There are many types of campaigns in fundraising. Capital campaigns, annual campaigns, capacity campaigns, and comprehensive campaigns — just to name a few. And you’ll learn about each one later in this post.
Capital campaign strategy is simply best-practice fundraising on steroids.
The good news is that you don’t have to wait until you need a new building to have a serious and meaningful fundraising campaign.
8 Reasons Why Campaigns Supercharge Your Fundraising
Here are eight reasons why campaign strategy supercharges and multiplies your fundraising efforts — and the results of those efforts.
- Campaigns provide an opportunity to engage and build stronger relationships with donors.
- Campaigns create a sense of urgency.
- Campaigns force focus on a big vision for the future and an opportunity to develop a strong case for support.
- Campaigns require staff and volunteers to ask for gifts in an organized way and in a specific order. (Largest donors and those closest to your organization are asked first.)
- Campaigns demand increased board engagement and giving.
- Campaigns provide an opportunity to grow planned gifts, as well as an opportunity to build an endowment fund.
- Campaigns help build capacity — such as infrastructure, systems, and technology.
- Campaigns provide structure and a specific plan — including a timeline and budget — for fundraising.
For all of these reasons and more, utilizing a campaign strategy can catapult your fundraising and your organization to the next level.
2 Key Reasons NOT to Have a Campaign
Before we dive into the different types of campaigns you should consider, it’s important to understand that you shouldn’t simply have a campaign for the sake of having a campaign. In other words, there are some reasons not to launch a campaign.
1. A Milestone Anniversary
Unfortunately, an anniversary is not a good reason to have a campaign.
Simply because your organization is celebrating 25, 50 or even 100 years, your anniversary is not an adequate reason to have a campaign. First, a milestone birthday is not motivating for donors. Second, an anniversary simply reflects on what you’ve done in the past.
In short — an anniversary looks back. A campaign looks forward.
2. To Build the Endowment
Another reason not to have a campaign is to build your endowment, even if your board members think it’s a great idea. It’s not. For the same reasons mentioned above, an endowment campaign is simply not motivating to donors.
So with those caveats addressed, what is the best reason to have a campaign?
The Best Reason to Have a Campaign
A bold vision — If your organization identifies a special need or opportunity which will get you closer to your mission (by expanding your ability to provide meaningful programs and services), it’s time for a campaign.
5 Different Kinds of Campaigns to Accommodate Your Needs
Campaigns come in all shapes and sizes. At any given point in your fundraising timeline, you should either be in the midst of a campaign or be considering an upcoming campaign, depending on your current needs.
- Annual Campaigns raise money for annual needs like ongoing programs and services, rent or mortgage, salaries, utilities and more. Annual campaigns help fund organizational annual budgets.
- Mini-Campaigns are short-term, guided efforts to raise a specific, relatively small amount of money (around $100k – $500k) for a special, one time need.
- Capacity Campaigns are opportunities to build an organizations capacity. This could include technology, infrastructure, start-up programs, marketing and branding, and building your endowment.
- Capital Campaigns are often associated with a new building or major renovation. Of course, these also double as capacity campaigns, because they help build an organization’s capacity too.
- Comprehensive Campaigns is sort of like the umbrella that covers everything above. A comprehensive campaigns indicates a special, multi-year effort — including your annual fund.
Campaigning Over Time
The graphic below shows how you might consider advancing your fundraising over time and scope through three different campaigns launched at regular intervals.
In order to truly grow your organization, and your fundraising capabilities, you should be thinking about your next campaign (or two).
Could You Be Ready for a Capital Campaign?
The big mountain in that graphic above looks intimidating. A capital campaign is the height of your fundraising. And it can be difficult to assess whether your organization is truly ready to scale those heights. Download our free readiness assessment to find out.
In addition, our campaign experts would be glad to discuss your future campaign plans with you. Apply here for a free strategy session — we’d love to meet you!