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February 13, 2015

Once Rare, Capital Campaigns Now a Fixture of Fundraising

Until recent years, capital campaigns were the relatively rare province of the biggest nonprofit institutions, but they have grown more common—and longer and more frequent—at all levels of the charity world, The Boston Globe writes. With the economy rebounding, they have also become far more ambitious, with major hospitals and universities now regularly measuring goals in the billions of dollars and quietly organizing the next campaign as the current one draws to a close.

Although development professionals, board members, and wealthy contributors say the constant drives risk courting donor fatigue—and can have hidden costs for maintaining the state-of-the-art new building they often fund—the intensive, multiyear campaigns remain popular with institutions because they are effective, nonprofit leaders tell the Globe.
"We raise more money when we do them. It's that simple," said Scott Nichols, head of development and alumni relations at Boston University, which is in the midst of a $1-billion capital campaign, the institution's first. "People respond to specific deadlines and specific targets."