Fundraising RX

Prescriptions for fundraising success

This is a new series from AC Fitzgerald, addressing many of the most common issues we see everyday in our fundraising work. We’d love to hear what you think, and if you’re facing these issues, we’d love to help you find your solution!

CAMPAIGNS

AILMENT

“We are in the midst of a multi-year capital campaign for a new building. We’ve raised several big gifts, but our campaign has hit a plateau. We hope to break ground on the building soon. How do we re-energize the campaign?”

SYMPTOMS MAY INCLUDE

  • You have not received the top 10-20 lead gifts that will fuel the campaign.
  • You’ve already approached most of your major donor prospects.
  • Prospective donors have not been motivated by named gift opportunities.

POSSIBLE CAUSES

  • You didn’t conduct a feasibility study before starting the campaign and may misunderstand donor motivation and/or capacity.
  • You have not prepared internally with staffing or systems.
  • You have too few active donors to reach your goal.
  • You didn’t allocate enough money in your budget for fundraising expenses.
  • Donors were not adequately prepared for the campaign.
  • You introduced the public phase of the campaign before raising at least 60 percent of the goal.

THE CURE

  • Review the feasibility study, if you did one. Review assumptions including relevant messaging points.
  • If you didn’t do a feasibility study, then build a list of top prospects with goal amounts.
  • Assume you will need 3-5 prospects for each gift you want to receive.
  • Consider if you need outside counsel or extra staff to manage the campaign and meet with prospects.
  • Slow down the construction, if possible, until more money is secured.
  • If cash gifts become impossible, determine if you can secure a long-term loan and offer donors the opportunity to fund the project through planned gifts..
  • Engage the board and campaign committees. Determine how to strengthen the volunteer leadership. Consider naming an honorary chair of significance to re-energize the campaign
  • Invite top prospects to the building site to build enthusiasm.
  • Hold a retreat with board and staff to motivate and build confidence within the team.