Raising funds for building projects can be challenging. Consider these two scenarios:
You may develop the plans for a new building, get pricing, and begin to raise funds during a five-year campaign. Congratulations! When you are ready to build, you discover that material costs have increased over the five years by 15%. Yikes!
Instead, perhaps set the fundraising goal 15-20% higher than your current best estimate. Even without normal price increases, rarely do projects come in under budget. Plan for both a rise in prices and an overbudget project!
The same issue arises with the naming gift for a building. If your policy requires a naming gift of 50% of cost, then be sure it’s actually 50% of cost. Many donors have gotten great bargains, so to speak.
In both scenarios, it's important to understand not only the true cost of a new building (or related project), but also to the issues surrounding the donations that fund its construction.
Doing so ensures that the donor is giving at the level they expect and the institution receives the kind of funding it needs.