Welcome to the fourth in a seven-part series about 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
Make a List of Your Campaign Prospects by Giving Level
You’re not going to raise much money until you develop a list of the people you think have a reason to give.
Having money to give certainly helps. But unless the person has a reason to give to your project, a person’s bank account doesn’t much matter.
Once you have a gift range chart that shows the size and number of gifts you’ll need to get to your goal, the next step is to make a list of potential donors. That is, a list of people who
- A. Have money (Ability)
- B. Have a reason to be interested (Belief )
- C. Have some connection with (Contact)
This simple approach to prospect identification was developed by the remarkable Kim Klein and has come to be known as the A,B,C method.
Margaret, my young friend whose little campaign inspired this series, looked at her gift range chart (below).
Her first response was, “I don’t think I know anyone who might give $3,000. I’m not even sure I know people who could give $1,000. My friends are all starving artists.”
But rather than being put off, we first made a list of all of the reasons someone might want to give to Margaret’s project and then we worked on listing names.
The more she thought about why people might want to give, the longer the list of names grew. And to Margaret’s surprise and delight, she realized that some of those people might even be able to give at the higher gift levels.
To keep track of the prospective donors, we made another simple chart based on the gift amounts in the chart above.
For each gift amount, Margaret filled in the names of people who had a reason to give and who might be able to give at that level. Whenever possible, we had more names at a gift level than the number of gifts she needed.
When she was done with the first attempt, she had some holes in her list but it was much more robust than she had imagined when we developed the chart. I was confident that as Margaret worked on this little plan more, she would find people she hadn’t yet thought of to fill the gaps.
Most exciting for me, however, was to see that Margaret was beginning to understand and envision just what she’d have to do to get to her campaign goal.
Together, these two charts—the gift range chart and accompanying donor chart—created a very clear, specific and action oriented plan for her.
Now, all Margaret had to do was to start asking!
Margaret’s campaign plan will work in large part because it’s so clear and simple.
If you are embarked on a big campaign to raise millions of dollars, this simple approach will work for you too. And when you spell it out this simply, your staff and board members and volunteers will start to fall into line because they see clearly just what has to happen to make your campaign successful.
Capital campaigns often scare people. And people who are afraid often create fog and confusion to keep from moving ahead. If that’s happening in your campaign, just sit down and create our gift range chart and a little donor chart to help you demystify what has to be done!
This is the fourth in a seven-part series of capital campaign basics. Click here to start the series from the beginning.
Next week I’ll write more about asking for the gifts in Step 5 of our simple 7-Step campaign process.