When preparing for a capital campaign, many nonprofit board and staff members believe that one of the first steps toward preparing for a campaign is to create a beautiful campaign brochure.
It seems logical that you would create something impressive to show your largest and most influential donors. I’ve even seen campaign consultants advise their clients to create a highly produced, four-color brochure as one of the first steps in a capital campaign.
However, creating a brochure too early on is one of the biggest mistakes an organization can make when getting ready for a capital campaign.
Don’t Create Your Capital Campaign Brochure too Early!
Once you’ve created a fancy capital campaign brochure, you’re locked into whatever that brochure says. And your campaign is likely to morph between the beginning and the end.
Don’t make the mistake of getting locked in too early.
- Want to expand your program or project? It’s hard to do once it’s printed on glossy paper.
- Wish you could change your goal (up or down)? Too late — it’s on the brochure.
- Need to expand or contract your building renovation? You’re going to need to throw out all those expensive brochures.
So, when someone says, “let’s create a campaign brochure…” Full stop!
These are just a few of the reasons not to create a campaign brochure too early. There’s another key reason – feedback from your donors.
BEFORE You Create Your Capital Campaign Brochure, Talk to Your Donors
One of the most important things an organization’s staff and volunteer leaders should do in the beginning stages of a campaign is to go to the largest potential donors and most influential community members to ask for their advice and feedback on the project.
If you meet with donors and march out a high-gloss fancy brochure to review, how much impact can their feedback have? Your project is already signed, sealed, and delivered.
However, if you go to ask advice with a few Word or Google documents and “draft” plans, then there’s still a lot to discuss.
First, create a draft of your Case for Support
So instead of getting stuck with whatever you first envision, create a draft of your case for support. Your donors will be thrilled that you’re speaking with them so early in the process.
Exactly When to Create a Capital Campaign Brochure
You should create a brochure in time for the kickoff and public phase of your campaign. In other words, you should raise 65%+++ of your campaign goal BEFORE creating a campaign brochure.
See the campaign timeline from the Capital Campaign Toolkit below:
So if someone from your organization wants to create a brochure too soon, now you know exactly what to say (and why). Emphatically tell them:
Not until we’ve raised 65% or more of the goal first!
Once you’ve done that (and well after you’ve met with your top-level donors), THEN it’s time to create a beautiful capital campaign brochure — but not a moment sooner!