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10 Tips to Run a Successful Capital Campaign in a Small Shop

Jenny Love
Published:  09/07/2023

Blue hand holds yellow coins

Running a capital campaign for a small hospital foundation can be a challenging task. However, with the right strategies and a focus on building a culture of philanthropy, success is within reach. In this article, we will explore essential tips shared by Andrea Page, Executive Director of Stratford General Hospital Foundation, who has over 25 years of fundraising experience in hospitals and has successfully raised over $78 million in capital campaigns. Let her insights guide you into your next capital campaign. 

1. Engage Staff

To create a culture of philanthropy, it is crucial to engage every staff member as a PR person, a fundraising person, and an ambassador for the foundation. Make sure they understand that their efforts contribute to exceptional care. Implement internal campaigns, staff and physician engagement programs, and recognition initiatives to involve and motivate the entire team. 


2. Conduct a Feasibility Study 

Before launching a capital campaign, conduct a feasibility study to assess the fundraising potential and identify potential challenges. Turn negative feedback into opportunities for improvement. Engage consultants and target major donors and sectors with which you have no previous connections to broaden your network. 


3. Keep Costs Low 

Focus on keeping campaign costs low to maximize the funds raised. Look for cost-effective media partnerships and unique mailing techniques to expand your donor base. Leverage technology and digital platforms to reach a wider audience. Utilize QR codes, Dropbox folders, and webcams to enhance communication and engagement. 


4. Develop a Physician Campaign

Physicians play a crucial role in the success of a capital campaign. Initially, if physician support is low, focus on understanding their preferences and communication preferences. Tailor campaigns specifically for physicians, such as separate brochures, pledge forms, and recognition opportunities. Highlight their impact on patient care and find creative ways to engage them, such as leveraging their interests or providing travel incentives. 

5. Leverage Creative Advertising 

Utilize creative advertising strategies to increase visibility and support for the campaign. Use photo opportunities, media coverage, and engaging website content to reach a wider audience. Tailor your messaging to resonate with the unique characteristics and interests of your community. Highlight the impact of the campaign on patient care, emphasizing the tangible outcomes and benefits. 


6. Build a Culture of Philanthropy 

Building a culture of philanthropy requires continuous effort and engagement. Involve community leaders, organizations, and volunteers as campaign ambassadors. Offer opportunities for involvement, such as tours, focus groups, and volunteer programs. Emphasize the collective impact of philanthropy and foster a sense of ownership and pride within the community. 


7. Emphasize Donor Recognition 

One crucial aspect of running a successful capital campaign is recognizing and appreciating the contributions of loyal donors. In a small community, donor recognition should be both up-to-date and enduring. Establishing a donor kiosk or a similar display that highlights past campaigns, donor names, donation amounts, stories, and news articles can demonstrate the lasting impact of donors' generosity. Additionally, retire older donor walls by offering plaques back to donors while reassuring them that they will be recognized in perpetuity on the donor kiosk. Remember, small communities have a long memory, and acknowledging past and present contributions helps build stronger relationships with donors. 


8. Maintain Open Communication

Effective communication is vital throughout a capital campaign. Be creative and explore various communication channels, including advertising, social media, websites, and more. Utilize these platforms to share campaign updates, success stories, and the impact of donor dollars. Keeping the information flowing helps to engage and connect with donors and the broader community. Cross-training staff members and involving them at every step of the campaign ensures that everyone is on board and working towards the same goal. 


9. Preserve Annual Giving

While focusing on a capital campaign, it's crucial not to neglect annual giving efforts. Small hospital foundations should continue to emphasize the tradition of giving during the campaign. Recognize the ongoing needs of the hospital that may fall outside the scope of the capital campaign and keep smaller donors informed and engaged. Maintaining a strong annual giving program not only sustains the pipeline of potential donors but also ensures consistent support for ongoing hospital needs. 


10. Leverage Physician Engagement 

Physicians play a vital role in the success of a capital campaign. Encourage their involvement by highlighting the importance of supporting the hospital and its equipment needs. Establish training programs for physicians to identify potential donors and connect them with the foundation. By fostering a culture of philanthropy among physicians, foundations can strengthen their relationships with medical staff, enhancing their understanding of the impact of donor dollars and their willingness to contribute. 

Running a successful capital campaign for a small hospital foundation requires strategic planning, effective communication, and a focus on building a culture of philanthropy. Engaging staff, physicians, and the community, while keeping costs low and utilizing creative advertising techniques, will contribute to the campaign's success. By following these tips, small hospital foundations can create lasting impact. 

For more advice, AHP members can watch the full webinar, Small Shop Capital Campaigns A-Z, here

NEWS  /08/28/21
Learn some essential do's and don'ts when planning a capital campaign.
NEWS  /10/17/13
The following article is based on the webinar, “Major gift fundraising in a small shop,” presented January 23, 2013, by Randall Hallett, CFRE

Meet The Author

Jenny Love
Chief Content and Marketing Officer
Association for Healthcare Philanthropy

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