Show a Track Record of Success Before Embarking on a Major Campaign
If you are looking to embark on a major fundraising campaign, you must have a track record of success. This is a key ingredient in campaign preparation — even before a feasibility and planning study.
Donors want to know how you are uniquely qualified to accomplish your mission as well as your plans for the future.
Gone are the days when donors might respond to a program because it "touches lives." Today, donors are increasingly outcome-based. How are you measuring success? And yes, they want to know the cost of the program and the cost per participant.
I can recall one youth program at a YMCA. It had been run for years without question. Then one day, quietly at a board meeting, a board member began to do the math. For the cost per student of an after-school program, he shared, the Y could be sending the participants to one of the community's top-tiered independent schools. Wow! That sent the staff into a program definition and refining frenzy. The programs were quickly expanded to include more at-risk youths, and the model changed.
What are the indicators for success in your nonprofit's field? Be sure that you have the right factors and that you are tracking them. Ask someone outside your organization to review how you are tracking.
Donors want to invest in your cause and make a difference. However, they do want to know that you will make wise decisions with their investments. Success isn't overnight — track what matters, show progress, show your success, and share this great news with investors and potential investors!
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.