ll need more complex thinking when it comes to developing a communication plan for your campaign.

Capital Campaign Communications Shift For Each Phase

Communications for your campaign will shift for each phase of the campaign. The audiences will grow, the messages will change and the vehicles you use to communicate will take different forms.

You will find it helpful to create a grid like the one below that shows the audiences, messages and vehicles for each of four sections of your campaign.

Capital Campaigns: Audiences, Messages and Vehicles

In the Pre-Campaign phase, you will involve a small group of insiders and you will work with preliminary project plans, usually in draft form.

Through the Quiet phase of your campaign, you will solicit gifts from the donors with the greatest capacity and your board members. These conversations are usually most effective when you share essential information without slick presentations. You’ll need well-written and clean material to explain the project.

As your campaign gains steam, you’ll develop an e-newsletter to keep the group of insiders who have been involved up to date with the campaign progress.

And of course, by the time you kick off the campaign publicly, you’re going to need all sorts of other material.

As your campaign proceeds, you’ll find that the audiences, message and vehicles change. Until finally, by the end, you might be creating swag – hats, tee shirts, banners and more.

Capital Campaign Materials You’ll Likely Need

To give you a running start on developing the communication plan for your campaign, here’s a list the material you are likely to need over the full range of your campaign.

  • Letterhead
  • Notecards
  • Pledge forms
  • Envelopes and labels
  • Newsletters
  • Brochure
  • Campaign report
  • Donor discussion guide
  • Folders for donor material
  • Website and webpages
  • Video
  • Email appeal tamplates
  • E-newsletters
  • Social media messages
  • Swag (hats, buttons, banners, ads and more)

Download and save this handy list here »

Develop a Communications Plan, Not Just a Fancy Brochure

Your campaign volunteers may think that the first thing you need is a fancy campaign brochure. They may push you to hire a design firm to develop one.

One of the best ways to keep volunteers from demanding a fancy campaign brochure long before you are ready for one is to share with them a well-conceived communications plan.

If you’d like to see a sample communication plan, check out the material in the Capital Campaign Toolkit. It’s got everything you need to guide you.


What questions do you have about your campaign communications plan? Let us know in the comments and we’ll be happy to answer them.

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