Market Your Capital Campaign During the Public Phase: 5 Tips

January 11, 2024 0 Comments

Even if you are a capital campaign beginner, you probably know that these campaigns have a quiet phase and a public phase.

Research shows that during the quiet phase, you’ll raise around 70% or more of your campaign goal from your top donors and those people who are closest to your organization. Then, you’ll announce your campaign and begin the public phase. During this phase, you will capitalize on the success of the quiet phase and invite the broader community of donors to participate and help get your campaign over the finish line.

In this post, we’ll explore five tips that will help you market your capital campaign during the public phase so you can meet your goal!

Capital Campaign Public Phase Essentials

Before we dive into our tips, let’s go over some important things to know about the public phase:

  • While the public phase will raise far less money than the quiet phase, don’t underestimate its importance. During this phase, your organization will expand its visibility and attract many new donors who will support your organization long after the campaign is over.
  • The public phase requires a different approach than the quiet phase. The quiet phase relies on personal solicitation and individualized attention to donors with significant giving capacity as you seek out the gifts outlined on your campaign gift range chart. The public phase, however, uses a broader marketing approach to attract as many donors as possible at every giving level.
  • Typically, the public phase of your campaign will be much shorter and more intense than the quiet phase. Often the quiet phase of a campaign will extend for 12-18 months or even longer. The public phase, however, should be compressed into three or four months if possible so you can create and sustain as much of a buzz as possible as you take the campaign over its goal.

5 Winning Tips for Better Public Phase Marketing

List of tips for marketing your capital campaign during the public phase

1. Set specific strategic goals for the public phase.

While you should have a dollar goal for the public phase, strategic goals are every bit as important. You might set goals around expanding and diversifying your base of support, creating a sense of urgency to complete the campaign, or defining targets for public visibility.

Determine the audiences you want to reach during this phase. As you plan, revisit the data in your CRM and think specifically about the audiences you wish to target during this phase. Some of them will be people who are low and mid-level donors to your organization but who haven’t been approached during the quiet phase. But you should also consider expanding your reach by identifying groups of donors who might have a reason to want to get acquainted with your organization.

2. Craft the messages you will use during the public phase.

You might have two or three messages that you hammer home—one should be about the exciting new project funded by the campaign and one should be about how close you are to completing your campaign goal.

Whatever your specific messages are, ensure they’re clear and consistent throughout all of your marketing efforts.

3. Determine the ways you will get the word out about your public phase.

Be sure to use the various promotional vehicles you already have, like your regular newsletter and your website. But you might also plan a press release or press event to get broader coverage. And don’t forget various social media channels.

Develop a plan for each of these media opportunities, reusing assets like your case for support or campaign brochure where possible.

4. Establish a tight timeline.

The public phase of your campaign should be no more than three or four months long so you can establish and sustain high energy and visibility. Develop a specific timeline for each aspect of your campaign to keep it on track.

5. Plan challenge and matching gifts for the public phase.

Challenge and matching gifts work wonders during the public phase. Speak with some of your largest donors to see if they might make special challenge or matching gifts that you can roll out during this broad phase of the campaign to build excitement and motivate people to give by a specific deadline.

The public phase of your campaign can be challenging. All of that broad base fundraising takes a huge amount of effort and the financial rewards pale after the large gifts you have worked on during the quiet phase. But the public phase is worth the work if you plan it well, market it with care, and execute it effectively!