This three-part article series provides advice to help your nonprofit achieve fundraising gold by equipping your board and leadership teams, safeguarding compliance, and mining giving data. In Part 3, our experts, Lisa Cohen, CEO of Capital Motion, Gail Snow Moraski, Principal of Results Communication and Research, and Brock Klinger, Account Executive at Harbor Compliance, provide best practices for equipping your board and leadership teams, safeguarding compliance, and mining giving data at the close of a campaign.
How should we “debrief” at the close of a campaign?
Lisa: Information-sharing to maximize campaign success is ideally baked into the DNA of the leadership and board team by the close of the campaign. Having put together materials like board “brag books” of interactions with program clients that they found particularly fulfilling, and having shared stories and information throughout the campaign, debriefing will be a natural and important final step in the process.
The team will find that they have learned as much—if not more—than they have shared. Documenting that learning is invaluable. One well-run strategy meeting with an excellent note-taker ought to do it, and be sure to catalogue what was learned from each constituency touched, on what key topics, and what the next steps are on each important open issue, if there are any.
How can we evaluate our performance to drive future strategy?
Gail: Once your campaign is concluded, you can gather metrics on how the various tools and strategies performed for you, evaluate return on investment (ROI), and use that information to inform future campaigns.
For example, if an email service such as MailChimp or Constant Contact was used to send out either a fundraising-focused email blast or an e-newsletter that contained information about a fundraising campaign, before finalizing plans for an upcoming campaign, your organization should review the performance indicators available within the email service tool to see if time and money spent on such an e-communication makes good sense. For example, the number and percent of individuals opening the e-communications should be reviewed as well as information on the click-through rate by readers on any button, image, or link that took them to a website page containing fundraising campaign information.
Are there any regulatory items to address at the end of a campaign?
Brock: Since many requirements are based on contribution and revenue levels, you may find that you have new requirements to address after a successful campaign. A significant campaign may expand your footprint or increase contribution and revenue levels to the point that you have new fundraising registration and financial reporting requirements to meet. For this reason, you’ll need to conduct a post-campaign compliance check and adjust your practices as necessary. If you’ve been involved in a co-venture, your teams will need to compile financial data and file as required.
Do you have any other tips on achieving fundraising gold?
Gail: There’s a lot of great data available in the various online/digital marketing tools and platforms an organization uses to promote a fundraising campaign, and it’s so worth mining the data associated with past campaigns to ensure the best possible ROI on time and money expended for a future one.
Brock: It might seem like a lot of work, but compliance more than pays for itself by inviting donor trust, which is key to the success of any fundraising campaign. For example, studies have shown that solicitations that include disclosure statements get a measurably higher rate of return than those without. So it’s not just about government paperwork. Compliance reassures potential donors that your organization is legitimate and committed to sound governance. Meeting all of your legal and regulatory requirements also safeguards your board of directors, who can be held personally liable for any lapses or oversights.
Lisa: Your leadership teams are the champions of your brand, your fundraising ambassadors. Nonprofits that take time to inform and engage them reap the rewards in fundraising success.
We hope this article series helps you achieve better results at each phase of your fundraising campaign. If you have further questions for our experts, feel free to reach out to them directly:
Gail Snow Moraski, Results Communication and Research, firstname.lastname@example.org, 781-267-6687
Brock Klinger, Harbor Compliance, email@example.com, 1-888-995-5895