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Ask Andrea: How do we know if we're ready for a capital campaign?


Hello, and welcome to the forth blog post in which I answer your questions about fundraising! I’ll select interesting or frequent or thought-provoking questions each month and write my answers to them in this forum on the third Thursday of every month.

Do you have a question to ask me? Email me, Andrea Kihlstedt, at for your chance to be featured in the column!

Now, let’s get to this month's important question from Gary.

Dear Andrea,

My organization is getting ready for a capital campaign. We’ve never had a capital campaign before and I’m wondering what’s the best way to start working on this? Should we hire a consultant and do a feasibility study? How do we know if we're ready?

Thanks for your help!


Dear Gary,

Thanks so much for your great question. There’s nothing like a big, hairy capital campaign looming to make you lose sleep at night.

The stakes are high. If you get it right, a successful capital campaign will take your organization to a whole new level. But if you get it wrong… whew… the consequences are NOT GOOD.

A Great Way to Find Out if You're Ready for a Capital Campaign

My colleague, Gail Perry, and I have created a website all about capital campaigns because there's so much to know!

When you subscribe to our mailing list, you'll be able to download a great Campaign Readiness Assessment. It'll give you a way to figure out whether your board and your organization are ready for a capital campaign.

I find that this self-assessment works wonders. Evaluating your organization on each of 46 key questions will help you see where you are campaign-ready and what areas need more attention.

Get Your Leaders Engaged, Too

You can also use this assessment tool to help others understand what it takes to have a successful campaign.

Give a copy to your Executive Director, your Board Chair and your Development Committee Chair. Ask them to fill it out independently.

Then schedule a little meeting to review everyone’s answers. You'll have a lively discussion about each topic. Whatever the scores are, the meeting will be a super useful way to get everyone thinking the same way.

The assessment will be an excellent starting place for you, Gary.

Thanks again for your important question!


What fundraising questions do you have?

Send your questions to Andrea at


Andrea Kihlstedt, author and co-founder,

Andrea Kihlstedt loves to help people solve their fundraising problems. She has provided advice and friendly encouragement to lots of people over her 30+ years in the fundraising business. She’s also written four books on fundraising. Andrea lives in New York City with her husband and her old cat, Hairy Potter. You can find her at Capital Campaign Magic.

Topics: Fundraising