Part one of a two part series
Do you need to raise money for your nonprofit? If you answer “yes”, you are in good company. Fundraising is critical for most nonprofits and it takes time to build relationships that generate the revenue needed to operate. Organizing your fundraising into a campaign with specific financial goals and timelines is one way to focus on revenue and invite others to join you in fundraising.
The most common campaign is the annual campaign. This is a campaign to raise funds for annual programs and operations. Funding may come from foundation or corporate grants, individuals and families, events, and/or government sources. Gifts may be large or small. Another type of campaign is the capital campaign. This is a campaign to raise funds for assets such as buildings, equipment, furnishings or an endowment. The financial goal is typically such that it cannot be paid for with an increase in annual funds. It is a milestone occurrence within the life of the nonprofit that requires major investment. A major gifts campaign refers to a campaign to raise funds through large gifts. Unlike the other campaigns, funds may be used for multiple purposes as the name refers to the types of gifts a nonprofit seeks to secure. A comprehensive campaign is a campaign that coordinates multiple campaigns into one.
A major benefit of conducting a comprehensive campaign is that it focuses an organization’s energies into one campaign with multiple goals and revenue sources. It reduces confusion amongst prospective donors, allows them to make a one-time decision on how to support your diverse needs, and reduces duplication of efforts on the part of the nonprofit. For example, if you are raising funds for annual needs and simultaneously raising funds for a building you may find that an annual solicitation was made of an individual with the capacity and interest to give to your capital campaign. If the two campaigns are not coordinated you may receive a meaningful annual gift, but lose the opportunity to ask for a gift that combines annual and capital giving. Returning to donors multiple times within a year is not always possible, and the donor may have thought the first solicitation represented your needs for the year.
A comprehensive campaign also allows donors who give small gifts to feel a part of a major campaign. The value of their annual giving is made clear through campaign marketing messages and they are encouraged to be a part of the larger campaign as well. With a larger financial goal a comprehensive campaign can create buzz and excitement that re-engages lapsed annual donors, or encourages annual donors to increase their giving. A comprehensive campaign is not “business as usual” and that excitement can attract new donors and fundraising volunteers.
Next week: comprehensive campaign challenges.
Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.