Focus On: Capital Campaigns: Beyond Bricks and Mortar
Scarano: The tone of the letter is always, “Can you help us reach our goal?” Whether it’s the initial effort, a thank-you letter or a follow-up newsletter, we try to relate it back to the goal we’re trying to achieve. Then we do two newsletters a year, and both will have an update about the progress we are making with the capital campaign. Other than that, we’re staying with our regular mailing schedule, which includes nine appeal letters during a calendar year (including the two newsletters) and inviting donors to participate in two special events — a November calendar raffle and our annual golf tournament held in June.
Zumwalt: For follow-up, we’re planning some fairly targeted direct mail geared to communicating our needs for some softer projects. These mailings will take more of a high-education, warm-fuzzy approach, detailing our needs whether it be for new ICU beds or looking for support for our community outreach programs.
Also, we host an annual donor recognition dinner and included donors going back three years, so that brought a lot of the capital campaign donors out to get recognized at our dinner just as all of their pledges are maturing.
And we’re doing more with donor recognition, at all levels, for example, recognizing those employees who gave by payroll deduction based not on the dollars they gave but the hours committed that their gift represented. That way, every gift is recognized for the level of commitment without regard to pay rates.
Alicia Orr Suman is the former editor-in-chief of Target Marketing magazine, past editor of Catalog Success magazine and a freelance writer specializing in direct marketing. E-mail her at email@example.com.