Getting That Derailed Fund-Raising Campaign Back On Track

Sections of this topic

    You can’t fix a problem in a campaign unless you know there is a problem !!

    We track progress in a fund-raising campaign to be able to identify problems in time to take corrective action. If at any point in the campaign it begins to look as if the ability to achieve the goal is slipping away, then those managing the campaign must give immediate and focused attention to identifying/analyzing and formulating a solution to the problem.

    The most common problem encountered during a campaign is the failure of solicitors to ask for and/or obtain commitments from their assigned donors at the levels that the rating-and-evaluating process ascribed to them.

    Beginning on Day One, tracking of progress is crucial. It is better to find out that results are 15 percent below estimate after 10 percent of the (major donor) prospects have made their commitments, than after half of your prospects have responded.

    Once a campaign is under way, the steps you can take to make up a projected shortfall are limited, but the earlier you take them, the greater the chance they will resolve the problem.

    What to do to cover a projected shortfall and get a campaign back on track:

    • Solicit a matching/challenge contribution to inspire and compel the gifts of others.
    (A matching/challenge gift would greatly assist in carrying out all of the following
    steps, but even without a matching/challenge gift, the following steps must be

    • Ask trustees and campaign leadership to increase their gifts.
    They have a special interest in the campaign’s success, and have been making
    their gifts. And even if they were substantial gifts, ask them to up the ante anyway.

    • Increase the “Ask” amounts for prospects yet to be solicited.
    Rework your evaluations and “Ask” amounts for prospects yet to be solicited.
    Go back and reassess them individually … to a higher level.

    • Identify additional prospects to be solicited.
    An organization rarely contacts all of the persons capable of giving to it.
    New prospects must be identified and contacted/solicited. That will, of course,
    also add to your donor base for future campaigns.

    • Go back to selected donors who have already given and ask them to increase
    their gifts. This must be done with great care – with selectivity and sensitivity.
    You go only to those whom you are certain as can be that they will not be
    offended, thinking that what they did give was not satisfactory in the first place.
    Have a good case ready to explain that such a request is not based on a panic
    situation, but that they are special, and it’s always the special ones to whom
    we look in time of need.

    Any thoughts you’d like to add?? We’d really like to hear from you.
    Have a question or comment for Tony? He can be reached at There is also a lot of good fundraising information on his website:
    Have you heard about The Fundraising Series of ebooks ??
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