DickersonBakker Blog

How to Protect Your Annual Fund While Running a Successful Campaign

One of my clients’ biggest fears when they enter a capital campaign is that their annual budget will be cannibalized for the campaign. This is a legitimate concern. You don’t want to get a new building, for instance, but have no money with which to operate it.

Here are three ways to approach this problem:

  1. What most people do is fundraise separately. It’s as if you’re running two unrelated campaigns: one for your annual budget and another for your campaign. The problem, however, is that often your efforts are uncoordinated and confusing for your donors.  I would rarely recommend the separate campaign approach.
  2. The second option is to run coordinated campaigns, where you run both annual and capital campaigns in concert with each other. To conduct coordinated campaigns successfully, you need to master the “double ask.” The double ask goes like this: “In addition to your faithful annual gift to [nonprofit], would you also consider a gift of $300,000 to the capital campaign?” The coordinated nature of this strategy conveys that your organization is thorough and on the ball.
  3. The final option is what is called a comprehensive campaign, where you add your annual fund needs (and/or endowment, etc.) into the total capital campaign amount. It will increase your final goal, but many people find this to be a very straightforward way to fundraise. As a bonus, you avoid the double ask.

It’s important to have both your annual budget and your campaign goal met. What good is a new building or program if you don’t have the funds to operate your program in it? In your capital campaign plans, be sure you don’t cannibalize your annual budget to meet your campaign goal.

Are you worried about raising operational funds during your campaign? Contact Dickerson, Bakker & Associates today and let our consultants connect with you to ensure you’re on the right path. 

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