Focus On: Capital Campaigns: Beyond Bricks and Mortar
Fundraisers who think that donors to a capital campaign wouldn’t be interested in supporting their organization otherwise often are missing out on a valuable funding source. Development personnel are finding that, like the old adage says, all ships do, indeed, rise with the tide.
Ongoing communication with donors following a capital campaign is essential to building the long-term capacity of a development program and, in turn, “sets the stage for subsequent campaigns to address other strategic organizational priorities,” says Mark J. Zachary, CFRE, senior vice president of Ketchum, a fundraising consulting firm based in Dallas and Pittsburgh. He adds that it’s vital to emphasize the genuine partnership that arises through gift support.
“Managing and reinforcing the long-term relationship dynamic is crucial,” he says, adding that keys to maintaining long-term relationships with capital donors include:
- Establishing ongoing communications tools such as periodic e-mail updates, written correspondence and project promotion through existing newsletters and publications. Messaging should be tailored for the appropriate sub-constituent audience (e.g. faculty/staff, trustees, medical staff, top donors, general public, etc.).
- Staging an ongoing series of recognition/reporting events, especially for top-level donors who will be particularly interested in seeing the first-hand status and benefits of the project.
- Involving donors, especially top-level subscribers, with various program committees when appropriate to reinforce their ongoing bond with the institution. “A trend with the new generation of donors is an interest in taking a first-hand role during the implementation phase of things,” Zachary says.
- Actively promoting generous donor support through a well-defined donor recognition program, with special annual events and periodic reporting.
All of these strategies will help your organization avoid the trap of isolating capital campaign donors into being one-time givers of big gifts.
Now hear from representatives of three non-profit organizations about how they’ve worked to integrate capital campaign donors into their continuing giving programs.