One of the most common questions we get about capital campaigns is whether they will (or won’t) cannibalize the annual fund. And, if your organization relies on the annual fundraising to support your operating budget, that’s a question you should be wondering about.
After all, in the capital campaign, you are going to ask your donors — the very same donors who give to you year after year — for big gifts to the capital campaign.
Is it reasonable to assume that those donors will continue with their annual gifts even during the years they give generously to the campaign?
Donor Investment Reports Help Alleviate Donor Confusion
We see in campaign after campaign that if you take good care of your donors and explain to them that you’re asking for a campaign gift that’s over and above their annual fund gift, donors respond positively.
But for a donor, having multiple commitments to your organization — often with outstanding pledges — it can be confusing. So we’ve started encouraging our clients to prepare Donor Investment Reports for the donors who give multiple gifts in the same period.
Donor Investment Reports Celebrate Donor Generosity
Donors often don’t keep good records of what they have given in the past and of their outstanding pledges. And when they’re not sure of what they’ve already given, they may be less likely to give more.
So, rather than obscuring the totality of their giving, we encourage you to celebrate it by preparing a Donor Investment Report.
A Sample Donor Investment Report
You can develop these types of reports in many ways, but here’s a solid format to consider:
Each report can be fine-tuned for the specific donor. The idea is to show your donors the totality of their giving and the difference their investments have made in carrying out the mission.
It’s tempting to hide or obscure the totality of a donor’s giving because you might be afraid that they will give less. Instead, focus on celebrating the depth and power of their generosity.
Even More Valuable During a Capital Campaign
If you’re in a capital campaign, you have even more reason to help your largest donors that make overlapping and complex gifts see the totality of their giving. We’ve found that donors appreciate the clarity. It not only helps them plan their giving to your organization, but it builds a sense of trust and partnership.
Consider creating Donor Investment Reports for all of your largest donors who make multiple, complex gifts to your organization. It won’t be long before you see the value they’ll bring to your organization.