Campaigns vary in scale and aims. A campaign is for a specific need – be it capital or revenue – and it will have a specific target and deadline. Depending on the size of your organisation, it may mean that your fundraising campaign takes over all of your fundraising activity and, even if you are large enough to continue with other fundraising activity, a campaign will certainly provide the main focus. Key aspects to consider are:
1. Before even going into campaign mode, test your campaign – does it fit with your overall vision and strategy. If not, why not? It may be that you are changing the culture of the organisation in general but this should first be reflected by a change in your organisational aims, rather than by a fundraising campaign.
2. Test your target. Have you any experience of fundraising? Do you have the resources to raise this amount of money in terms of staff and board time, office systems and experience within your organisation? Have other organisations run similar projects or tried to raise similar amounts? Were they successful? If not, why not? Is there something you could do better?
3. Review previous and current fundraising. Look at where money has come in from the past – that may be a good starting point for future gifts. What are you currently doing that may need to be dropped to focus on the campaign. How will that affect the running of your organisation?
4. Review your systems and networks. Make sure you have the capacity within your office systems and resources to devote time and energy to fundraising which is well managed and structured. A good database; proper systems for research; good internal channels of communication – to ensure staff are informed and board members are networking effectively on your behalf; gift stewardship – i.e. what will happen when a gift is received or pledged in terms of thanking and looking after the donor; gift policy – are there particular types of donor that you are unwilling to accept donations from/if you receive shares, how will you manage them?
5. Write a plan. Use all of the above to compose a fundraising plan for your campaign, which clearly makes the case for your campaign and outlines the structures to support it – including prospect research and information on where gifts will come from.
There are of course, many other aspects to consider when planning a fundraising campaign but these are the top priority in my mind.
Would you add any others? Or perhaps there are aspects you think are less important?