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September 23, 2022
by Holley Snaith

Comprehensive Campaign vs Capital Campaign: Key Differences

Comprehensive Campaign vs Capital Campaign: Key Differences

Two common fundraising initiatives in the nonprofit sector are comprehensive and capital campaigns. If executed properly, both types of campaigns can result in major gifts with long-term major donors and be highly successful campaigns. Although both are important, they serve different purposes for your nonprofit. Let’s explore a comprehensive campaign vs a capital campaign. 

Comprehensive Campaign vs Capital Campaign: Defining the Terms 

Before exploring the significance of both types of campaigns, it is important to understand what a comprehensive campaign and capital campaign are. 

A comprehensive campaign is a broad initiative that incorporates nearly all (if not all) gifts, and it allows for donors at every level to give and participate in the campaign. If you are seeking planned gifts to help you reach your annual fundraising campaign goals, a comprehensive campaign is a preferred way to go. 

On the other hand, a capital campaign is a single initiative targeted towards a specific need that occurs over a while, for example, a new library on the campus of an educational institution. Capital campaigns may span a few years and cost your nonprofit a sizable amount of money. That’s why it is important for your nonprofit to first conduct a feasibility study to make sure it is reasonable to embark upon a capital campaign. Then plan the specific phases of the campaign. 

Comprehensive Campaign vs Capital Campaign: Why Both Are Important 

Both comprehensive and capital campaigns are crucial to your fundraising initiative, but for different reasons. Let’s dig deeper into a comprehensive campaign vs a capital campaign.


Comprehensive campaigns are preferred by nonprofits because it is a more inclusive fundraising initiative that makes all donors feel as if they are participating in the fundraiser. This kind of campaign also allows for your nonprofit to show donors how their campaign gifts can increase over a period of time. 

A comprehensive campaign is used to meet the current needs of your nonprofit. However, when you are seeking a gift from donor prospects, it is a good idea to consider making a joint ask, meaning a donation for both the comprehensive campaign and capital campaign.  This helps your nonprofit meet its current needs and also look toward the future. 

Before seeking a campaign gift, first, undertake donor prospect research to qualify the donor and make sure they can give to both. Securing gifts for both types of campaigns saves your organization time because you do not have to return to the donor every year to ask for a campaign gift. 

On the flip side, a capital campaign shows prospect donors that your nonprofit has a vision for the future. This is a fundraising campaign that occurs over some time, so seeking multi-year donation commitments, preferably major gifts, is the key to a successful campaign.


These annual gifts may go towards a new building for your nonprofit, the expansion of an existing space, and even the purchasing of necessary supplies. 

How Digital Signage Can Benefit Both Types of Campaigns

Digital signage is an excellent and modern tool to use to help you raise money for these types of campaigns. Through digital signage, you can apply exciting and dynamic visuals to engage with donors, advertise your campaign, and encourage giving. 

There are many ways that digital signage may be useful for your campaigns, such as keeping donors up-to-date on campaign progress through a campaign thermometer and displaying your donors’ names.

This not only gives them the recognition they deserve but also shows prospective donors that you value and appreciate the donors and your nonprofit execute successful campaigns. This is a great way to ensure donor retention and also an excellent tool for donor stewardship



In exploring a comprehensive campaign vs capital campaign, we have defined both terms, discussed why both types of campaigns are significant and revealed how digital signage solutions can help you in your fundraising initiative.

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The real key to successful campaigns is to first identify the needs of your nonprofit, then create a plan to execute your comprehensive campaign or capital campaign. Whichever campaign you choose to embark upon, make sure you keep your donors engaged and up-to-date on your campaign progress. This will not only help you reach your campaign goals but also form lasting relationships with your donors. 

Reach out to learn more about how OmniAlly can help your nonprofit campaign.