Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Major Gift Campaigns: Your First Year

With rare exceptions, major gift campaigns can't be completed in a single year and, in fact, they can sometimes take as long as a decade. That's why it is important to create a schedule of goals when planning your campaign.

Whatever kind of schedule you create should include a series of target dates in which you are going to reach certain benchmarks. Russel V. Kohr wrote in the "Handbook of Institutional Advancement" that the first year of your campaign is perhaps the most important; it is during this time period when your efforts can really take off or sink.

Kohr wrote that organizations should aim for the following 13 goals during the first year of their major gift campaigns:

  • Complete the first draft of the long-range plan;
  • Share plan with trustees and selected potential benefactors;
  • Revise plan as necessary;
  • Trustees approve plan and campaign goal;
  • Development office prepares statement of gift opportunities;
  • Development office drafts case statement that is then shared with key people in the organization, trustees, and selected friends;
  • Survey various constituencies intensively;
  • Research prospective donors of major gifts;
  • Begin solicitation of major gift, corporate, and foundation prospects;
  • Increase annual giving solicitation;
  • A group -- such as the president, chairman of the board of trustees, and the chairman of the trustee committee on development -- enlists a national campaign chairman and members of the major gifts committees;
  • Role of the president and other administrative officials in the campaign is determined; and,
  • Begin solicitation of trustees.

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