I know you’ll feel a huge surge of relief once you’re campaign goes over its goal. That pledge comes in that surges you over the top and you send a celebratory email out to the key people who have been working on your campaign.
We did it! The campaign has gone over goal!
You plan a round of congratulations and celebrations. And indeed, going over your goal is well worth celebrating.
But that special moment in your campaign is far from the end. It’s simply a transition to the next phase of your campaign — a phase we simply call Post-Campaign. And the better job you do of the Post-Campaign work, the more long-term benefits your campaign will yield.
Post-Campaign Work Yields Long-Term Benefits
Through the campaign, your organization became more skilled at major gift fundraising and with a bit of clear intention and planning, you can adapt the experience that staff and volunteers gained for your ongoing fundraising.
Donors gave larger gifts than they had before, and many of them pledged over several years. Now, in this post campaign period, you’ve got to communicate with them well throughout the pledge-period so they complete their gifts as promised.
Your campaign also involved powerful members of your community who had not been closely connected to your organization before the campaign. You must build on those important new relationships in a thoughtful way.
Finally, years from now, when your organization prepares for another campaign, but you and other staff members have moved on, the new staff will benefit from clear and complete records of this campaign. A well-documented history of what happened will help them as they design the next campaign.
5 Steps to Post-Campaign Success After Reaching Your Goal
Wrapping up your campaign in the right way will bring its full benefit to your organization. With that in mind, here are five steps to capitalize on your successful campaign.
1. Celebrate Success
Few things are more important than using the successful conclusion of your campaign to solidify and strengthen the relationships you have built by celebrating this remarkable achievement.
Usually though, by the end of the campaign, everyone is bone-tired, so it’s easy to neglect this final phase. But keep in mind that most people remember endings more than they remember the long slog from the beginning to the end. So, recognizing and celebrating your shared success will be what many donors and volunteers remember best.
2. Collect Pledges
Shortly after receiving each campaign commitment, you should have sent a letter to the donor thanking them for the gift and confirming the terms and payment period for their pledge. Now, at the conclusion of the campaign, you will face the challenge of collecting those pledge payments year after year.
Don’t think about these reminders as bills or invoices, but rather as project updates. Use regular touchpoints with donors to keep them engaged. The more transactional and invoice-like the process, the less satisfying it will be for the donor. After all, who likes receiving and paying bills? Giving should feel great!
Be sure you update the text for the pledge reminders frequently so that donors don’t get the same messages again and again.
3. Build on New Relationships
Many of your donors may have given more to this campaign than they had in the past. And, you may have identified new prospects across giving levels that you hadn’t known before.
This is one of the many benefits of conducting a successful campaign and will create the opportunity to grow your overall fundraising program.
Add these new prospects to your fundraising and volunteer plans for the future. Keep them updated as your organization implements the projects that the campaign helped fund. Invite them to serve on your gala committee or volunteer with your programs.
And when the time comes, ask them to give another gift to support the continued success of your organization.
4. Create a Final Campaign Report
At the conclusion of the campaign, create a final report. If your organization produces an annual report, you might combine your annual campaign reports into one document. Or you can create a separate, free-standing campaign report.
Send copies of the report to all of your campaign volunteers and donors so that they can see what they helped accomplish. Include information about the campaign and your campaign objectives, tying the money raised to outcomes and benefits.
In addition to the campaign report, create an internal record of your campaign that includes all of its details and materials for future reference. Your organization’s successors will thank you.
5. Evaluate Your Campaign
As a final step in your campaign, take the time to get feedback about the campaign from key staff and volunteers. While some organizations include this campaign evaluation as part of a consultant’s work, you can do it yourself.
First, schedule individual meetings with the top 10 to 15 campaign staff and volunteers to ask for feedback. Ask them a set of simple questions about their experience of and thoughts about the campaign.
When you have completed the interviews, write up a simple document summarizing the gist of what you have learned.
Distribute this summary to your organization’s leaders and discuss the lessons learned that might be applied in the future to the organization.
Campaign Follow Up is Also Campaign Preparation
If you think of capital campaigns as being a regular strategy for your fundraising program (i.e., a campaign mindset), you will come to realize that the follow-up process I’ve outlined above gets you ready for your next campaign.
The donors you drew close during your campaign and the period of their pledges may well become the leaders of your next campaign.
Explore the Capital Campaign Toolkit
The five steps in this post are taken directly from one of the many tools inside the Capital Campaign Toolkit.
To find out if the tools and services that come with the Toolkit could benefit your campaign, click here to explore the Toolkit and take a sneak peek inside.