The Importance of Successful Capital Campaigns for Community Colleges

Community colleges offer an essential solution in a skills-oriented job market, but they also face significant fundraising challenges. Here’s how you can set up your capital campaign for success.

Today’s college students face a conundrum: go into debt for a degree they can’t afford or go for a cheaper option in the hope they’ll get competitive job skills.

Unfortunately, colleges face a conundrum too. In the wake of COVID-19, students demand justification for high attendance costs. Yet colleges also have to grapple with new philanthropic challenges–especially community colleges.

And in situations like this, your capital campaign can make or break the coming school years.

Here’s why community colleges are more important than ever in these tough economic times–and why community colleges need to strengthen their capital campaigns.

Community Colleges as an Agile Job Skill Provider

In today’s job market, community colleges serve an essential role–providing fast, skills-focused job training for those who cannot afford a four-year degree.

Historically, community colleges were treated as a less-distinguished stepping stone to a four-year institution. These days, there are 3.7 million non-credit learners in community colleges who will not earn a degree and do not want one.

These are learners like Arona Coelho, who paid $3,200 in tuition for a four-month training program to become a certified clinical medical assistant. As soon as she finished the program, she landed her dream job in her local pediatrician’s office–for her, the stepping stone she needed to start a new life.

Learners like Ms. Coelho and workers displaced by new technology don’t need a four-year degree. They need job skills to get in the market as quickly as possible, and community colleges can offer it.

Why It’s Time to Reinvent Your Capital Campaigns

This is why community colleges are coming to realize the criticality of capital campaigns.

For one thing, community colleges have to be agile with limited capital campaign resources (much more so than their four-year cousins, who have long outshone them in philanthropic giving). For another, community colleges don’t have the same fundraising foundation as their four-year counterparts, so they have to build the infrastructure quickly.

The good news is that many community colleges brought in major donations as they matured their philanthropic programs. But with the shift toward small but consistent donations from Millennial alumni, it’s time to start connecting the dots.

Connecting the Dots for Your Capital Campaign

Community colleges face unprecedented fundraising challenges as they fill an essential education gap. With the right tools to build your fundraising infrastructure, your college can compete for decades to come.

We help you connect the dots. We know that fundraising is about leveraging relationships, not numbers, and we bring decades of higher education fundraising experience to train your capital campaign team. So if you’re ready to take on capital campaigns with an eye toward future success, get in touch today to learn how our fundraising coaching can help.

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