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Chapter Leadership Brief 3.15.19

Chapter Leadership Brief 3.15.19

By Steve Jacobson, AFP-NYC President-Elect

As we head into spring, many a development director (and their boards!) may be turning attention to thoughts of a new campaign.  It could be a large, multi-year capital campaign or a smaller, but critical, annual fund campaign.  Regardless, behind every fundraising campaign, the key factors to success are lots of research, planning, and… internal persuasion(!). If you want to see results, remember to ask yourself and your colleagues the following questions before you start:

1. What do we want to achieve? Have we set specific goals that are centered around our supporters or potential supporters?

First of all, agree on your goals and objectives. Make sure they are supporter-focused, specific, and measurable. But remember to keep the bigger picture in mind: does your plan fit with the wider strategic goals and the mission of your organization?

2. Are we ready to do this as an organization?

Make sure you have all the time and resources you need to execute your campaign properly. There’s no point in planning one-on-one meetings with major gift prospects if the right people on your team don’t have time in their schedules to attend. And, you won’t want to collect reams of data if you don’t have a robust system in which to store and analyze it.

3. Do we have all the necessary systems in place to measure success?

You might decide to run an email campaign to migrate one-off donors into a recurring gift program, for example. Have you identified your target segments and set up a way to measure conversions? Will your email marketing platform and CRM work together to allow you to import metrics back into your donor records?

4. Are the right people onboard?

You’ve identified everyone who will need to give their time and expertise to the project. Have you told them exactly what you’re planning, what you’ll need from them and when you’ll need it? Make sure the proper deadlines and meetings have been set in place.

5. Do we have the budget approved to complete the project in its entirety?

This might sound obvious, but are you sure you’ve budgeted for the entire project? If you’re conducting donor/prospect research or audience segmentation, for example, remember you’ll need money to implement any changes to the way you fundraise when you have your results.

6.Have we set a realistic timeframe?

Have you planned your schedule and made sure that it’s realistic? Have you checked for holidays in your calendar or for other big projects that might consume a significant amount of time? Make sure your timeframe includes these factors, as well as buffer time to account for the inevitable hiccups.

7. Have we agreed how we’ll measure success?

Did you determine the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you will use to accurately track the success of your campaign? It’s also essential to assign an individual or group to regularly report on the metrics you need to be tracking throughout the campaign. Simply reporting on everything once the campaign is finished won’t be enough.

8. Have we collected, or set up a way to collect, the data we need to measure our achievements?

Once you have determined the metrics, did you set up processes to track the data needed for those metrics? Is everyone on the same page with how this data will need to be tracked and where this data will be recorded? It’s crucial to clarify these processes from the beginning, so you’re not scrambling to extract the data from multiple different systems at the end of your campaign.

As you can see, a successful campaign takes a lot of planning and great teamwork.  Speaking of “working” together, I hope that you will join us at our next chapter event: “AFP-NYC Emerging Leaders Spring Happy Hour” on April 4th from 6pm to 8pm at The Liberty NYC.  See you there!

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