Don't Start a Major Fundraising Campaign Without This!
I am a firm believer that regardless of the campaign potential uncovered, the valuable insight from key leaders (and the cultivation opportunity if an organization is willing to truly heed advice) is worth its weight in gold.
Through studies, we have helped clients avoid disasters and uncover potential that they did not realize they had.
Now, back to our case study. Our friends wanted a campaign reset without a study. They shared that they know what their donors want (then why is their campaign stalled after two years?). The materials? Well, they just spent six months revising them (into a two-year campaign), so that is off the table.
Our discussion then focused on what they really wanted. A plan? Yes. They realize that they do not have a road map or the research to tailor a plan to their unique circumstances. And, the campaign has been executed against best practices.
It really pains me to see campaigns not executed properly.
In a few similar situations, we have successfully conducted mini-studies and wrapped that process into the campaign plan development. But the client has made the commitment to the research — and openness to acting on it.
Since we passed on this opportunity, this leaves our friends looking at two firms that will gladly inherit the campaign on the client's terms. (They are firms that also conduct studies. I've found this hard to rationalize how someone would feel research is vital in some situations and not in others.)
If you are looking at a major fundraising campaign, please take the proper steps to be prepared. Include a research and cultivation phase that gives you the information needed to maximize the opportunity and fulfill your potential!
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.