Running a major fundraising campaign can be daunting. Here’s Teisha Archer’s tips on how to know when the time has come to get started.
“Why don’t we just do a campaign and raise $50 million?”
True story – I once sat in a meeting when a member of the senior executive made this statement. It was made like running a major fundraising campaign was the easiest thing in the world. Like $50 million would come to us just because we wanted it.
Of course, running a major campaign is not so simple. There is months, if not years, of planning to do let alone the resources and time needed to actively fundraise for major gifts.
No doubt, embarking on a major fundraising campaign is daunting. But there are three ways you can make sure you are prepared and ready to go.
1. YOU KNOW YOUR VISION
You can clearly articulate your vision. Not just your organisational vision, but your campaign vision. You are able to clearly state why someone should support you with a major gift. It can’t be for business as usual, it can’t be simply because you do good things. It has to be for something that inspires people, something that will change the world. If you can’t articulate that, you are not ready.
2. YOU HAVE PROSPECTS TO ASK
You have a supporter base. Who will you be asking? Do you have the community on hand to secure the majority of the funds? Or do you have at least a number of key supporters who have agreed to bring friends and peers into the organisation for a discussion about support? You need to test your vision with this group of close supporters, and undertake a feasibility study to ensure that your vision aligns with those you will be asking to support it. If not, back to the drawing board.
3. YOU HAVE A PLAN
You have a strategy and an implementation plan. Campaigns do not run themselves. While they can pop up rather unexpectedly, you do need to plan. These strategies need to include timelines, targets, resources, budgets and actions in detail.
And if there is a final point to be made… You have passion! You have everyone on board. A campaign is extremely difficult if not supported by the whole organisation. The board must be supportive as they will need to introduce peers, ask and promote the campaign. The executive will need to be supportive as they will need to back the campaign through funding, resourcing, asking and promoting. Staff need to be on board – after all campaigns are a lot of work and can be high stress. And finally, your community of close supporters need to be on board. If you can’t inspire them, what hope do you have of inspiring new donations to your organisation?
Teisha Archer is a fundraising coach and consultant specialising in major gifts and campaigns and Director of Teisha Archer Consulting. Teisha is also a Specialist Consultant Member of The Xfactor Collective – Australia’s first network of social impact consultants and coaches across 300 areas of specialisation that exists to support social changemakers to achieve their social mission. The Xfactor Collective has the sector’s first CONCIERGE service to help you get your projects off to a flying start, and a sector-first video library THE X-CHANGE., comprising 140 helpful videos for changemakers such as the links above in this article.
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