Campaign Organization & Management

Common to all campaigns is the need for organization and management. The best campaign planning in the world will come to naught if the campaign is poorly executed or weakly managed.

Articles about Campaign Organization & Management

Accountability & Job Performance for Nonprofit Fundraisers

How and what development professionals are held accountable for are two of the most important questions nonprofit organizations and their fundraisers face. Accountability is a necessary tool for managing staff and fundraising efforts, but it is only as good as the foundation upon which it is built. Early in my career as a fundraiser I struggled in achieving the goals and actions for which I was being held accountable. I would work hard with the best of intentions. But when it came time for my bosses to tally up my successes and failures they saw me as falling short. The result was frustration. I kept trying to meet the standards—usually only a dollar amount to be raised—placed in front of me. Being chided for my failure to do so seemed to leave me with only two alternatives: Quit the field of fundraising because I was unsuited to be a professional development officer. Hang on and keep trying until I was able to move on to an organization where I might have better luck. The first of those choices would force me to accept that the problem lay solely within me. The second assumed that a different organization would yield a different result—that luck of the draw was the difference maker. I was not ready to give up on myself. Nor was I willing to relinquish control of my fate or my organization’s to a belief in luck. What if, I began to wonder, the fault lay not in what I was doing, but in the accountability metric? What if the criteria by which I was being judged lacked validity?... read more

Managing & Reporting
Fund-Raising Campaign Progress

How do you keep a fund-raising campaign on track? By being well organized, constantly monitoring progress, and informing all campaign participants of that progress. The very reason for the pyramidal structure of a campaign committee is to simplify management. In the best of circumstances, the pyramid is constructed so that no person supervises more than five people. (To maintain this limit is why we sometimes add campaign and divisional co-chairs.) Managing even the largest campaigns then becomes a matter of monitoring the progress of a limited number of small hierarchical units. Team captains track the efforts of solicitors, divisional chairs make sure that captains are on top of their teams, and the campaign chair keeps tabs on the divisions. However, this system works only if information moves upward quickly. You can’t fix a problem in a campaign unless you know there is a problem. The best way to make sure that information is being shared is to schedule monthly progress meetings .Attendees know they will be expected to report on their area of responsibility—what has been done, who has been contacted, how much money has been raised. The monthly progress meeting gives the campaign leaders a deadline by which they need to have their houses in order. It is unlikely that you would reconvene at these progress meetings everyone who attended the kick off meeting. The logistics are just too cumbersome. Unless the campaign leadership is an especially large group, the ideal progress meeting consists of the campaign chair, divisional chairs, team captains, the organization’s development person, and the development consultant, if one is being used. In really large... read more

Asking For The Money:
“If You Don’t Ask
You Don’t Get”

Generally, the first step in asking prospects to make a donation is to send them a letter. This is true no matter the type of campaign or potential size of gift. In the small-gifts division of an annual campaign the letter may be the only step, although I would recommend having it followed up by a telephone call, if at all possible. Even in door-to-door solicitations, a letter should be sent first announcing the date of, reason for, and, in most cases, the suggested amount of the request. In the case of larger gifts, the letter announces that a solicitor will be calling for an appointment. We refer to this kind of letter as the proposal letter because it proposes that the prospect become a donor to an organization. Proposal letters are usually signed either by the solicitor or by the campaign chair. In the case of the latter, the status and power of the chair are lent to what is essentially a request of the prospect to meet with a solicitor. If signed by the chair, you can also be sure the letters all went out by a specific time. This also forces solicitors to act by the time the letter says they will be calling for an appointment. However, not every solicitor will be able to make the initial calls in the same time frame. One or more solicitors may be out of town when the letter hits. Consequently, there is less likelihood of being in error as to when solicitors will be calling if the timing of proposal letters is left in the hands of the... read more