Welcome to the final installment in a seven-part series on Capital Campaign Basics. Click here to start the series from the beginning.
- Capital Campaign Basics: 7 Steps to Success
- Step 1: Clarify Your Fundraising Goals
- Step 2: Write Clear, Effective Campaign Material
- Step 3: Develop a Gift Range Chart
- Step 4: Make a List of Prospects by Giving Level
- Step 5: Contact Your Best Prospects
- Step 6: Ask for Gifts in Person Using Gift Range Chart
- Step 7: Follow Up with Every Donor
Good Follow Up Isn’t Short and Sweet
Once you’ve stated asking people for gifts for your campaign, you’ll find that each solicitation is likely to result in a little to do list of its very own.
First, there’s the obvious direct follow up from the meeting: documenting the results, sending a thank you note, delivering any material or meetings that you promised to produce when you met.
Then, if the donor made a gift and there’s a naming opportunity or other gesture of recognition, you’ll follow through on that.
But it’s likely that other opportunities presented at your meeting. Perhaps the donor offered to introduce you to other prospective donors. Or perhaps they’ve suggested that they’d do a house event to support your project.
Once you’ve visited ten donors, with each of them adding to your new to-do list, it won’t take long before you’re at capacity for follow up. Add that to the fact that you’ve still got more folks to ask and you’ll be overwhelmed. So, it’s time to …
Build a Follow-Up Team
If you’re in an organization with a board and other staff members, you may be able to recruit a small group of people to help with follow up. And, the more people you involve, the better your donor will feel, the more connected your staff and volunteers will feel, and the more doable you job will be.
And because you are asking people to help with follow up rather than pushing them to ask for gifts, you may find it easy to put together a small group of people who will be happy to help.
Think of Following Up as a New Beginning
Think of all of the things you do to follow up and thank your donors not as the final piece of your campaign but as the beginning of your next fundraising effort. The better the job you do now, the easier and more successful your next fundraising campaign will be.
Make Sure You’ve Covered These
- Have you clarified and double checked the gift amount?
- What are the terms of the gift? Is it restricted in any way?
- How will the gift be transacted? And when?
- Do you have written, signed confirmation of the gift?
- In whose name does the donor want the gift listed?
- Who is sending thank you notes to the donor?
- Who is sending the tax receipt?
- How will the donor be recognized publicly?
- What ongoing communication will the donor get from you and your organization?
- Who is responsible for making sure the donor gets appropriate communication?
- How can you further develop the relationship with the donors?
Wrapping Up This Series
This 7-part series was inspired by Margaret, an artist, who set out to raise $15,000 for her project. When we first spoke, she imagined putting her project video and campaign on line using a Kickstarter-like platform and then hoping that people would give.
Instead of that unlikely approach, Margaret went through each of the steps outlined in this series. In effect, she conducted a mini-campaign. And in doing so, she raised more money than she had at first considered. She also learned many lessons about asking that will stand her in good stead for years to come.
Thank you, Margaret, for letting me use your mini-campaign as a model!