Fundraising 101

The Core of Your Fundraising Efforts: The Annual Campaign

Any organization that needs to raise money to sustain itself, has, or should have, an annual campaign. Through annual campaigns, organizations build and develop a donor base, cultivate a culture of giving, educate and inform constituents on the cause and the need for the organization, and raise necessary funds to successfully operate. Annual campaigns allow donors to get involved and feel invested in the organization. Involved and invested donors and lay leaders are the key to your organization’s success!

Annual Campaign: An annual campaign is a campaign that takes place every year to raise unrestricted funds to support ongoing business operations. You may hear people refer to an annual campaign as a “budget plug”.  In many cases annual campaigns exist to fill the deficit between revenue and operating costs. It is important that the money raised from an annual campaign can be repeated or replaced, meaning the donor can make the same gift every year, or you can find another donor who can make that gift. Gifts that are too large to be made on a yearly basis fall into the special gifts category.

Involvement: Annual campaigns come in all shapes and sizes. An organization’s top donors are usually solicited through one-on-one or face-to-face asks. Other donors may be solicited through a direct mail piece, phone bank, telethon, annual gala, or other method. Your involvement in the campaign will differ depending on the type of ask.  For example, with a direct mail piece, you may be responsible for helping to pull together the mailing list, recording gifts as they come in, acknowledging gifts, thanking donors, and more. While your involvement may change depending on the type of campaign, the importance of your role won’t. Don’t underestimate the importance of supporting the annual campaign efforts – they are, after all, the core fundraising effort.