Capital Campaigns in Challenging Times
Smart Moves in Turbulent Times
Tip 1: Communicate often. Keep it brief and personal.
Tip 2: Offer opportunities to:
- Handwritten notes and correspondence.
- Thank you calls from board members and senior staff.
- Personalized reports on how their gift was used and what was accomplished.
- And, of course, newsletters, press clippings, articles, notices of media coverage.
Tip 3: Follow Up.
- Join a special, targeted working group.
- Attend a small, invitation-only talk, tour, class, rehearsal, opening...
- Be a member of an action-oriented advisory/affinity group.
- Timing is critical. After events, tours, and special gatherings, call the next day to arrange a meeting or phone conversation.
- Ask questions about their take on the event they attended or the material they read.
- Encourage frank comments and solicit ideas for improvement.
- Ask them to pitch in and make something happen incorporating their good ideas, if appropriate.
- Send information and arrange meetings they asked for right after you talk.
- Be professional, polite, and engaging, but be persistent.
Raising Money…The Smart Way
Tip 1: Identify and analyze your competition. Then…
Tip 2: Strive for perfection.
- Sharpen your story. Separate your organization from the pack.
- Dramatize your special strengths and accomplishments.
- Be specific about actions and outcomes.
Tip 3: Shine the Spotlight.
- Thank donors within 48 hours.
- Update donor records immediately.
- Regularly check the internet and newspapers for career promotions, charitable donations, board memberships, and obituaries.
- Don't settle for letter/newsletter relationships. Ensure personal contact with major donors and prospects a minimum of twice a year - calls, events, private meetings, tours, briefings.
- Don't settle for reworking last year's letters and proposals.
- How are your programs different or unique?
- What is exciting right now?
- Do you connect to the news? Do you have a story hook?
- How will recent program breakthroughs open future possibilities for your community or program participants?
- Which constituencies, which people matter to your work? Link their interests to your news.
Firing Up Your Board
Tip 1: Make It Stick.
Tip 2: Facilitate Effectiveness.
- Before presenting prospects for election, be certain they fully understand and accept the financial and other requirements.
- Facilitate a lively discussion of board responsibilities and expectations. Formally adopt a statement. Ask board members to sign it. Review the statement every two or three years.
- Lead by example. First, the board chair and the officers must give generously. And then, personally ask the other members for their annual and event gifts.
Tip 3: Get them to attend meetings.
- Train and coach. Hold at least one solicitation training a year. Ask experienced members to help train. Provide solicitation strategy and coaching, as requested, before every phone and in-person solicitation.
- Provide outstanding staff support to volunteers — letters, donor/prospect histories and research, appeal notes and mailings, talking points, and reminders.
Tip 4: Build a working team.
- Send materials well in advance.
- Have a program participant or staff member present at every meeting.
- Call everyone two or three days in advance to confirm attendance. Email a reminder the day of the meeting.
- Pair new board members with enthusiastic, productive veterans.
- Put every trustee to work on a committee or task force that can use their particular skills, expertise, and interests. Assign issues and tasks that are challenging and vital.
- Define milestones and work products. Set high standards of performance.
- Never stop saying thank you individually, and publicly recognizing the team's work.
Visit the Washburn Carmichael website regularly for more tips.
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