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3 Excellent Indicators Your Corps or Area Command Is Ready for a Capital Campaign

As a Salvation Army officer who manages the daily business of the Corps or Area Command, planning for future growth and sustainability can seem daunting. Before you realize it, new facilities and programs are needed, along with the urgency to push for a capital campaign.

However, some nonprofit leaders go into campaigns blindsided due to the lack of proper readiness, and in turn, their campaigns either fail to get started or end poorly.  We call this last-minute campaign approach the Campaign Cycle.

3 Indicators You’re Ready for a Capital Campaign

Before you decide to launch, take a look at these three indicators to see if your Corps or Area Command is ready for a capital campaign:


As the Salvation Army Officer, your task is to provide clear direction on how your ministries and programs will impact the community. Managing capital campaigns is no different. 

What is the vision behind this campaign and how will it impact the future?  For example, how does expanding your homeless shelter or adding rooms in your existing social service wing support your vision? It’s not about expanding the physical space but more about providing “a handout and a hand up” to people in need.

Articulating the vision will also help create the Case for Support in the early stages of the campaign.  A powerful case will help donors understand the mission and impact for the future: “meeting human needs in His name without discrimination.”


Whether you’re an officer for The Salvation Army, president of a Performing Arts Center, or principal of a Christian School, leadership is imperative for any capital campaign to be successful.

Leadership for capital campaigns, however, should not be limited to one person.  A team of motivated, passionate volunteers and staff whose time, effort, and enthusiasm are important to achieving your campaign financial goals. 

Besides the officer, the following key leadership team members should include:

  • Divisional Development Director – They play an important role in promoting the effort, making presentations, being the “expert” on solicitation visits, and energetically promoting the campaign. They inspire the Capital Campaign Leadership Chair and Committee members in the support of their efforts. They also are vital in supporting the entire campaign effort with record keeping, scheduling, and material preparations for the campaign.
  • Capital Campaign Chair – This person  leads by example and helps gather additional Capital Campaign Leadership Committee members who have talent and ideas to carry out the campaign plan effectively. They encourage and inspire, keep the campaign on schedule, celebrate successes, and help achieve the fundraising goals by making asks to other peers and community leaders.
  • Capital Campaign Consultant – They  will assist in coordinating and facilitating the efforts of each leader mentioned above. An experienced consultant can provide counsel and guidance to help maximize the full potential of the campaign. 


One of the key ingredients of a successful campaign is having a pool of major donors to solicit. In fact, fifty percent of a typical capital campaign comes from fewer than fifteen donors who are currently in your donor base. 

Many organizations make the assumption that  to get big gifts they need to go out and find a whole new group of donors for the campaign to succeed. However, it’s important to remember most donors who give to a capital campaign are already supporting the Corps or Area Command.

3 Ways to Identify Major Donors for Your Capital Campaign

1.  Start with your advisory board members. One-hundred percent of your advisory board must currently provide a financial gift at some level before asking others to support the campaign. Create and implement an advisory board annual giving plan before the campaign begins to show the public that everyone in the organization is in full support of the ministry. This is critical.

2. Check your donor base. Using a good donor database system, run a list of the top 10-20 percent of your donors. These are good prospects for lead gifts. Also, identify your most loyal donors who have given consistently even if not at significant levels. More often than not these donors haven’t been asked to give at a major donor level or have not been made aware of the bigger vision of the Corps or Area Command.

3. Assess each prospect’s readiness. Before soliciting your first gift, review your stewardship practices. When was the last time you scheduled a face-to-face visit, provided an impact report showing them how their last gift changed lives, provided an invitation to tour the Corps or Area Command, or at the very least write a hand-written thank you note? Using a little red wagon stewardship approach may take several months or years for the prospect to make a significant gift. However, stewarding properly now will set the campaign up for tremendous success. 

Done correctly, capital campaigns don’t just raise money for new facilities and programs. They have the potential to deepen relationships with current and prospective major donors, increase greater levels of investments across all levels of giving, and offer an opportunity for sustainability for the future.  But none of these benefits happen without being ready for the campaign in the first place. So, readiness is key to a successful Salvation Army campaign.

Do these three indicators show your corps is ready for a capital campaign? Do you have the right vision, leadership, and major donor potential? Click here to schedule your one-hour consultation with one of our experienced capital campaign consultants.

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