There are a number of advantages of capital appeals. with Capital capital appeal strategy development ensures that much of the money raised comes from new and different sources and as the funds are raised in a different way, with careful management, it does not impact too much on essential revenue fundraising. Furthermore the money raised by a capital appeal comes relatively quickly, possibly in 2-3 years (depending on many factors) and it reaches out to different audiences including High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) who come on board as philanthropy donors, trusts & foundations who may not be adding to your revenue fundraising and other sources such as companies who may like something of significance. There are many opportunities for recognition, from the standard listing of main supporters of the capital appeal on a Donors’ Board to more innovative ideas. 

Once the capital appeal is over the activity will have generated many more donors to your non-profit organization who are then available to approach for ongoing revenue and other projects. We feel that there is an annual uplift of some 15% in revenue fundraising after a capital campaign. Furthermore the extra publicity that a capital appeal achieves can generate more legacy income some 4-10 years after the capital appeal ends.

"Paddy worked with us for a period of over a year. His methodology includes spending a good amount of his consultancy time actually with his clients and their prospects and with us there was no exception to this. He travelled up to us every fortnight for a two-day visit, staying in an inexpensive B&B, and was really part of the team at our Coventry offices. We did not feel at any time that he was distant at all.  In fact, with his laptop and mobile phone he was always available at the other times and very frequently travelled up for important networking and other meetings in between his regular fortnightly visits.

He worked well with the staff and volunteers and networked thoroughly - he even managed to recruit all the lord lieutenants for each of our five counties where we work. Furthermore he worked with us and was instrumental in recruiting the appeal chairman and asking and receiving from him a leading gift of £360,000.

I found Paddy to be very professional and hard working in his approach and he was totally focused on our needs. His efforts made a lasting impression on our fundraising by engaging donors with our staff and our objectives. I would have no hesitation in recommending Paddy to anyone needing fundraising help."

CEO, The Children's Air Ambulance 

Capital Capital Appeal Strategy


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An appeal strategy needs to include:

  • Consultation with all key members of charity
  • Review of all past & present fundraising
  • Review of all publications
  • Interviews with some ‘high-level’ people and current donors (philanthropy)
  • Research into sources of funds (donor research)
  • Production of Capital Appeal Strategy 

The Capital capital appeal strategy will encompass as many parts of the Fundraising Mix as possible. It needs to be a realistic strategy that will take into account actual resources of charity in terms of funding, people, their skills and their networks. It will attempt to meet the real needs of the charity. It will estimate costs for the whole appeal.

The Appeal Strategy should be produced with people in the charity. It is important that the organisation ‘owns’ the document.

To raise a large sum from a capital appeal it is worth bearing in mind the following 'appeal rules':

  • we need to be assured of the viability of the project
  • we need to be assured that it will be possible to raise the appeal total
  • we need to prepare very carefully before any donations of note will be raised
  • we need to raise the substantial donations (five or six-figure sums) first in the ‘private phase’
  • the ‘private phase’ has to generate at least half of the appeal total before the ‘public phase’ is launched
  • the ‘public phase’ has to be carefully planned and prepared before its launch

what are the advantages of a capital appeal?

pre-appeal planning



It is important to understand who your audience will be for your capital appeal. You can go through your supporters to find potential major donors for the appeal. With good research you can also find new suspects to approach as well. 

The Case

We cannot emphasise enough the importance of getting your project right. 
You must have a project that will attract funders (major donors, trusts & 
foundations, companies etc.) and it must be written and packaged in such
a way as to answer funders’ questions. It needs to be long enough to 
describe the project, show the relevance of the project and its costs but
not too long as to bore people.​ 


The trick is try and get ‘peer-to-peer asking’ going on within the capital appeal. If you can get your Appeal Chair and Appeal Committee Members giving themselves and then asking others to do the same – then there is nothing more powerful.

An old fundraising saying is that ‘People give to people’ – this is so true with capital campaigns. 

Seven Steps of Solicitation

We can keep close to these Steps, as we design and then implement the Private Phase 

Cultivate and Involve
Thank and steward 

However, in our experience, we need to be both flexible and innovative, as we adapt these Steps and the thinking behind them to suit each charity and its various key people – both senior staff and volunteer leadership. 

Suspect – someone with no links to the cause nor the charity nor anyone associated with it
Prospect – someone with a link but who has not given yet
Donor – someone who has given to the charity
Major Donor – someone who has given a major gift (anything from £1,000 to £25,000 depending on the size of the charity)


Most people are afraid to ask. But this is generally because they have never done it properly and are terrified of either offending people or being refused or both!

Actually there is nothing scary about asking. It can be taught very easily. 

Ideally the perfect ask is when…

The right asker
Asks the right prospect
In the right way
For the right amount
For the right project
In the right place
At the right time

… what we need to do is to try and ensure as many of these are in place for each ask.

 A Note on Naming Rights

It is important to consider this early in the planning stages of the appeal. We need to lay out what areas of the new building could be named and for what amounts of support. This will act as a ‘shopping list’, especially for major donors and corporate supporters but also for some trusts & foundations who do like to be named. 

Appeal Pyramid

We would aim to raise the largest gifts first – for example one at 10%, two at 7.5%, three at 5%, 5-6 gifts at 2.5% and 10-12 gifts at 1%. This will show confidence in the appeal and will build momentum. 

We suggest the production of an ‘appeal pyramid’ that is an excellent way of displaying the level and numbers of gifts required to achieve a successful capital appeal. Type your paragraph here.