Last month we were delighted to be invited to attend the opening of the Chris Bryant Centre in Erdington and to meet HRH Princess Anne! The multi-million pound project has taken over 10 years from concept to completion and we have been involved in capital fundraising for 5 of those, securing funding from a range of Trust and Foundations.

The project spanned the build of Phase 1: The Orchard (83 supported flats), Phase 2: The Coppice (Hand in Hand nursery and training rooms), and Phase 3: The Vineyard. 34 new affordable self-contained flats, complete with kitchen and ensuite bathroom facilities, as well as a brand new community sports hall (The Chris Bryant Centre), modern training and conferencing facilities, and Eden-more than coffee, YMCA Birmingham’s social enterprise scheme that employs residents and people from the local community.

From artists plan

From artists plan completion of the 3rd and final phase!

…to completion of the 3rd and final phase!

Capital Fundraising can be tough – and it can take a long time. But we’ve done enough of it to know that what’s required is planning, preparation and perseverance!

Every capital fundraising campaign is different and therefore the level of detail, its impact on the organisation and the amount of time it will take to achieve funding will vary. However, there are some basic steps which apply to all:

  1. Define Goals – What are you raising the money for and roughly how much will it cost? Each goal of the campaign will have an associated cost, at this stage this will be rough figures but it helps to build a picture of the scale of your fundraising requirements.
  1. Identify Resources – Ensuring you have the necessary resources to meet your goals. This can include trustees and staff members with experience or skills relevant to the task, the potential donor base, new donors, marketing requirements, financial management, costs associated with fundraising etc.
  1. Undertake a Feasibility Study – This is best conducted by someone external to the organisation who can offer an objective perspective and act as a critical friend. The feasibility study assesses whether it’s possible to raise the funds in the time scale required, or whether adjustments are required to the original vision and plan. A good feasibility study will explore the capabilities of the organisation and staff to deliver, and will incorporate the views of others (such as service users and stakeholders) as to their view on the organisation and the capital campaign. This is crucial as it is important to know how the ‘outside world’ perceives your organisation – this will ultimately impact on your fundraising success. The feasibility study will also include a scoping of potential funders to help ascertain how viable your vision is in terms of securing the required funding.
  1. Organise Leadership – Who is going to be involved in this process? What skills do they bring to the table? Define a group of people with the skills and experience you need to make this happen.
  1. Develop a Case for Support – This will outline the mission, the capabilities of the organisation and clearly describe the vision for the future and the goals of the capital campaign. It is not a static document – it will need refreshing over time and will need to be adapted for different audiences.
  1. Develop a Fundraising Strategy – This will outline who will be approached, what their interests may be, when you should approach them and how much you might ask for. It will also include a timetable which takes into account the 3 phases of capital fundraising, the quiet phase, the public phase and the closing stages.

All of this happens before any fundraising has taken place and gives some idea of why the process can often take a long time.

It’s important to remember too that once the capital campaign has been completed you are likely to have increased ongoing revenue needs and therefore this too needs to be a consideration.

Understandably, Capital fundraising is daunting to many and it’s definitely hard work but ultimately it can be transformational for your organisation. Get in touch to see how we can help……….