Is your organization celebrating a special anniversary in the near future? Are you considering a capital campaign? If you answered "yes" to both these questions, you have the potential to increase awareness of your organization and its mission and add or upgrade donors and gifts.
The celebration of your fifth, tenth, twentieth or other anniversary can attract increased media attention as well as public interest and support for your non-profit. Consider leveraging this amplified exposure into a successful funding initiative that will address your strategic plans for the future.
Habitat for Humanity International successfully utilized this approach in celebration of its 25th anniversary in 2001. Founder Millard Fuller praised the organization and its affiliates for building 100,000 homes in 25 years in its effort to eliminate poverty housing, then challenged them to build the next 100,000 homes in five years.
His challenge marked the beginning of the organization's $500 million More Than Houses: Rebuilding Our Communities capital campaign. The campaign has involved local Habitat affiliates from throughout the U.S. and other countries as well as the international organization and has made possible many new partnerships with corporations, individuals, foundations and faith-based organizations.
So, how do you get started? Maximize your funding potential in combining an anniversary celebration with a capital campaign by using the following marketing and fundraising tips. Remember, for some inexplicable reason, prospective donors do get jazzed up about round-numbered anniversaries. Transferring this mysterious, yet verifiable phenomenon into vigorous energy and enthusiasm for your capital campaign can have measurable impact on your success. It can happen!
- Create a campaign theme and logo in conjunction with your anniversary. Incorporate the numbered anniversary into the campaign artwork either as part of the theme, a subheading of the name or a stand-alone element. In many cases, you will save on design costs by having the anniversary and campaign themes and logos designed together rather than separately.
- Use the anniversary celebration to better position your organization with local and state officials. Take the opportunity to seek recognition from governmental entities by drafting resolutions in honor of the occasion. Contact officials personally and invite them to special events and activities. Consider inviting them to serve on your board or on a committee. Once you are successful in getting resolutions passed, use copies of the documents in your campaign material.
- Produce an anniversary video that can also be used in the campaign. Such dual-purpose media investments save time and money that you can use in seeking new donors and gifts. Encourage board members involved in service clubs or other organizations to facilitate and arrange speaking opportunities for campaign, board and staff leaders. Invite campaign donors to host "anniversary parties" in their homes to mark the occasion and introduce the campaign. In addition to food and drinks, the agenda of such events should include a brief gathering time to show the video and present an overview of the campaign.
- Develop media materials to promote the anniversary as well as the public phase of the campaign. Produce radio and television public service announcements, newspaper filler ads, web site promotions, posters, flyers and other material. Use the anniversary/campaign theme and logo on letterhead, thank-you notes, newsletters, in your web site, and on appropriate communications to members, donors and prospects.
Timing and planning of your combined anniversary celebration and capital campaign takes particular attention. Because cultivation and solicitation of leadership and major gift donors (those who will contribute at least 60 to 70 percent of your campaign goal) will take place during an early "quiet phase," make every effort to establish a timeline with the public phase of the campaign coinciding with the highlights of the anniversary celebration.
And one parting thought--if that mysterious phenomenon about prospective donors getting jazzed up about round-numbered anniversaries continues to ring true, wouldn't you like them to be jazzed about your capital campaign, too?
Custom Development Solutions, Inc. (CDS) is among the most sought after fundraising consulting firms specializing in the strategic planning and tactical execution of capital campaigns for non-profits throughout the United States and Canada. If you have a fundraising question, please call CDS at 800-761-3833 or send an email to email@example.com.