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4 Reasons To Do Strategic Planning Before a Capital Campaign

Lisa Tylke

I love strategic planning. As a former Executive Director and fundraising consultant who has worked with countless organizations at different stages and sizes, I’ve seen firsthand how important strategic planning is. After all, nonprofits function much more effectively when all stakeholders–fundraisers, board members, volunteers, senior leadership, and program staff–are working toward the same goal. 

Strategic planning is a process by which a group of organizational stakeholders, including volunteer and staff leadership, come to a consensus about where the organization should be heading and what its focus should be over the next 3-5 years. Regular strategic planning ensures that organizations are operating effectively, strategically, and nimbly. 

Before jumping into a capital campaign, I strongly recommend that your organization take the time to go through the important steps of strategic planning. Here’s why: 

1. Setting the Course for Success

Strategic planning allows organizations to chart a roadmap for the future, aligning stakeholders on the organization's vision, and strategic priorities. This clarity of purpose not only fosters strategic agility and builds donor trust but also ensures that every dollar invested in the capital campaign advances the organization's overarching goals.

2. Engaging Stakeholders from the Outset

Board members play a pivotal role in shaping your organization’s strategic direction. By seeking the feedback of board members and major donors at the onset of the planning process, nonprofits ensure that the capital campaign resonates with their philanthropic values further down the line. Moreover, involving donors in strategic discussions fosters transparency and trust, laying the groundwork for meaningful engagement and sustained support throughout the campaign and beyond. 

3. Aligning Vision and Priorities

A well-crafted strategic plan serves as a beacon, guiding volunteer, lay leadership, and executive teams toward a shared vision and set of priorities. When everyone speaks the same language and pulls in the same direction, the organization becomes a formidable force for change. This alignment not only streamlines decision-making but also maximizes the impact of the capital campaign by directing resources toward initiatives that advance the organization's strategic objectives.

4. Driving Donor Investment

At its core, strategic planning is about articulating a compelling narrative of the organization's future – a narrative that resonates with donors and inspires investment. By succinctly describing where the organization is headed and how the capital campaign fits into this broader vision, nonprofits empower donors to become partners in progress. The promise of future momentum and hope, fueled by a strategic plan, motivates donors to give more extensively, driving the success of the capital campaign and the organization as a whole.

In conclusion, strategic planning isn't just a prelude to a capital campaign – it's the cornerstone of its success. If you’re looking for support with a capital campaign or strategic planning at your organization, the Evolve team is here to help. Contact us or email me directly at to learn more.