Be Specific!

The Campaign Principle

The best way to be successful with any fundraising campaign is to be specific. Put another way, the essential principle of any campaign which achieves or exceeds its goal is that it answers these three questions:

  1. Why is the money necessary?
  2. How much money is required for the project?
  3. When will the campaign be completed?

Let’s consider each one individually.

Why is the money necessary?

Donors and volunteers want to know that the organization’s appeal for a significant pledge over a multiyear period is going for a project hey can support. Successful organizations have found that the more specific the project, purpose or cause is, the more appealing the case for support. The organization needs an intellectual, emotional and spiritual focus to give donors a feeling that the project is worth working for.

A well-researched and carefully written Case for Support is fundamental to enlisting the involvement of both donors and volunteers. It must both appeal to the intellect and evoke an emotional response. By demonstrating the project is worthwhile, your organization should easily answer this first question and help supporters understand why the money is necessary.

How much money is required for the project?

Some organizations will attempt to set the campaign goal by adopting the “let’s see how much we can raise” approach and embark on a path designed for less than successful results.
A more effective method is to set the goal at the beginning, clearly establishing a measure of success with a specific dollar amount. This approach allows for the creation of a Table of Giving standards, which assigns donation categories based upon the total goal. Volunteers will clearly understand how the goal can be reached and specific donors can be identified for targeted contribution amounts. A specific dollar goal will ultimately provide a clear measure of success and everyone involved will know when the job is finished.

When will the campaign be completed?

Another common mistake organizations make in planning capital campaigns is to answer questions about the duration of the campaign by stating “as long as it takes.” Put another way, they establish the goal, but do not define the time limits of the campaign period.

By establishing a specific Campaign Timetable, the organization creates a sense of urgency and is able to build and sustain momentum. Volunteers and donors will be more committed with a clearly defined end date on the horizon. The never-ending campaign grows stale and volunteers as well as donors will lose their enthusiasm as time elapses.

The Campaign Principle

Reduced to its bare essence, a capital campaign is defined as an effort to raise a specific amount of money, for a specific purpose, over a specific period of time. Each element of this formula is integral to the whole, and begins to lay the foundation of a corps of self-motivated volunteers and donors who will make your campaign a success. The campaign principle helps the prospective volunteer and donor define the task at hand and take action, so that your campaign operates through personal influence and persuasion, rather than coercion.

click here for pdf version: FRM63

For more on The Winning Campaign, The Essential Elements of Success, access Goettler Series Volume 11