Fundraising campaigns are time-defined efforts to raise money for a specified purpose or purposes using a range of fundraising techniques. When most organizations talk about fundraising campaigns they are thinking about capital campaigns and those, typically, are focused on raising funds to build or renovate a building. But campaigns can also help to enhance programs, create new centers of excellence, or help your organization to fulfill its mission.
What makes fundraising campaigns powerful is that it brings staff, volunteers, donors together for a purpose. Success, however, relies on a lot more than the desire to raise money to do this or accomplish that. What are the six steps to success? (READ MORE)
- A commitment from leadership. This means that those at the top—staff and board members—are firmly behind this campaign. They support the effort with their words and their actions, and this includes making leadership gifts.
- A pool of prospective donors. That means that you have a database that contains more than contact information. That you are and have been gathering data and know who else can make leadership and larger gifts. Yes, many campaigns have a “community” component, made of up smaller gifts from a large number of people. But in truth, 60% or more of your campaign total will come from less than 20% of your donors, and you must know who they are and what matters most to them
- A strong, consistent annual giving program. Annual funds are those your organization can rely on year after year after year. A strong annual program helps you to create loyal donors, and it is that loyalty that is the best indicator of who will make a major campaign gift. Few donors make their first gift a major gift. They need to get to know you, to see how you work, to become a partner with you and annual giving is a great way to do that.
- Well-trained and committed volunteers. All fundraising is more compelling when donors are asked by peers to “join with me” in supporting your awesome organization. Campaigns, in particular, need a strong volunteer base. Here again, your annual giving program can give you a head start. Doing a campaign in phases based on potential size of gifts allows you to ask people to be involved at a comfortable level for them for a limited time.
- A well-defined donor relations program. We all know the statistics—60% of all first time donors to an organization never, ever make a second gift. That’s not true across the board, and one reason is that organizations who make stewardship the center of their fundraising efforts have much higher retention rates. Make sure you have a comprehensive and robust program that keeps your donors connected and involved.
- A written plan for success. This is true for whatever kind of fundraising you are doing. While we know that fundraising is about relationships and relationships should be organic not planned, fundraising really is so much more of a science than an art. Writing down what your goals and objectives are and then clearly outlining the steps it will take to be successful will make your fundraising stronger, more sustainable, and provide you with a roadmap that will ensure you get where you want to go.