Secrets to a Successful Annual Campaign Fundraiser

Ok, now you know the phases of an Annual Campaign and you have identified your committee chairpersons.  Ask yourself how will you measure success?

Related:  3 Essential Phases of an Annual Campaign

Related: 4 Easy Steps to Recruiting a Great Annual Campaign Chairperson

Raising money is the major objective of any annual campaign. We know the secret to successful fundraising is building relationships, but for this to happen an effective process must be in place.  This process will become a way of conducting business that builds organizational capacity, with a bottom line of increasing annual giving each year.

In order to assure that your organization’s capacity continues to grow and that it is to achieve long-term success, several factors must be measured.

Measurements of Success:

  • A board campaign committee, with staff leadership and support, plans the process;
  • The dollar amount raised meets or exceeds the goal;
  • There is 100% board giving;
  • There is 100% board involvement in solicitations;
  • The dollars levels of personal gifts from board members increases;
  • A high percentage of donations come from existing donors (i.e., donors to other events);
  • Face-to-Face solicitations are used for top prospects;
  • The number of new donors to the organization increases;
  • There is a high Return on Investment (ROI) – the cost of the campaign is low compared to the income generated; and
  • An evaluation is conducted at the conclusion of the campaign.

In addition to the above measurements, an internal evaluation will consider the following:

  • What percentage of the campaign total was attributed to board members?
  • How many non-board members assisted with the campaign?
  • What were the number and percentage of campaign donors in each gift range? and
  • What internal changes are necessary to make the campaign more successful next year?

Your organization must also adhere to the principles of effective fundraising.  These principles provide the underlying strategy for the campaign plan.  I encourage you to print them. Share them. Commit them to memory.  Assume that everyone who is involved in your campaign needs to be educated on them.

  1. Personal face-to-face solicitation is the most efficient and effective form of fundraising.
  2. 100% board participation is essential.
  3. Each prospect should be asked to consider giving a specific amount.
  4. Volunteers are effective if properly trained, supported and thanked.
  5. Challenge gifts are effective in both raising donor sights and empowering volunteer solicitors.
  6. The “case for support” must be presented clearly and concisely.
  7. Donor recognition and stewardship are important parts of the fundraising process.
  8. Individual donors are the greatest source of funds.

Just as there are proven methods of effective fundraising, certain principles will doom your campaign to failure.  Avoid the following:

  1. Your campaign relies on events, direct mail, word of mouth and marketing.
  2. Your case is you “need” money.
  3. No specific goals are conveyed to either the donor or the organization.
  4. There is “hope” without action.
  5. Staff will do everything.
  6. Adopting an attitude of “people are going to give what they are going to give” regardless of how they are solicited.
  7. Using the “bad economy” or geography (“we’re in a rural area”) as an excuse.

When faced with any of this kind of thinking, refer back to the Principles of Effective Fundraising.

I hope this helps. Your feedback is appreciated.

If you are a CEO or ED of a nonprofit organization and want to learn from me and others join the Supporting World Hope Facebook Group.

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