Get our capital campaign planning checklist to help you prepare.

Capital campaigns are composed of two phases, as you probably know: the quiet phase and the public phase. During the quiet phase, a nonprofit will reach out to major donors and raise 50% to 70% of their monetary goal.

With a kickoff event, a nonprofit enters what’s known as the public phase. About 30% to 50% of the nonprofit’s goal is raised during this time period as the nonprofit reaches out to their extended donor base, instead of just relying on their major donors.

While capital campaigns don’t necessarily need to include a fundraising event, these events are always a great means of rallying support for your cause and organization. It’s a beneficial addition to your capital campaign directly due to its ability to dramatically increase your revenue.

So how do you push the second half of your campaign and raise more money in your nonprofit’s public phase?

We’re glad you asked! We have 5 fundraising event tips to help you with that exact dilemma:

  1. Pair crowdfunding with your event
  2. Implement fundraising hardware at your event
  3. Use event management software
  4. Try mobile giving to boost donations
  5. Sell merchandise to rally your supporters

If you need help planning your campaign, look here, but if you’re ready to learn how to launch your capital campaign and raise more money in your public phase, then read on!

Capital campaigns are composed of two phases, as you probably know: the quiet phase and the public phase. During the quiet phase, a nonprofit will reach out to major donors and raise 50% to 70% of their monetary goal.

With a kickoff event, a nonprofit enters what’s known as the public phase. About 30% to 50% of the nonprofit’s goal is raised during this time period as the nonprofit reaches out to their extended donor base, instead of just relying on their major donors.

While capital campaigns don’t necessarily need to include a fundraising event, these events are always a great means of rallying support for your cause and organization. It’s a beneficial addition to your capital campaign directly due to its ability to dramatically increase your revenue.

So how do you push the second half of your campaign and raise more money in your nonprofit’s public phase?

We’re glad you asked! We have 5 fundraising event tips to help you with that exact dilemma:

  1. Pair crowdfunding with your event
  2. Implement fundraising hardware at your event
  3. Use event management software
  4. Try mobile giving to boost donations
  5. Sell merchandise to rally your supporters

If you need help planning your campaign, look here, but if you’re ready to learn how to launch your capital campaign and raise more money in your public phase, then read on!

Pair crowdfunding with your fundraising event.

1. Pair crowdfunding with your fundraising event

Crowdfunding is a fundraising strategy that involves soliciting online donations through a donation page. These campaigns target smaller donations from a crowd of individual supporters, not major gift donors, so they’re ideal for the public phase.

Like typical fundraisers, crowdfunding campaigns usually have a timeline and monetary goal.

Many crowdfunding sites let nonprofits set up a professional online donation page where they can share their specific story and accept donations.

The page can feature:

  • Prominent social sharing buttons
  • The number of donors that have given to the campaign
  • The monetary value that’s been raised in comparison to the campaign’s goal

Nonprofits can also usually include a slideshow of photographs portraying their efforts to support their cause. After all, your crowdfunding campaign should reflect your nonprofit’s case for support that was developed during the feasibility study.

Likewise, if your capital campaign is funding a construction project or renovation, relevant images of construction progress or renderings of the final product can tie the crowdfunding campaign more intentionally to its intended purpose.

When searching for a crowdfunding platform, try one that allows nonprofits to register for free so you don’t have to worry about raise requirements or start up fees! Crowdfunding also works especially well with challenge grants.

With a challenge grant, a corporation challenges donors to meet a certain fundraising goal. If the donors meet the goal, the corporation agrees to donate to the nonprofit, typically matching the amount donors raised. A crowdfunding campaign is a useful way to enact a challenge grant because it allows donors to actually see their progress toward meeting the goal, knowing that the impact of their donations will be doubled once it’s reached.

As such, a challenge grant and crowdfunding combo works well for events because of the excitement and the sense of urgent giving that manifests when a lot of like minded donors are brought together for a cause.

Crowdfunding campaigns are specifically helpful for fundraising events. Nonprofits may host these campaigns during an event so donors will strive to reach a fundraising goal throughout the event. A crowdfunding campaign can create a sense of urgency and encourage donors to give!

To sum up: Crowdfunding is quick and simple, the perfect way to raise more money during your capital campaign.

Implement fundraising hardware at your fundraising event.

2. Implement fundraising hardware at your fundraising event

Move your donation acceptance to the 21st century!

Fundraising hardware enables you to accept debit and credit card donations in-person, so you’ll never be disappointed by the words, “I don’t have cash on me” again.

Most fundraising hardware, like giving kiosks, will transfer the collected funds to your bank account on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. It’s simple and fast. Typically, they’ll also have built in internet or connect via cellular data so you won’t have to worry if your event isn’t in a wifi accessible area.

Plus, many kiosks allow donors to easily register at events and schedule recurring gifts to your organization through online donation forms. And you can even customize most kiosks to your liking by choosing the donation amounts and types, color scheme and branding featured on the device.

While some kiosks can be in depth and complex, there are also plenty kiosks that simplify the aspects your nonprofit should be looking for. For example, with a giving kiosk, like DipJar, a supporter will simply insert their card into the device and after their card is read by the machine, they can give a donation of a preset amount on the spot!

Most fundraising devices can also provide you with performance tracking so you’ll know how successful your event was! You’ll know exactly which device raised how much and you can use this data to help improve your strategies for future events.

Look for hardware that comes with a long lasting battery. That way, you won’t have to worry about running out of juice while you’re outside running your 5K event!

To sum up: Fundraising hardware can be a helpful addition to your capital campaign events because you can easily accept credit and debit card donations in addition to other types of gifts.

Use event management software for your fundraising event.

3. Use event management software

Event management software, programs that help you organize every aspect of your event, is beneficial for a capital campaign because it can take years and entail multiple fundraising or stewardship events. Think of it as an investment in long-term fundraising strategy. With the data you gather across multiple events, you can more easily compare metrics and analyze ROIs to develop an event strategy that progresses as you campaign does.

The right fundraising event management software will be able to take care of your campaign events from start to finish, lifting some weight off your shoulders. Remember, organizing a capital campaign doesn’t have to be stressful!

Invest in software to help you out with the following features:

  • Organizing all of your upcoming events. With custom listing layouts that let you choose the best format for your audience and easy website embedding for fast registration, event management software can do the work for you.
  • Setting up custom reports to analyze your data. Reports can provide you with the metrics that are key for a successful capital campaign and give you overviews of your nonprofit’s performance.
  • Using the provider’s specialties. Can their software track your auction item procurement, manage storage locations and even categorize the items into different packages? These are things you’ll want to keep an eye out for.
  • Multiple ticketing options. With multiple packages, possible coupon codes and acceptance of additional donations, supporters can give (and receive!) as much as they’d like.
  • Directing management skills at your social media. Maybe you can share your Facebook and Twitter feeds directly on your website and live tweet your kickoff event with a customizable Twitter Scoreboard!

With these features, your nonprofit can plan and execute a streamlined fundraising event that addresses the multitude of layers for a capital campaign.

For example, event management software can help nonprofits simultaneously fundraise from low- or mid-tier donors while also stewarding major donors who gave during the quiet phase. Your nonprofit can thank your major donors by recognizing them publicly or giving them an exclusive VIP package.

That’s why it’s important to manage things like seating, scheduling, and ticketing strategically so that donors are treated to an experience that reflects their involvement with the organization.

Event management software can streamline that process and give a nonprofit a clearer, more comprehensive picture of how their donors have historically been engaged with events over the entire course of the campaign.

If you’re launching a capital campaign, it’s likely that you have a fundraising and management system in place. To ensure that all your valuable event information transfers to your nonprofit’s CRM you should work with tools that seamlessly connect with your existing software.

For instance, if your organization uses Salesforce, it will be useful for your organization to use a native app because your core information will automatically integrate with your event management tool.

On the other hand, non-native apps will still work with your CRM but the relationship between the two tools will be more complicated. For more detailed information about Salesforce event management, check out this comprehensive guide.

Even for nonprofits using a different CRM, it’s still critical that your organization look for integrations so that information doesn’t have to be manually transferred.

When your tools work together, your staff can gain a more complete picture of your events and fundraising efforts. Plus, it will save them time so that they can focus on more important things: connecting with supporters.

To sum up: Let event management software take the administrative wheel from your hands so you can focus on raising money for what really matters: your cause.

Not sure where to look for the right event management software? Let us help you out! Take a look at these providers:

  • BidPal’s Event Fundraising Software. BidPal’s event fundraising software turns you into the hero, letting your juggle all the elements that come along with running a fundraising event.
  • Fonteva’s Event Management Software. With Fonteva’s software, you’ll be able to manage RSVPs, organize event speakers, and even build attendees’ itinerary for your event, all from one central location.
  • Eventbrite’s Event Management Software. Eventbrite lets you actively promote your upcoming event by helping you build a page specifically for fundraising. From there, you can invite donors, manage your guest list, and even scan tickets.

Try mobile giving to boost donations at your fundraising event.

4. Try mobile giving to boost donations

Mobile giving focuses on the little handheld device you keep in your pocket or on your person at all times: your cell phone. It’s your calculator, your GPS, your all-in-one tool, and it’d be a huge missed opportunity to not take advantage of our favorite, portable technology.

Mobile giving encompasses text giving, mobile donation pages and kiosks, which of course you’re an expert on now that you’ve learned about giving kiosks.

Text giving works exactly how it sounds: you text to give! And mobile donation pages are simply online donation pages you access and give to on your mobile device. Basically, as long as you’re doing it from your cell phone instead of a computer, it’s mobile giving!

Text giving software, which many providers will call text-to-give, is perfect to implement for your kickoff event! With another engaging way to connect with your donors, text giving lets you get paid faster. Plus, many providers make sure transactions can be confirmed with an emailed receipt to supporters.

Your supporters will already have their phones on their person throughout the event. Mobile giving allows them to easily donate during your event without having to carry cash or wait in line to donate using fundraising hardware. It’s more convenient and accessible than other forms of in-person donations.

Text giving providers can give you a designated or general number that supporters can text when they want to donate. So, a supporter can:

  1. Text your nonprofit’s phone number the amount they’d like to donate. For example, “$25.” (Or they can text the general number with a more specific line, like, “$25 for Hudson’s Animal Shelter.”)
  2. Receive a text back with the donation link.
  3. Confirm their donation via email or text.
  4. Voila! They’re done, most times with an emailed receipt waiting in their inbox.

To sum up: Mobile giving simply enables more forms of donations, allowing you to raise more money during your capital campaign fundraising events!

Sell merchandise to rally your supporters at your fundraising event.

5. Sell merchandise to rally your supporters

Merchandise sales are an easy way to raise money and promote your campaign and kickoff event all at the same time. Since capital campaigns are long-term projects, branded merchandise can help supporters maintain a connection to the cause. A customized water bottle or t-shirt is an appealing incentive to supporters because they’re not only donating, but they’re also receiving something in return.

Many merchandise providers make sure you don’t have be a designer to make aesthetically pleasing products. With templates and design experts who are happy to help, you can create merchandise with your branding in mind.

You can decide on:

  • Color schemes
  • Fonts
  • Variations of your item.

For example, if you’re making a Randy’s Animal Shelter t-shirt and your color scheme is red, black, and white, you can make a red shirt, white shirt, a black long sleeved shirt, and may even a red hoodie!

But how do you know if selling a red hoodie is the right product for you? Here’s where you’ll need to take a look at your nonprofit’s cause and current project. If Randy’s Animal Shelter is holding a walk-and-paw-a-thon (a walkathon with pups!), a sweatshirt doesn’t fit that event best. But water bottles, drawstring bags, and t-shirts would all be perfect additions!

You can also find a provider that handles the inventory for you. With their help, there’s no need to worry about ordering too many shirts!

To sum up: Merchandise sales are a great way to rally spirit and enthusiasm for your capital campaign’s kickoff event while raising even more money for your cause.


Now that you have our tips to implement in your public phase, put your campaign to the test and raise more money for your cause!

For more help with capital campaigns, check out these additional resources:

Learn more about planning for your capital campaign

Now that you have our tips to implement in your public phase, put your campaign to the test and raise more money for your cause!

For more help with capital campaigns, check out these additional resources:

Aly Sterling Philanthropy

Aly Sterling Philanthropy

Over the years we’ve helped nonprofits raise millions of dollars, engage their leaders, hire top-notch talent and grow their missions. Are you ready to move your mission forward? Contact us to get started.
Aly Sterling Philanthropy

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