3 Essential Phases for an Annual Campaign

3 Essentials phases for an annual fundraising campaign

Paying for the 990, audit and electric bill just isn’t sexy!  Donors don’t like paying for “overhead.” Plus, you deal with clients that walk through your doors with their own unique circumstances.  One may not have a home.  One may need medical assistance.  It is your job and mission to help them.

So, what do you do to get unrestricted dollars?   Many nonprofits have found success with an annual campaign.

An annual campaign is a set time of year for annual giving combined with the power of marketing with personal, one-on-one solicitation by volunteers.  The campaign concentrates on local foundations, corporations, and individuals.

Strategic in nature, an annual campaign requires planning & process.  When implemented correctly, a successful campaign will:

  • Engage current Board members and donors;
  • Identify new potential donors who can embrace your mission; and
  • Lay the groundwork for larger, major and planned gifts.

Raising unrestrictive money is the major objective of an annual campaign. The campaign strategy should be built upon personal, face-to-face solicitation of prospects capable of giving a minimum of $1,000 in a year ($1,000 in a year is approximately $2.74 a day). Because experience shows that effective fundraising begins within the nonprofit “family.” Those closest to the organization must set the standard of giving for the rest of the community.  Then the Campaign can move outward, with solicitations starting at the top of the prospect pool.

Here are three simple phases for an annual campaign:

  • Phase I: The Family Campaign – 100% participation is a must.  The Family Campaign has two components, the Board and Staff Campaigns.
  • Phase II: The Flooring and Challenge Campaign – This phase focuses on obtaining a challenge gift (or gifts) and all personal, face-to-face solicitations. 50-70% of your campaign goal should be raised in this phase.
  • Phase III: The Friend Champaign – This phase includes the use of broad-based solicitation methods – targeted mail or telephone – to secure gifts not included in the other campaign phases.

Of course, it can’t be said enough: leadership is the key to any fundraising success.  So, each phase must have the right chair.  My next post will provide the steps to recruiting the campaign chair that will lead you to annual campaign success.

In the meantime, here is an Annual Campaign Communication Materials Checklist for each phase.

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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