Friday, January 4, 2013

First Year Fundraising Campaign Goals

Fundraising campaigns are rarely completed in just a single year. The nature of a long-term campaign means the number the organization wants to reach will be quite high, meaning the time-frame can be as long as five years. All of the years are important in a campaign but, as M. Jane Williams explained, the first year carries the most weight.

Williams wrote in her book, "Big Gifts," that the first year of a fundraising campaign can determine the overall success of the project. A rousing first year will boost the morale of your fundraisers, whereas a lackluster performance will cause concern. To ensure you get off to a good start, Williams recommended making use of schedules. These will help organize your campaign so you know by when you need to accomplish certain goals (i.e., X amount of dollars should have been raised by X date).

For the first year of your campaign, Russell V. Kohr wrote in the “Handbook of Institutional Advancement” that the following goals should be accomplished:

  • 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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