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This is part two of our blog series A Fundraiser’s Guide to the Annual Fund. Our team will be exploring how to turn your database into an integral tool into raising the general operation funds necessary for your success.
We’ve already explored how to get ready for your annual fund but how do you make sure it’s a smashing success? First and foremost, your database is a tool and not the final solution to making your annual fund a success. The real reason for your success is proper planning and getting people excited about your mission.
One of the parts of planning is turning your database into a lean, mean fundraising machine. Today we’ll explore how to set up campaigns as an integral tool for fundraising success. The main way to do that is through campaigns and multi-channel fundraising
Campaigns are ways to aggregate revenue coming in specifically for the annual fund. There are two things to do to get your database ready for all the donations that will be coming in.
Give your annual fund some children
Your main campaign is where you’ll do all your reporting and primary solicitations for your annual fund, but creating child or sub-campaigns that flow into your main annual fund campaign will help with reporting and segmentation.
You should always approach any campaign, annual fund or otherwise, with multi-channel fundraising in mind. Being able to track where and when donations came in is absolutely critical for success and that’s why child campaigns are vital to your annual fund.
When combined with email and mail merging for thank you letters, you’ll be able to track which campaigns are bringing in the most donations while also brainstorming ways to increase donations to another area of your annual fund. Think of these child campaigns as your overarching appeals process.
Another important feature of any campaign is the ability to assign primary solicitation methods for further tracking, so if you have a phone-a-thon or want to hold a peer to peer fundraising campaign you should be able to track it. Furthermore, you can assign any campaign a fund or purpose to assist in deeper analysis that can also make your general ledger reconciliation process easier.
Showcase your mission with every campaign
People want to give to your mission, which is why showcasing exactly what your donor’s funds will be going toward is vital for success. You should create a page dedicated to the annual fund where folks can see this information in a central location on your website. One of the best examples we have seen from our clients is the Community Music Center’s Annual Fund giving page. They have pictures, links to brochure, a campaign success thermometer, and concrete ways that your donations will be utilized. They’ve also created customized giving levels to showcase their giving society.
Creating customized giving levels for your annual fund can send a direct message to your supporters about their level of support. Creating giving societies is a great way to spread stewardship throughout your community. If a person donates at a specific level to your annual fund, why not give them exclusive access to a party at the end of the year or special pages in your constituent login portal to reward them for them for their time, talent, and treasure? You should also create specialized thank you emails based on these giving levels, but we’ll cover that in a later post.
Setting up your campaigns is important for many reasons, but the main reason is it can help structure how you’re going to put forth your annual fund to your potential donors. During your planning process, think how campaigns can be utilized for your goals and objectives. How will your committee and board of directors request reports detailing where your donations are coming from? How are you publicizing your annual fund? Have you added a fundraising success thermometer to your website? With campaigns, you’ll have the flexibility and creativity to truly showcase your mission.
Next time we’ll explore how to make the perfect ask, using your database to deeply segment your appeals process.
Got a question, comment, criticism, or concern? We’re here to listen, we’re here to help, and we’re here to learn. Leave something below or reach out to me directly at email@example.com. I look forward to continuing the conversation!