Capital Campaigns: Fundraising Strategy for Nonprofits
Strategic campaign fundraising is typically dependent on the structure of your capital campaign gift pyramid and your understanding of your donors. Once you’ve structured your gift pyramid, and you begin approaching existing and potential donors, it’s important to balance your need to procure gifts with your ability to connect with your donors. But, how do you effectively communicate with existing or potential donors? Here are three fundraising strategies for your nonprofit to use during the campaign fundraising process.
The primary fundraising strategy for all nonprofits when carrying out a capital campaign is sequential solicitation. Sequential solicitation is a guide, outlining the order in which you should receive gifts from lead donors to meet your campaign fundraising goal.
It’s important to secure your largest gifts first, and then work your way down the gift table, receiving smaller gifts towards the end of your capital campaign. Once you’ve achieved 50 to 70% of your goal (which you should complete during the Silent Phase), you can then make your capital campaign public and receive gifts from the community you’re serving.
Although campaign stalls can stem from internal campaign issues, such as an overworked staff, the most common reason is the failure to follow sequential solicitation. This is based on the four axioms of campaign fundraising:
- The ten largest gifts set the standard for the entire campaign
- Not following the top-down structure lowers giving sights across the board
- Extended solicitation at lower levels will not offset major gaps in upper ranges
- Once the first big gift sequence has been seriously violated, the entire program is in jeopardy
Approaching Potential Donors
Although the sequential solicitation model is in place, you may be wondering: how does it look in practice? Where do I start? That leads to our next fundraising strategy for nonprofits, which is an extension of sequential solicitation. Typically, there are 5 steps to sequential solicitation to help you approach potential donors:
- Inquire. First, you want to build a prospect list, or leverage Wealth data, to identify the right people who can provide funding to your campaign. Once you’ve identified potential donors, it’s important to conduct external and internal research to assess each group or individuals capacity and propensity to give.
- Plan. Once you’ve identified and researched potential donors, it’s time to figure out how you’ll engage with your donors. Besides outlining your intentions and goal, ask yourself: what aspect of the campaign would appeal to them? Is this appealing enough to gain their commitment?
- Cultivate. Now that you’ve considered the ways in which your donor might contribute to your goal, it’s time to probe. By bringing your potential donor closer to your cause, you’re able to show them what you’re doing and what you’re intending to do. In doing so, they may end up committed to your work and want to help.
- Procure and Secure. The time has come to explicitly request support and secure the contribution from your donor. If your donor has decided contributed, it’s your responsibility to follow up on the details in receiving the contribution. How much is the proposed donation? When the donation will be mad?; How will it be made?
- Express Gratitude. You’ve planned, engaged your donor, and have received your gift. Now what? It’s imperative to acknowledge the importance of your donor’s contribution, and their influence on your work at large. By creating a connection with them, and expressing your appreciation not only for their contribution but of them as an individual or organization, your donor may feel inclined to give later on.
Appealing to the Motivations of Donors
Our final fundraising strategy for nonprofits is identifying, understanding, and acting upon the motivations of donors. Now that you’ve structured a way to collect gifts, and how you can successfully approach potential donors, it’s important to understand the motivations of your donors. Generally, there are four types of motivations:
- Philanthropy. Donors with philanthropic motivations want to help change the world.
- Connection. Donors motivated by affinity are those who wish to be connected to a cause that has similar values to their own.
- Reciprocity. Donors motivated by mutual benefit seek to help organizations that will, in return, provide them with some advantage.
- Social Consciousness. Donors with social motivations don’t simply want to contribute to a cause. They want to be part of a community.
By identifying their values, you’re able to create targeted messaging or find other ways to effectively communicate with donors. Not only will this help you with your existing or inherited campaign, but depending on the connection you forge with other groups or individuals, they may feel inclined to support and contribute to future projects of yours.
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