Let me ask you a question: do you want to execute a successful fundraising campaign?
Stupid question, right?
Whether you’re raising money for a missions venture, a new building, land, expansion, or community outreach, you want to do it quickly and successfully. You don’t want to drag it along month after month until people are sick and tired of hearing you talk about it.
We’ve seen good campaigns. We’ve seen bad ones.
The succesful ones ALWAYS point toward creating a calendar.
Why? Because a calendar will set you up and propel you to raise a lot of money quickly.
- A calendar creates comfort for you and your donors.
- It creates the parameters for you to take inventory of the things you need.
- It sets the pace for your fundraiser.
- It reduces stress. It breaks seemingly overwhelming tasks into manageable chunks.
- It helps you to spread out your passion over time, preventing you from burning out or giving up.
When we mention “campaigns,” by the way, we’re not talking about campaigning at a presidential-election level. That’s too long of a process.
We're talking about a clearly defined season of time, designated for you to raise money. You create the start date and finish date. The first and fourth quarter. The kickoff and the final whistle. The dial and the hang-up. Okay, you get the idea.
Otherwise, you will be perpetually just asking and askign. And sadly, that almost always fails. Even if you’re in charge of raising operational expenses, salaries, or long-term financial needs, you still need to break it up into campaigns.
Here's why: without a campaign, you just come off as a money-hungry pastor.
And you know as well as me, the world doesn't need more of those.
So, create a calendar for raising money. People understand campaigns. They know that campaigns have start and end dates, so eventually, the asking-for-money will stop.
Campaigns represent focused energy. But you need to take the steps to make sure the focus is maximized. Choose the start and end dates to your campaign. Create a runway and a checklist. This will help you, your team, and your donors.
To successfully execute a campaign, it must have three phases.
Phase One: Before the Ask
Most people want to start raising money immediately. But you shouldn’t. Before you try to land the plane of raising money, you must prepare the runway.
- Write out your plan
- Network with people
- Meet with your board, staff, elders, etc.
- Gather contact info
- Write ALL your communication: letters, tweets, emails, texts, etc.
If you’re going to utilize design and technology (logos, websites, online giving, etc.), this is the time to get that stuff figured out.
There's a lot of busywork that comes with raising money. Do that before the big ask. Becuase once you launch your campaign, the donors (inside your congregation and out) should be your primary focus.
Phase Two: The Ask
Once you’ve prepared your runway, your vision is ready to land. Since you’ve prepped people ahead of time, they won’t be caught off guard by your ask. And they know your campaign has an ending point. Now people are ready to hear from you.
Within the specified time of your campaign, create small goals. One goal per day is a great start. For example, “I want to raise $100 by the end of day one.” Or, “By day two, we want to get to $300 with online giving.” Or both. Little goals will push you along. Put pressure on yourself—do whatever it takes—to reach those small goals. Before you know it, your campaign will be over and you will have reached your big goal!
Phase Three: After the Ask
Don’t go home yet. Your job isn’t over. In phase three, you need to park the plane at the terminal gate and take care of your passengers. This is where you send thank-you notes, update your donors on the outcome of the fundraiser, and follow through with people who mentioned giving, but didn’t.
You have to treat these people well, not just because you might want them to give again one day, but because it’s the right thing to do.
Out of all three phases, this one may be the most important.