Capital Campaign Leadership​

With us as your partner, your capital campaign will raise more money in less time.


  • You’re in capable hands with experts to guide you at each step.
  • Our strategies are based on your realities—not a generic campaign template.
  • Your donors are cultivated and ready to give even before they’re asked.
  • Our experts in donor communications, donor data, and campaign strategy work for you.
  • We turn your board members and executive staff into enthusiastic campaign ambassadors and solicitors with our trademark training and mentoring.
  • We roll up our sleeves and share your workload.

Capital Campaign Q&A

Embarking on a capital campaign is a transformational undertaking, yet a process that is new to many development fundraisers, leaders, and boards.

To help you understand the process and why Winkler Group-led campaigns raise an average 117% of their original goals, we’ve answered the questions we commonly hear. Don’t see the answer to your question below? Email or call us to have one of our campaign experts give you customized advice.

Start with a campaign feasibility study. Hearing directly from a robust sample size of donors is the best way to know if your campaign will be successful. For this reason, the Winkler Group interviews as many of your major donors as possible; we never cap the number of interviews we conduct, and we never charge for additional interviews.

During these interviews, we measure your organization’s campaign readiness against four benchmarks:

1.  Are your campaign priorities compelling to donors?
2.  Do your donors have confidence in the organization and its leadership?
3.  Are your donors willing to invest in the campaign at significant levels?
4.  Are your donors willing to volunteer for the campaign?

The results of the campaign feasibility study determine the campaign goal that is attainable yet stretches your donors to give sacrificially. Read more about a Winkler Group-led campaign feasibility study.

The first three to six months are spent planning: recruiting the steering committee, writing the case for support, and drafting the documents that will protect your organization during the campaign.

The bulk of any campaign is spent in the quiet phase (also called the silent phase), when your donors are cultivated and then invited to invest in the campaign. Winkler Group-led campaigns follow a coordinated pattern that engages those donors closest to your organization first, as well as those donors who indicated during the campaign feasibility study that they would make the largest campaign gifts.

Once the campaign reaches 80 to 90 percent of its goal, we suggest launching the public phase of the campaign. This phase is designed to encourage everyone to participate in the campaign.

The final phase is pledge fulfillment—the three to five years when donors fulfill their pledges. Because of the way we honor donors throughout the campaign, Winkler Group-led campaigns average a pledge fulfillment rate of approximately 95 to 96 percent. If specific challenges arise, however, we provide clients with free pledge fulfillment counsel during this period.

The active phase of a Winkler Group-led campaign generally lasts between 12 to 18 months. The pledge fulfillment period of pledges collected is between three to five years. A campaign feasibility study is conducted prior to the campaign’s active phase and lasts approximately three months.

Yes. In fact, we often recommend including an endowment component as one of the priorities to test with prospective donors during the campaign feasibility study. 

In the last few years, we have seen tremendous donor interest in funding many types of endowments. During the pandemic, donors realized the fragility of many institutions and became determined to protect the long-term future of the causes they champion.

A capital campaign is an intensive effort to raise significant funds over a specified period of time. The most widespread purpose of a campaign is to fund new capital projects, but a campaign can be used to fund new programs, fund and endow staff positions, start or grow an endowment, or improve technology and infrastructure.

Comprehensive campaigns include annual fund goals over the campaign period along with specific capital projects or endowment support. The benefits of a comprehensive campaign include adding focus and intentionality to annual giving and increasing unrestricted giving.  

We approach each capital campaign as a team, which gives you access to experts in all aspects of fundraising. On a monthly basis, you will see your lead consultant and senior managing consultant most often. Your lead consultant is like the quarterback—directing every step of the process and making sure that key milestones are met.

You will also interact with your donor communications specialist who will write your case for support, as well as your project manager who will help create donor proposals and other strategic materials. We will also bring in members of our team who specialize in donor data analysis, planned giving, or other functions as appropriate.

Education and involvement are the best ways to prepare a board. We suggest that you include them in a meaningful way during your strategic planning process so they have buy-in to the plan. Keep them updated on any campaign plans. Educate them and get their early input about the campaign priorities and the timeline of the campaign. Because the board will likely be required to approve the launch of your campaign, it’s critical that they become your partners in the process.

Read this resource to learn more about preparing a board for a campaign, including:

•  common board member fears and hesitations, and how to overcome them.
•  proper role of board members before, during, and after a campaign.
•  what donors expect from a board before they will make a stretch campaign investment.

Sometimes. In a Winkler Group-led campaign, we use the campaign study to identify the individuals who will make the most impact on a campaign—those with influence and affluence. Often, these individuals are different from board members. This is a good thing – a successful campaign should be a community-wide endeavor; having non-board members on the steering committee broadens its reach.

We work with you to recruit these individuals. Their tenure as a steering committee member is short, often only eight to 12 months, so there is a sense of urgency to their task. We also find that by keeping the length of their commitment short, we can recruit more high-profile steering committee members with wide spheres of influence.  

Launching the public phase of a capital campaign is not a date on the calendar. Instead, the public phase begins when you have hit a minimum threshold—usually 80 to 90 percent—of your total campaign goal.

The public phase is less about raising significant dollars and more about giving everyone a chance to participate in the campaign. Our goal in the public phase is for every donor to feel like their gift, regardless of its size, helps the campaign cross the finish line. It’s about honoring and celebrating the donor, recognizing that good stewardship is key to creating a culture of philanthropy and preparing for the next campaign.

Winkler Group-led campaigns

Raise More Money

Provide Funding that Transforms Organizations

Create Sustainable Funding

Nonprofits know that the best way to make bold changes is with the funding that comes from a campaign, but the thought of adding more priorities seems daunting. The Winkler Group works to alleviate the pressures that come with launching a campaign.

The Winkler Group becomes a trusted member of your team and does much of the day-to-day work for you.


Are you ready to launch a capital campaign?

While a campaign study is the best way to determine the likelihood of a successful campaign, answering these ten questions will provide insights into your campaign readiness.

As our client partner, you will quickly notice a difference working with us.

What can we help you find?

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