Leadership gifts first. Quiet campaign before public phase. Cultivate prospective donors and steward current donors. Don’t bury the ask. Use board members in thanking donors.
The list goes on.
While these statements are true, they can become platitudes rather than the basis for meaningful campaign strategy.
Last week we wrote about campaign clarity, which is the pre-campaign discovery process to assess external feasibility and internal readiness.
Once the clarity process is complete, our team customizes campaign strategy for our clients based on their unique data and story. No two campaigns or clients are the same. While there are truisms like the ones stated above, there must be a specific approach that understands current state and drives the organization forward toward their goals and future state.
Our team articulates campaign strategies in priority order so it is understood what must be done first and how facets of a campaign build upon each other over time.
We ensure that campaign strategies are articulated in an ask, thank, and engage framework.
Asking is, of course, solicitation. Clear strategies for how asks are to be made, by whom, and when are fundamental at all stages of the campaign — from the quiet phase to last dollars in. Securing leadership gifts in the beginning creates a cascading effect on the campaign plan depending on how much is raised early on.
Thanking is not secondary. On the contrary, it is of equal importance to asking based on the research of Penelope Burk that documents donor generosity and loyalty based on how a donor was thanked. It’s important to remember that thanking is both acknowledgement and recognition.
Engaging is cultivation and stewardship. Building a relationship with a potential donor before an ask is made and sharing the impact after contributions are received are critically important. Soliciting is not the same as engaging (that newsletter with a giving envelope in it is not a stewardship tool). We find that engagement is often overlooked as a primary strategy.
Paying attention to all three aspects of fundraising — and ensuring that all strategies are based on clarity findings — creates a custom roadmap specific to your organization that ensures campaign success.
Article by: Kerri Laubenthal Mollard, Founder & CEO