Co-authored by Executive Vice President Kate Roosevelt
Our Northwest team recently celebrated four decades of service to the region and retired the Collins Group name. In the midst of these milestones, we met with our colleagues to discuss what sets wildly successful organizations apart. From these discussions, we distilled our time-tested best practices to help you create and sustain meaningful impact—during your next campaign and beyond.
Read on for our top 10 recommendations for planning and executing breakthrough campaigns. In the weeks ahead, we will be talking with our Northwest nonprofit partners and inviting them to share—in their own words—their campaign experiences and learnings. Stay tuned and be inspired!
Share your passion and earn your reputation as the best organization to meet top community priorities. You may start off being the community’s best kept secret, but that won’t position you to attract the staff, board, campaign leaders, and donors you need to advance your mission. Effective executive spokespersons can position you for success.
Build an organizational culture that attracts and retains talented board members and senior leadership, ready to be challenged and grow as your vision is realized and your organization reaches the next level.
Demonstrate sound business planning and community ROI to build confidence in your exciting plans and contingencies where they may be needed.
Convey an exciting and memorable campaign vision that your staff and volunteers can share in their own words. Inspire your prospects as you articulate what the campaign makes possible, and engage them in making your case theirs. As the campaign moves forward, communicate effectively with both longtime supporters and new prospects.
Implement a solid campaign operating plan and supporting systems. Monitor progress and make adjustments as needed to stay on track and build momentum. Be strategic—analyze results and adjust tactics as needed.
Develop plans and strategies that will capitalize your organization’s long-term growth. The most impactful campaigns do more than secure funding for new facilities—they also help solidify financial sustainability, launch new initiatives, and expand your base of loyal supporters. A comprehensive or multi-faceted campaign may be your best approach.
Set stretch campaign goals that you can achieve. Take advantage of professional counsel, donor analytics, and prospect research. Apply best practices in donor engagement and devote the time and effort required for success.
Engage passionate volunteers who will become your campaign’s heroes. Volunteers are the spark that help good campaigns become great ones. Support and inspire them to advocate for the campaign and share their influence and connections.
Make your donors feel important and appreciated. Effectively steward your donors. This means listening to their needs, understanding what inspires them, adapting to new giving vehicles, using preferred communication channels, keeping in touch frequently, and knowing when to ask—and when to ask again.
Stay the course. Campaigns challenge organizations and all the individuals involved. Some will not believe the goals are truly possible. Support your staff and move to fill any vacancies quickly. Should a major leadership change or threat arise, get help with crisis communications or planning. Stay confident and positive as you advance toward fulfilling your vision and overall goals.
Check back for deeper insights in each of these areas as we share the personal experiences of our partner organizations. It is our hope that these success stories empower and encourage you as you ponder taking on big visions and ambitious fundraising goals.