Tag Archives: annual campaign

Yearend Giving: It’s Not Too Late

fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, yearend giving, annual campaign, volunteer fundraisingCrazy as it seems 2015 is knocking at the door. Yes, we still need to celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza and New Years Eve. But, really, 2015 is almost here. And the question is: how is your nonprofit fundraising? Whether you are an employee or a board member, here are a few steps you can take today to change your yearend financial outcomes.

Staff. Take the time to create a yearend appeal letter for distribution to those who have given to your organization in the past. Be sure to send to those you serve and those you met during the year. Always send to lapsed donors. Highlight the impact your organization has made in 2014 and most importantly share your vision for 2015. Ask for a specific amount. Include a return envelope. Create an online appeal that ties to your appeal letter. Review and refine your e-communication list. Test to make sure your online giving page is easy to use and easy to find. Take the time to plot out how you will use social media to encourage giving. Create the tools that board members, friends and volunteers can use to encourage those they know to give. Include sample text for email messages, tweets, and Facebook posts; links to specific pages on your website or blog (don’t forget your “donate now” page); and most importantly share photos and SHORT engaging videos. We all love images!

Volunteers. Now is the time to be proactive. It is easy to wait for staff to give you all the information you need: that is often a plan for not making the ask. Instead, decide for yourself which actions you will take between now and the end of the year to help raise funds for your nonprofit. Are there two people you can talk with, sharing your nonprofit’s impact, vision and fundraising priorities? Will you ask each to consider a gift? Here’s encouragement: too many people don’t give because they aren’t asked. Others give small gifts because they aren’t asked to make a larger gift. Or they receive a direct mail letter instead of an in-person ask, and their gift reflects the method of solicitation. Take the time to make a well prepared ask of a few people. Don’t be self conscious, there is no such thing as “making” people give. Ask for a specific amount for a specific purpose, be quiet and wait for their response. Asking in person is always important, but social media and email is another way to engage potential donors, especially if you are part of an active network. You can share your nonprofit’s social media campaign, you can create your own appeal, directing people to your nonprofit’s giving page.

Don’t be afraid to ask. Your community depends on you.

Image courtesy of taesmileland at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

Three Steps to launch a comprehensive campaign

Part two of a two part series….Read part One: Four Benefits of a Comprehensive Fundraising Campaign

Three Steps to comprehensive Campaign, an acquaintance blurted out, “comprehensive campaigns are nothing but a con game.” Three steps to ensure your campaign meets its goals

We were taken aback when, in casual conversation, an acquaintance blurted out, “comprehensive campaigns are nothing but a con game.” We listened as he shared his experience of institutions that report campaign success but don’t have the money needed to implement projects laid out as campaign priorities.

While we wouldn’t be so blunt in our assessment, we do agree that a lot can happen in a comprehensive campaign that leaves donors and the community confused and feeling misled. But, comprehensive campaigns don’t have to end that way. We present the following example to share three steps you can take to ensure your campaign meets its goals and has the money to implement priorities.

Let’s say a nonprofit provides healthcare for children ages birth to three years old. It launches a three year $20 million comprehensive campaign for the following: $9 million for annual operations for three years ($3 million a year), $6 million for capital costs for a new medical facility, and $5 million to endow future costs for pediatric services. During the campaign a local philanthropist wants to donate $15 million to provide healthcare services to uninsured local residents regardless of age, and a foundation wants to donate $6 million for childcare services. If the nonprofit accepts these gifts it will raise $21 million but there will be no money for annual operations, the medical facility or endowment of pediatric services. Would this be campaign success?

Consider these three steps before launching your campaign. First, be clear on what you are raising money for. Define your priorities and how much you need to raise for each.

Second, determine which gifts will be counted towards the campaign goal, and which will be counted as what we refer to as “over and above” gifts. For example, when you accept gifts that are outside campaign priorities record them, publicize them, but don’t count these towards your campaign goal as they cannot be used to finance campaign priorities. When you do raise the funds for your campaign priorities be sure to declare success and communicate that you met goal and raised funds for additional projects as well.

The third step is to establish a reporting system that can track how much has been raised towards each priority. Gifts should be appropriately recorded and tied to a priority. Management reports should clearly communicate this information so everyone is aware of overall campaign progress, and progress towards each specific priority.

Here’s our bottom line: Make sure your comprehensive campaign raises money for its stated priorities. Don’t be derailed by an abundance of non-priority related gifts. Be clear and transparent about how you account for gifts received. Decide how you define campaign success and communicate it clearly: don’t leave your community asking “where’s the money?”

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.

Four Benefits of a Comprehensive Fundraising Campaign

Part one of a two part series

comprehensive fundaraising campaigns,  annual campaign, capital campaign, comprehensive campaign, coordinating fundraising campaigns, fundraising, fundraising campaig, how to grow your fundraising, nonprofit campaigns

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.