Practical Advice for Modern Fundraisers

THOUGHT·FUL

adjective\ˈtht-fəl\

: serious and quiet because you are thinking: done or made after careful thinking   : done or made after careful thinking: showing concern for the needs or : showing concern for the needs of feelings of other people

Does your audience need a fancy case study? 

When you start a major campaign be it an Endowment Campaign or a Capital Campaign do you need a fancy case study and all of the surrounding materials.  Well, it depends, in my opinion.   I was working with an organization that had a very senior and very wealth board the average time on the board was 20 years.  Now, I am not saying this was the best situation, but it was what we were working with, in this case. 

When you start a major campaign be it an Endowment Campaign or a Capital Campaign do you need a fancy case study and all of the surrounding materials.  Well, it depends, in my opinion.   I was working with an organization that had a very senior and very wealth board the average time on the board was 20 years.  Now, I am not saying this was the best situation, but it was what we were working with, in this case. 
When it came time create a leadership committee for their campaign we had to decide how much material the committee needed about the organization.  Obviously, it would be insulting to lecture to a senior board member about the mission and vision of the organization or to explain why the money is needed.  But they did need something. 

So we developed a one-pager written for an insider.  We briefly reviewed the history of the organization, its significant accomplishment and the why.  We spent most of the time on the "why."  Since as board members they should clearly understand the "why" we wrote it with reinforcing language - "As you know," "Becuase of your previous efforts," and "Understanding the future needs." In this way, we could instruct without taking the chance of insulting.  

We treated this document as a supplement to our committee meetings and face-to-face meetings.  The board members appreciated having a takeaway. More importantly, we knew we had given the committee and the board the information they needed about the campaign in multiple forms. 


This document also served as the outline for a full case for support. It also allowed us to try different ideas during the quiet phase.  Since the material was not a big design piece, we could make changes on the fly.


This might not work for every organization planning a major capital or endowment campaign, but it is worth thinking about.

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