If you don't know where you're going, it's kind of hard
4. Present investment opportunities from the prospects' perspective.
5. Talk about opportunity, not needs.
Once the case statement is in&003; place, Falk stresses, it's essential that everyone in the organization -- from the president and board members to the folks who write the literature and answer the phones -- are on board and can speak knowledgeably and confidently about the campaign, whether at a formal presentation or at a cocktail party, on paper or on the 10th green.
Equally important is that all communication from the organization a) coherently reflect the case statement and b) do so consistently, with the same look and language.
The best campaign communications, Falk advises:
1.Build understanding of the institution's vision and mission.
2. Show donors how their gifts will make a difference.
3. Answer the questions that are on donors' minds.
One good way to accomplish those goals, she says, is to build the case statement and campaign materials around information from current supporters. Any chance you get, ask them why they're involved with your organization, how they got involved, what is their perception of the organization and its future.
"You hear so many wonderful stories [when you talk with donors]," Falk says. "People love to talk about it, and you learn so much."
Responding to a question from the audience, Falk discussed also how communications with donors -- both formal and impromtu -- can help you gauge the success of various campaign themes, before you even roll them out. She shares the story of a children's hospital that had been named one of the top 10 in the country and was striving to make it into the top five.
Before the hospital got too far into a campaign that stressed that desire, communications with donors revealed that they just didn't "get" the significance of the designation and how it would make a difference in the care provided. Time to rethink the approach.