Goal Reached, What Now? 5 Post-Capital Campaign Tasks 

May 9, 2024 / Comments Off on Goal Reached, What Now? 5 Post-Capital Campaign Tasks 


After years of planning, relationship-building, marketing, and fundraising, you’ve finally reached your capital campaign goal—congratulations! Depending on the nature of your campaign, you may be ready to break ground on a new facility or purchase much-needed equipment or updated technology to increase your impact. 

While this is an exciting time, your campaign isn’t really over—not just yet. To reap all of the benefits of the intensive work you and your team have done over the past few years, you need to drive home the success of your campaign by taking care of a few post-capital campaign tasks: 

  1. Celebrate!
  2. Thank your donors.
  3. Collect campaign pledges.
  4. Report to the community about the campaign.
  5. Create an internal record of the campaign. 

This important post-campaign phase will solidify your organization’s relationships with everyone who made the campaign possible, from your staff and board members to your donors and volunteers. Focusing on gratitude and stewardship during this time will ensure continued support long after your campaign project or initiative is complete. 

Given these high stakes, you may find that you need assistance as you dig into your post-campaign tasks. Don’t be afraid to turn to a capital campaign consultant, or, as Capital Campaign Pro recommends, work with an experienced campaign advisor to get the guidance and support you need. Let’s begin!

Task #1: Celebrate! 

First things first: Make sure your team and your community celebrate the successful campaign! 

The best way to do this is in layers. Try hosting smaller celebrations for different groups who had a hand in different campaign tasks. After all, celebrating doesn’t have to be one-size-fits-all. Recognizing this allows you to tailor your celebrations to each group and focus on their specific contributions, whether they were donations or long volunteer hours.

While the exact nature of your celebrations will depend on your organization and community’s culture, you might run with one or more of the following popular ideas: 

  • Host a nice luncheon for those on your team who solicited gifts 
  • Break out libations to celebrate fundraising success at your next board meeting 
  • Have an insider’s celebration, like a tour of your new facility, for campaign committee members 
  • Invite volunteers to a barbeque and concert at a local park 
  • Host an elegant evening event (like an award ceremony or banquet) for your biggest donors

For most organizations, it will also be appropriate to plan one final, big event where you celebrate with everyone. This may be an event like a ribbon-cutting ceremony, donor wall unveiling, or open house. Use what you know about your internal team and supporters to plan an event everyone will enjoy.

Task #2: Thank your donors. 

This task really starts during your campaign as you’re actively fundraising. Right after you receive their gift, every donor should receive an initial, immediate thank you and a tax receipt, along with something personal like a phone call for large gifts. 

Then, after your campaign, you need to thank your donors again to reinforce your gratitude for their support. Like your celebrations, recognizing your donors will also require going beyond a one-size-fits-all mindset. Every donor supports your organization for different reasons and gives at different levels, so you should tailor your strategy accordingly. 

Here are some great donor recognition ideas from eCardWidget:

  • Write handwritten letters or thank-you notes
  • Send digital eCards
  • Create personalized or general thank-you videos 
  • Give gifts, like branded merchandise or gift baskets 
  • Post shoutouts to individual donors on social media 
  • Put up a donor recognition wall to spotlight major donors

As you consider which ideas to use, remember it will be especially important to ensure your top 40-50 donors receive special attention, whether that’s a spot on your donor recognition wall, a personalized gift basket, or a framed photo. 

After putting your donor recognition strategy into play, thank everyone again as you wrap up your post-campaign tasks. Provide updates on what their donations made possible. Keeping donors in the loop will ensure they know they were instrumental in the campaign. 

Task #3: Collect campaign pledges. 

Many of the donations to your campaign won’t be given in one payment. Many donors (especially those who give the largest gifts to your campaign) will commit to paying off their gifts over three to five years. 

Even after your campaign has reached its goal, you’ll have to contact donors to collect the outstanding campaign pledges they promised during the campaign.

Here are a few best practices for collecting campaign pledges successfully: 

  • Ensure pledge reminders don’t feel like bills or invoices. Instead, get creative with your pledge reminders. Along with the reminder of pledge payments due, provide updates. Include visuals. Make them something your donor looks forward to receiving. 
  • Update the messaging for each pledge reminder. Personalizing and updating your pledge reminders each time will make the donation experience feel more personal.  
  • Offer a variety of payment options. Doing so will make it easier for you to collect pledges. Ensure that your donors can set up automatic payments, use an online giving tool, or are sent self-addressed return envelopes. 

Don’t neglect your campaign pledges. They’re a major source of funding that will help you meet specific goals and timelines for your project or initiative. And the donors who commit to them will appreciate the reminders and project updates.

Task #4: Report to the community about the campaign. 

Imagine giving to a campaign you care about after hearing an impassioned donation appeal. Excited to hear about the completion of the project in question, you wait for updates—but you never hear anything. Later, out of curiosity, you look up the organization’s website and see that the campaign was completed months ago. 

The nonprofit in this hypothetical scenario made a lot of mistakes, but one of the biggest was failing to report to their community about the success of the campaign and neglecting to give any updates on their campaign project. These missteps can leave supporters feeling unseen and unimportant. 

Don’t let your donors feel this way! Proactively share updates with your community. Major contributors to the campaign should be updated regularly and in personal ways—first when you reach your goal and then when you complete your project. Letting them know about these milestones before you make the information public will help reinforce the fact that they’re campaign insiders. 

You’ll also want to create and share a final campaign report after all is said and done. This might be a digital or printed report or even a portion of your next annual report. Whatever form it takes, your report should include essential information like:

  • A breakdown of your campaign goals and objectives and whether you met or exceeded them
  • Quantitative and qualitative data to illustrate the impact of the campaign
  • Challenges faced and lessons learned throughout the campaign
  • Visuals that show your team and community in action during the campaign
  • Acknowledgements and recognition of team members, donors, volunteers, sponsors, and partners who made the campaign possible 

Task #5: Create an internal record about the campaign. 

A best practice to keep in mind when your organization completes a large project is to create an internal record about it to refer back to and learn from in the future. Doing this with a capital campaign will empower you to run better, stronger, and more successful campaigns down the road. 

While you should include essential documentation in your internal records, like your capital campaign case for support, donation appeal letters, and campaign brochures, you should also record these campaign elements: 

  • Campaign staff and roles
  • Fundraising amount raised
  • Campaign budget
  • Marketing and fundraising strategies (identify those that worked and those that need improvement)
  • Things your team would do differently next time

A thorough internal record of your campaign will be especially helpful for succession purposes. Someday a future development director or executive director will be able to reference your campaign record to plan the next capital campaign. 

To truly cross the finish line with your capital campaign, you’ll need to carry out the important post-campaign tasks outlined above. Doing so will set you apart from other organizations who throw in the towel right after reaching their goal. Effective follow-up will help you strengthen and maintain the relationships you’ve built throughout the campaign. You’ve got this!