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How a CFO Can Propel a Capital Campaign By Brent Hafele

8 Actions a CFO Can Take to Propel a Capital Campaign

The majority of nonprofit executives and Christian Leadership Alliance members will tell you that “building future financial sustainability” is one of their organization’s top strategic priorities. One of the best ways to do that is through better fundraising.


Recently a nonprofit CFO asked me how she could support her organization’s capital campaign.  Regardless of your title—CFO, COO, VP of Finance and Administration, Director of Accounting, Bookkeeper—financial professionals can make a big difference in their organization’s capital campaign. Here is the advice I shared with that CFO:


At the end of the day, the Lord “owns the cattle on a thousand hills,” the hills, and the space above the hills.  We can bring the best fundraising practices in every way, but if the Lord doesn’t bless our efforts, we are dead in the water.  Thus, pray for God’s favor in this project.  Pray for appropriate boldness to invite donors to participate in this important mission.  Pray also that the right leaders and donors would be revealed to the steering committee.  Finally, pray that all who participate in this project–staff, board members, steering committee members, donors–would be blessed for their participation and obedience.

Protect Integrity

I know protecting the financial integrity of [your organization] is core to your role.  Keep at it!  The books need to be clean and processes need to be clear to maintain donor confidence.  BTW, it is a great idea to keep campaign funds and project expenses in separate accounts from operations to ensure transparency.

Be Prepare

It is not unusual for foundations and donors to request to review the financials of the project and/or organization.  Be prepared for this and be prepared to meet with those foundations/donors to answer their questions.

Track Progress

Help the development team track pledges and revenue, if possible, in real-time.

Process Gifts Quickly

Ensuring quick gift processing and perhaps even expediting major gifts so the major gift team can quickly thank donors is critical. Just like buyer’s remorse, donor remorse is a real thing. You can help prevent that ensuring donors feel great.

Prepare for Financing

Most donors will fulfill their gift over a 3-5 year pledge period.  Unless [your organization] is going to wait 5-7 years before all the money is in, a bridge loan will be necessary to cover the outstanding pledge balance. Identifying a friendly bank to extend favorable bridge loan terms helps all involved.

Open the Door

Everyone is a fundraiser at the best nonprofits, but that doesn’t mean you have to ask.  Making introductions to people in your network who may be prospective donors is a big way to support the campaign. Your development team can help you identify who is a good prospect and how to comfortably make an introduction to them.

Speak Up

As they say at the airport, “if you see something, say something.”  God gave you wisdom and put you in this position for such a time as this.  Don’t let your limited background in capital campaigns prevent you from speaking up with concerns and/or asking questions.

Gearing up for a campaign?  The most successful capital campaigns start with preparation well in advance of their launch. Reach out to DickersonBakker today to learn more about how to ensure your organization is ready to reach your ambitious campaign goal.

Save The Date!

Are you wanting to take your organization’s fundraising to the next level? Then don’t miss the upcoming DickersonBakker webinar: “Four Things Every Ministry CEO Needs to Know About Fundraising” on Thursday, March 18th at 1:00 pm ET. Invite your team and Board leadership to join this free webcast event too. It’ll be an important conversation starter when it comes to growing the fundraising program at your organization this year.


 Brent Hafele  is the Vice President of Client Services for DickesonBakker. Brent has  fundraising experience as a development director and as a consultant.


If you liked this blog, then don’t miss The Outcomes Webcast on

March 18, 2021 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time.

“Four Things Every Ministry CEO Needs to Know About Fundraising” with Dickerson Bakker



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Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.

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