Focus On: Capital Campaigns: Beyond Bricks and Mortar
Zumwalt: For the capital campaign, a Steering Committee had been formed of $100,000-plus donors. After the campaign, the Steering Committee became our new Major Gifts Committee. We’re working on some new projects now that will try to cultivate the donors from the capital campaign into a longer-term relationship with us.
FS: What types of communications media have you found work best with capital campaign donors — and how will this factor into your future communications with them?
Clark: Of the $4 million in large gifts, $3.9 million were generated in some part by face-to-face meetings. Going forward, we want [to continue] that personalized contact. It’ll take some retraining for our staff to think about personal face-to-face contact, but it’s a great opportunity for us to think out of the box, get out of the building and continue growing the great relationships that have already been planted.
Scarano: The telephone is a very effective tool in making personal contacts with donors. I call to say a personal thank you, or if I know I am going to be in the area of a long-time supporter or major donor and want to plan a visit or at least call them. It doesn’t have to be a $1,000 donor to make that personal contact, because making the call is a simple way to say thanks.
Zumwalt: For soliciting large gifts to the capital campaign, we did almost no direct mail; it was almost all through face-to-face solicitation using volunteers.
FS: When it comes to creative strategy for capital campaigns and also for follow-up efforts to these important donors, what tactics are used?
Clark: We’re going to keep up ongoing communication with them, so that even in a year in which they’re not able to give, or have other charitable commitments, they feel a part of the family and then perhaps will think of giving again the next year. I hope that we’ll be able to convert some of the $100,000-$1 million donors to an ongoing relationship where they’ll give every year or two or three, a gift of maybe $5,000.