Annual Campaigns

The Annual campaign may be the most common fundraising effort among nonprofit organizations. It exist primarily to offset the shortfall in income knows as the operating deficit. While principally a small-gifts campaign, an annual campaign may also solicit major donors and even some grant-making organizations for larger gifts.

In many ways the annual campaign is the bedrock of an organization’s fundraising efforts. That’s true in part because the breadth of outreach incorporated into the typical annual campaign makes it an important component of donor recruitment and retention. The annual campaign also gives an organization the opportunity to build a base of volunteer fundraisers and leaders it can then call upon for endowment and capital campaigns.

The annual campaign pays off in three ways.  It reduces an organization’s operating deficit, helps build and maintain an organizational commitment to fundraising, and recruits and sustains a base of committed supporters.


Articles about Annual Campigns

Consulting Agreement for an
Annual Fund Campaign

The following example of an annual fund development agreement between a non-profit organization and a fund-raising consultant is suggested as a guideline for: Organizations having little or no experience in drafting such documents. Experienced development professionals beginning a new career as development consultants. There may be occasions when a contract more formal in its nature, intricate in its wording, and legalistic in its phraseology is needed. However, my experience has been that simpler is better This sample annual fund agreement can be easily adapted for capital, endowment, sponsorship, and underwriting campaigns. The purpose of the fund-raising campaign and some of its jargon might be different, but for the most part, the steps in the fund-raising process are the same. That can be confirmed by reviewing my website’s articles and plan outlines for those respective fund-raising campaigns. A good campaign plan must layout what is to be done, when it will be done, and who will do it. The same is true of an agreement between an organization and a consultant. Clearly defined and agreed-upon expectations are at the heart of any successful contract. Contract Between Fund-raising Consultant and Non-Profit Organization for Counsel for an Annual Fund Campaign Introduction Annual fund campaign gifts to the Non-Profit Organization (NPO) provide the entry point of support for most of its donors. Annual funds comprise the foundation of the NPO’s overall operating support, and they are the steppingstones to special and major gifts. As personal contacts by NPO volunteers with donors continue, those donors are made more and more a part of the NPO family through a process of cultivation. As a result,... read more

Cultivate a “Grass-Roots” Fund-Raising
Campaign for Your Organization

Many non-profit organizations serve individuals who pay very little or who are unable to pay anything in the way of fees for the services they receive. They generally are in no position to give even the smallest donation to their organizations’ annual fund. In all instances those client/user groups are grateful for the good being done for them and their families. They quite often ask if they can do anything within their power and means to show appreciation to their service organizations since they have no money to give to them. Leaders of those non-profits want to know how best they can respond when at the times the people whom they serve say, “I know you need money and I want to help. Is there anything I can do?” I have found many such individuals were able to solicit small donations from their immediate family members, other relatives, friends, co-workers, and from other sources personal to them. They responded well to plans presented to them by their organizations’ development officers and trustees. Perhaps your organization can do the same by employing a model of such a program I have used a number of times with success. However, you should present the idea only when your clients or users of your programs and services enthusiastically volunteer their support. And, most important, you must be absolutely certain there is not even the slightest misperception that the quality and frequency of the services they receive from your organization are at all influenced whether or not they engage in fund-raising activities. Some Non-Profit Organizations Have Successfully Adapted This Type Of Campaign Individuals enrolled... read more

Annual Campaigns: Once a Year Every Year

An annual campaign is best described as a campaign conducted each and every year for the purpose of raising money to assist in paying a non-profit organization’s regular, ongoing expenses. The money it raises is most commonly used to offset an operational deficit, but it can be applied to any purpose. The annual campaign is usually an organization’s primary source of unrestricted contributed income and should be a mainstay of its fund-raising efforts. The goals of any annual campaign ought to include: Stimulating the contribution of unrestricted funds Raising an awareness and acceptance of the organization and its responsibility to raise money Developing a base of knowledgeable volunteers Cultivating prospects for future giving Every non-profit organization with a need to raise contributed income should have an annual campaign which it conducts every year. Use the chart below to help estimate an obtainable goal. For each source of annual fund income, list the previous year’s achievement, identify what portion of that income will not be repeatable, and estimate expected new gifts and increases. From this information you should be able to project the total amount of contributions that can be realistically achieved. For Fiscal Year ______ Annual Fund Campaign Evaluation & Goal Executing a well-conceived annual campaign allows an organization to build a predictable base of support and provides a pool of proven donors for other fund-raising efforts. The vast majority of individual donors give their first contribution to an organization through its annual campaign. Repeat contributors to annual campaigns become an identified group of loyal and established givers—a constituency. Their record of contribution shows a care and concern for... read more

Annual Fund Giving & Getting
Guidelines for Trustees

All of your organization’s fund-raising campaigns must have the leadership and the financial support of your Board of Trustees. The most important of those development efforts should be the raising of funds necessary to maintain and enhance your organization’s programs and services year after year. This is accomplished through the Annual Fund Campaign. The annual fund provides the “bedrock” of reasonably predictable renewed support and is the entry-level for larger gifts possible for future endowment, capital, sponsorship and underwriting campaigns and planned giving programs. Thus, the annual fund especially requires that your trustees be in the forefront as they contribute their own funds and as they personally raise other money. To successfully raise money externally, you must first raise money internally, and that starts with your board. Principal Guidelines Know the giving capability of each of your trustees. Each trustee should be rated and evaluated for his or her best giving potential in the same way other non-board individuals are rated and evaluated for their suggested giving to the annual fund campaign. You always seek a realistically large—hopefully the maximum—potential gift from each of your trustees. A minimum gift requirement to be a trustee is usually not a good idea. The minimum amount could be more than some trustees are capable of giving who can provide other, non-financial, benefits to your organization. It is necessary to have as many trustees as possible on your board who have the potential to to make significant financial contributions. However, you should also encourage and accommodate a select and controlled number of others who, while they are not as financially able as the... read more