I get sad when I see boxes of capital campaign brochures piled up in the corner of the development office long after the campaign is over.
I know how much time, energy and money went into creating them. And then, at the end of the campaign, lots of these pieces of “campaign bling” just sit there waiting to be recycled.
When Should You Create Your Capital Campaign Brochure?
Campaign brochures are seldom the sort of literature people are eager to read.
Unless, of course, your name is on one of the lists — steering committee, board or donor lists. Otherwise, you’re not likely to do much more than ripple through it glancing at the photos, headings and captions.
But again and again, our pre-capital campaign coaching clients want to know when they’ll have a brochure.
Really, it’s the volunteers that have a hankering for brochures. For many of them, the idea of soliciting a large gift without fancy material seems wrong.
Their thinking goes like this:
Before we go talk to our wealthiest donors about the biggest gifts, we’d better have our act together. If we look like we’re flying by the seat of our pants, we’ll never get anywhere. In fact, we’ll look unprepared and foolish. And a slick glossy campaign brochure will give us the air of credibility we need!
But a campaign brochure isn’t an essential element in being well-prepared for donor visits.
Get Prepared for Your Big Donor Meetings
Being fully prepared means that:
- You’ve done your homework and have learned about the person you are talking to
- You know what you want to accomplish in the meeting
- You’ve planned the meeting so you know who is doing what
- You’ve prepared relevant questions to ask your donor
- You are able to listen well enough to alter the meeting flow to fit the donor’s interests
A campaign brochure doesn’t help with any of that.
You’ve got to handle your largest donors carefully.
You should be prepared and organized and professional. You should know what you want out of the meeting and if it’s a solicitation meeting, what you might ask them for. But mostly, you should be ready to learn about your donor and ask their advice.
That, my friend, is very different from going in with a polished sales pitch and a fancy brochure.
So ditch the idea of a brochure for the quiet phase of your campaign when you solicit your largest donors. You won’t need one for your campaign until the public phase, if then.
Instead, prepare thoroughly for your donor meetings.
If Not a Brochure, What?
So what should you bring with you, if not a brochure?
You might bring a discussion draft of your case for support. Or if you’ve developed one of Nick Fellers’ amazing donor engagement graphics, bring that.
In fact, you can find more information about both of these tools, here:
In this webinar entitled, “Have Great Donor Conversations: For Impact Engagement Tool,” Nick explains the finer points of his remarkable Donor Engagement Tool. This simple graphic illustration of your case for support provides you with a seamless guide for your conversations with donors. Learn how to create and the best ways to use this tool to guide donor conversations.
By signing up, you will also qualify for a discount on the brand new online Case for Support course that we’ll be releasing next week!