How can we ensure a successful capital or endowment campaign?

Capital and endowment campaigns are like marathons. If you haven’t run some 5Ks and 10Ks, you probably can’t complete the race.

Robert Glavin

Robert Glavin

Similarly, you probably can’t conduct a capital or endowment campaign without first building a successful major gifts program.


With that in place, your first step is to convene a blue ribbon committee of internal and external leaders to conduct a planning study. With guidance from outside counsel, this group will, among other things, determine a fundraising goal that is optimistic but realistic. This committee will also gain an accurate sense of the range of gifts prospective donors will make. Upon completion of a well-executed planning study, you’re ready to launch your campaign.


Skipping the planning study is a big risk, and the consequences can be serious. Should you announce a goal you can’t meet, lots of people will work hard for years, and end up feeling disappointed. If you ask wealthy prospects for far more than they’re comfortable contributing to your organization, you could alienate them. Raising mid-sized gifts before raising lead gifts will lead to lower results.


By contrast, everybody feels great being part of the well-planned and well-executed campaign. This is the experience Robert Glavin Inc. offers to its clients.