This post was inspired by my reading of Jim Langley of Langley Innovations’s books on fundraising.
“If I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe.” – Abraham Lincoln.
This sentiment specifically applies to vice presidents for advancement when planning, launching and implementing capital and comprehensive campaigns. They create a culture of giving, increase gift size and improve gift productivity by playing these five crucial roles:
Embrace the Right Mindsets & Skillsets
- Understand the distinctions and relationships between strategic planning, advancement, development and fundraising.
- Know the difference between capital campaigns and comprehensive campaigns, and deploy them appropriately.
- Understand student and alumni appreciation for the faculty, staff and the institution.
- Possess the skillset and experience in not only planning and launching a campaign but also sustaining complex operations in the field for a number of years.
Lay the Groundwork
- Know whether alumni truly believe that the value of their degree far exceeded the cost of their education.
- Understand the appreciation and engagement of the institution by parents, corporations, nonprofits and government institutions.
- Have already deployed practices that instill student, alumni and donor loyalty, engagement and volunteerism.
- Go beyond obvious prospects. Develop deep constituent engagement throughout the campaign and beyond to create a richer pipeline of purpose-driven prospects.
- Build greater philanthropic capacity through various means of affiliation.
- Begin with a detailed campaign plan that includes strategy, people, process, tactics, tools and milestones to implement a successful campaign.
- Build a strong case statement with three foundational components: problem, solution and impact.
- Shape a compelling vision with input and consultation with board members, presidents, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the institution.
Recruit and Train Allies
- Identify faculty and staff champions for each initiative.
- Identify potential lead donors for each campaign priority.
- Implement volunteer management plans.
- Train the advancement team and board members for advocacy.
Perfect Campaign Operations
- Oversee creation of high fidelity, high impact, proof based, imaginative and endearing marketing assets.
- Customize appeals for major donors, women donors, entrepreneurial donors, legacy donors, corporate donors and foundation donors.
- Equip major gift officers with donor intelligence including biography, organizational loyalties, giving history, and their passions and personal values.
- Orchestrate all activities of the fundraising team, campaign chair, planning committee, steering committee, board members, and volunteers.
- Test with pilot initiatives, and then scale the campaign.
- Give ample time for the campaign to succeed.
- Collect all pledges.
- Thank donors graciously and provide periodic progress/accountability reports.
In the next blog post, I’ll share the characteristics of a successful capital and comprehensive campaign.
Learn more about Elliance philanthropic marketing services.