Five Steps To Do Now to Prepare For Your Campaign
By Wendy McGrady
Executive Vice President
Are you moving out of the pandemic seeing an opportunity to grow your nonprofit? Did you realize a need for more diversified funding or a more robust reserve fund? Did you benefit from an influx of new donors and want to make sure your major gift program is ready to steward them? Is there an exciting new program that you are ready to launch? Any of these could be the perfect reason to launch a fundraising campaign.
Before you press go…
Even before you hire a consultant to do a planning study/feasibility study, check these 5 action items off your list. These actions will help maximize the results of your planning study and ultimately raise more dollars during your campaign.
- Build Consensus — Your planning study will be testing the feasibility of raising a certain amount of money for a specific goal. Can you articulate that goal? Is it for capital, program, endowment, reserves or some combination? Is your board invested in these goals? I recommend that you take 30 minutes to write down your fundraising goals and why they are important to the organization. This process will fine-tune your plan and help you convey this to your leadership. Discussions about funding priorities should align with organizational goals, so discussion and approval of those priorities for a campaign by the board is a must!
- Check your data — Is your database up to date with addresses, giving history and personal notes on your donors? We are all guilty of keeping far too much of this important information in our heads. Can you run a query of your top donors over the last 5 years? Would that report be accurate? Check out this article for more specifics about leveraging your data.
- Cultivate your donors — In fundraising, surprises are rarely a good thing. Involve your major donors in the pre-work. Share your vision and your long-term dreams, ask their opinion. You don’t have to wait until the planning study to plant the seed of a future campaign and get their feedback on priorities.
- Develop your board — Strategic board growth should always be top of mind, but even more so when considering a campaign. Consider a fundraising coaching session for your existing board members. When recruiting new board members, prioritize diversity and be sure that potential members understand the importance of fundraising, even better if they have prior campaign experience. Make sure that your board recruitment and orientation process is honest and thorough about what will be expected of these volunteers. Watch this brief “Let’s Talk Fundraising” video about leading an impactful board orientation.
- Meet with potential consultants — Consulting is not a one-size-fits-all business. Your consultant should fit your organization and make you feel heard and understood. Review these FAQs about choosing a consultant before you schedule your meeting.
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