Capital campaigns are every fundraiser’s pot of gold.
Boards, CEO’s, and fundraisers all dream of these big drives that can fund important programs, expand your reach, and catapult your organization to new heights. Capital campaigns bring in a much, much higher return on your investment of time and energy — especially compared to all other possible fundraising strategies.
The Problem: Loss of Momentum
But sometimes, after a big burst of excitement, the momentum of a capital campaign can start to sag. Calls don’t get made on prospects. Meetings and events don’t happen. People start feeling like they are drifting.
When this starts to happen, it’s probably because you’re missing one of the most important campaign practices — prospect strategy sessions!
The Fix: Periodic Prospect Strategy Sessions
What are they?
Prospect Strategy Sessions are bi-weekly or monthly check-ins that makes everybody on your team re-focus, evaluate, re-strategize and set next steps.
They are a mechanism for keeping the wheels turning. The core group of people who are going out making calls need to gather together to decide what they are doing to do and when they will do it.
You focus on the immediate actions that each person is taking.
Here’s what you do at your Prospect Strategy Sessions:
1. Review the list of top campaign prospects who are in action.
- See where you stand, add information based on recent calls and contacts.
- What new information have you uncovered in the past month?
- What new opportunities are presenting themselves?
2. Review your recent moves on each prospect and the results achieved.
- Do you need to change ratings and priorities?
- Do you need to move some prospects up the ladder and put some on the back burner?
- Where are they in their cultivation process?
- When will they be ready to consider a gift?
- What has changed?
3. Create Next Step Strategies for EACH prospect.
- How do we need to proceed with each donor?
- Who should be involved?
- What can you do next that will increase your donor’s emotional connection with your organization?
4. Assign clear responsibility for the next step with each prospect.
- Figure out who needs to do what by when.
- Assign someone to be accountable for every step.
5. Evaluate your overall fundraising position.
- Assess the very big picture of what you have to work with in the campaign. It’s a chance to take stock.
- Take a look at your campaign “pipeline” — what potential gifts are out there, if you work hard and close the gifts.
4 Key Benefits of Prospect Strategy Sessions
1. You create a management mechanism.
You know how many prospects are being cultivated, and what the work load looks like. You have a structure and a format to make sure that your campaign is running on schedule, and that people take action when they need to.
2. You can keep track of your potential projected contributions.
You’ll know what kind of revenue is possible if all goes well. You can add up all the prospects’ potential gifts that you have under cultivation and cut it by 2/3. Then you’ll be able to commit to a fundraising dollar goal based on that reduced figure.
3. You have a structure that brings key people together to brainstorm strategy.
Small groups of smart people are much more creative together on cultivation strategies than you can do by yourself. There is huge power in the team.
4. Your structure emphasizes accountability.
You can be sure that before every monthly meeting, your staff and volunteers will make sure they got done what they said they’d do. This, above all, is what can ensure results. Otherwise, campaign prospects just might become the very last thing on everybody’s to-do list.
How Much Time Will You Need?
If you are meeting monthly, your Prospect Review Session will need about 1/2 day a month. If you are meeting bi-weekly (which we recommend in the throes of a campaign), it will require less time. But whether you meet monthly or bi-weekly, this meeting needs to be regular and top priority.
This is what will give a grounding and a consistency to your cultivation and solicitation moves.
We promise you — regular prospect strategy sessions can be the GLUE that holds your campaign together and keeps it moving forward.