Welcome to Part 4 of the Fundraising for Large Campaigns blog series. In this series we will share best practices from your peers who have been successful with large fundraising campaigns. If you’re new to the series, you may want to start with Part 1: The Planning Phase.
The fourth phase of preparing for your large fundraiser is Execution. At this point you will have already come up with your fundraising plan, developed materials to promote it, and built your team. This is the phase most people think of as “fundraising”. It involves executing the plans you made during previous steps, collecting funds, managing your team, and tracking your progress. This is a hectic but exciting phase as plans come to fruition. However, in the case of a large fundraising campaign this phase typically lasts longer than a standard campaign – often several months or a couple years depending on the particular circumstances of the fundraiser.
In large fundraisers, managing your team during the execution phase is especially important. The duration of the fundraiser makes this inherently more challenging. Volunteer enthusiasm may wane as time goes on and other circumstances may arise (e.g. birth of another child, change in job, etc.) that impact your volunteer’s ability to commit time to the fundraiser. Be sure to check in frequently to ensure you are aware of any potential changes in availability and to monitor for burn-out. Checking and tracking goals is important for two main reasons: First, it allows you to quickly identify if your effort isn’t raising funds at the the anticipated pace, which gives you the opportunity to course correct before a small issue becomes a large one. Second, communicating progress helps engage your team. Being able to communicate progress to your team is a great way to bolster morale. You should think about ways you can make fundraising fun and competitive. For example, with smaller fundraisers often there is a prize for a top performer, or different rewards that can be earned based on dollar amounts raised. Think about the smaller events that occur within your overall fundraiser, and see if there is a way you create a similar incentive.
Updating donors on your progress is also important. Donors want to see how their gift is benefiting your school, and updating them as you complete milestones is a great way to do this. Additionally, large campaigns frequently see repeat donors, so don’t forget to solicit additional donations in your communications! Also anything you can do to generate buzz and excitement around your project will help keep your momentum going and the donations flowing. The steps you have taken during the previous planning phases will guide you through the successful execution of your large fundraiser.
Stay tuned for the next post in the series Fundraising for Large Campaigns: Phase 5 – Wrapping Things Up!