"Major Donor Campaigns: The Heart Of Any Successful Fundraising Effort"
Whether for capital or annual gifts, major donor campaigns are an extremely effective means of raising significant income. Make a major donor campaign part of your nonprofit's fundraising arsenal; it will be well worth the investment of time and money.
Just like a direct mail campaign, special event or phone-a-thon, major donor solicitation is most successful if scheduled as part of your annual campaign effort. You may also do a "one-time" major donor campaign to raise capital funds. If you're pursuing big donors to meet operating expenses or project budgets, this is part of your annual campaign. If big gifts are for building or large equipment purchases, building renovation or land acquisition, then the major donor effort is part of your capital campaign.
does Zimmerman Lehman mean by a major donor campaign?
Responsibility for coordinating your major donor effort rests with a committee made up of board members, executive staff and non-board volunteers with a flair for asking. These volunteers may be ex-board or staff members, ex-clients, or folks who have volunteered with your organization in other capacities in the past. It is vitally important that the committee chair be a person who is comfortable asking for big gifts and who is ready to make a sizable contribution himself or herself.
The committee decides the following:
A sure way to ensure failure is leave out training. Even the best solicitors need prepping and most individuals need much more! If your organization does not use a consultant for the entire campaign it should bring in someone to instruct the solicitors in how best to ask! There is an art and a science to asking; training builds confidence.
The Committee reviews past donors to the organization for prospects and brainstorms new ones. No stone should be left unturned:.....friends, colleagues, past and present board members, past staff, contractors, vendors, if appropriate clients. It helps to include non-committee members in this brainstorming process. The committee also brainstorms potential solicitors. After some initial weeding, a list of prospects is draw up.
or Slick Materials
When the gift arrives, the executive director of the nonprofit should send a letter of thanks, as should one of the solicitors who met with the prospect. A thank you party, plaque, name or other appropriate recognitions takes place. The committee must also spend time thinking of exciting ways to recognize major donors. Listing donors' names in newsletters and affixing plaques to walls are fine, but how about something more exciting? Why not host a party to thank major donors? If this is a capital campaign, naming opportunities are a wonderful means to recognize donors. Even fairly modest gifts can be "named;" in one school campaign that Zimmerman Lehman conducted, we placed a naming plaque on every computer in the school's computer lab!Evaluation
Finally, soon after the end of the campaign, the committee should meet one last time to evaluate the campaign. Things to consider: Was the campaign dollar goal too modest? too high? Were the solicitors trained effectively? Did the written materials make the case effectively? Did the solicitors have adequate information about prospects before visiting them? Did the solicitors do an effective job of asking? What worked what didn't? What did we learn for the next time?
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