Planning Model #4
Effective Campaign Planning
Capital campaigns should not be approached as isolated events; rather, they should be integrated into a comprehensive fundraising strategy that begins with the initial gift. Our three-lanes approach coordinates the efforts of a volunteer-driven new acquisition lane with a professionally-driven major gifts program, all intended to work towards the long-term success of a capital growth strategy in lane three. Our approach enables an organization to observe the entire process that begins with an initial gift and eventually arrives at a significant multi-year commitment. The third lane ensures that the organization maintains the greatest flexibility necessary for carefully and strategically responding to the most significant major gift opportunities.
The Effective Campaign Planning model demonstrates the tension inherent in the campaign success curve, the reality of the twelve-year spread, and when to "go to press" with the case for support. It has been my observation that the traditional two-phased approach to campaign planning results in an over-emphasis on the two book-end categories of donors – those giving very large gifts and those giving comparatively smaller ones. This tendency often neglects to make the necessary investment in developing the two middle categories of donors which is also where we tend to see the campaign later lag in performance. This lag in the middle categories can easily account for a 20-30% shortfall in achieving your goal. We have also observed that the two-phased process is overly-reliant on paid professionals in the first half and, in contrast, overly reliant on volunteers in the second half. Our goal is to balance the contributions of professional staff with volunteers throughout the entire campaign.