A year ago, the future scope of the pandemic was just coming into focus, and many nonprofit organizations were just starting to consider how this might impact their work, especially as it pertained to fundraising. Tough choices were being made about whether or not to move ahead with plans for major gift campaigns.

Many of those who decided to postpone plans are beginning to chart a new path forward. As part of this process, nonprofits should not overlook the importance of proper planning, and the time required to execute campaigns appropriately.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure you are prepared for a campaign:

Plan ahead.

It can be difficult simply to pick up where you left off. Allow the proper time needed to evaluate your current position and consider what your needs are to move forward with a successful major gifts campaign. This may take a few weeks or it may take a few months, but don’t rush into a campaign unprepared; and consider enlisting experienced, objective professionals to guide the discussion.

Engage in a pre-campaign study.

As you evaluate your needs, it will be important to develop or, at least, update your case for support to make sure it’s current. Be sure you understand the current landscape and your community’s desire to support your campaign. A pre-campaign study will reveal your true potential and capacity for fundraising. This important assessment takes time, so plan accordingly. For example, if you want to start a campaign in the fall, the study needs to take place this summer.

Set a realistic campaign timeline.

A pre-campaign study will also help you determine the appropriate timeline. A well-planned timeline helps manage expectations, and allows time for recruiting campaign leadership, developing the infrastructure, and broadening your donor base.

Avoid rushing through or skipping important steps to prepare for a successful campaign by using sound fundraising practices and proper planning. What you do before a campaign is as important as any other campaign activities.

Ross Pfannenstiel
Executive Vice President

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