They Did It: DIY Capital Campaign
When capital campaigns are launched in animal welfare, the process from planning to grand opening may take 3-5 years. It’s a bit different in the equine welfare world, since most rescues and sanctuaries don’t have a paid consultant or dedicated development staff. Learn how this Colorado large-animal sanctuary ran its own successful effort—and shattered all expectations in the process.
Denkai Animal Sanctuary, Grover, CO
Denkai Animal Sanctuary faced the challenge of raising $100,000 to retire a promissory note and secure a 30-year mortgage on 640 acres of rangeland. The sanctuary was founded in 2004 and by then had rescued and placed for adoption over 3,000 large and small animals.
It also operates a small-animal clinic in Eaton, CO, offering low-cost spay/neuter services to low-income pet owners. In just six weeks, Denkai E.D. Floss Blackburn managed to raise $115,000.
“Funding for this project came from local corporations that are heavily impacting our area; Bear Tracker and Geokinetics aided our campaign generously. Foundation support totaled $20,000 for this effort, corporate support totaled $11,000, and individual contributions, program income, and fundraisers totaled $84,000 for this effort. Also part of our success was a generous contribution from the ASPCA,” reports Blackburn.
“I would have to say that Facebook was a HUGE factor in this campaign for us. This outlet brought in the bulk of the funding we needed for our campaign and the generosity just kept going,”
Smaller requests mean more engagement
“I would have to say that Facebook was a HUGE factor in this campaign for us. This outlet brought in the bulk of the funding we needed for our campaign and the generosity just kept going,” Blackburn added.
She used email newsletters and word of mouth, but since she’s one person doing multiple jobs in the organization, less traditional ways were needed to engage donors. Blackburn asked for smaller amounts of funding from the general public, and $75 contributions were the average size from individual supporters. “This was much more doable, and most folks donated $75 several times,” she reports.
Denkai communications during this campaign were urgent yet thoughtful—and always showed gratitude for the support they had already received. Friends and followers couldn’t help but be impressed and want to be a part of their success.
Now You Try It:
Note that successful campaigns have the following elements in common:
- Capital campaign plan and need is conveyed in easy-to-comprehend talking points
- Board of Directors is 100% on board, contributing funds and reaching out to those in their sphere of influence
- Past major donors are tapped both for their financial support and for community connections
- Local corporate and vendor support is sought
- Donor recognition programs are devised to offer naming opportunities (such as bricks on a donor walkway or stall sponsorships)
- Once large gifts are secured, remaining funding is sought from friends and new supporters who are kept up-to-date on progress once the campaign goes public
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