Establishing Long-Term Goals for Your Annual Giving Program
Annual giving programs live and die by the calendar. They have 365 days each year to acquire as many donors and secure as much money as they can. Accordingly, annual giving professionals set goals and coordinate appeals on an annual basis. But as more advancement programs find themselves in or planning major comprehensive fundraising campaigns, it’s important that annual giving programs also think outside of their annual box. They need to learn campaign speak.
One way to exercise campaign speak is to remind others what the annual fund represents as a percentage of the total campaign revenue. For example, if the campaign goal is to raise $100 million dollars over a 7-year period and the annual fund raises about $2 million annually, you can say that annual giving will represent about 14 percent of the total funds raised in the campaign.
You can also establish campaign goals for your annual giving program that transcend individual fiscal years. For example, if one of your campaign goals is to increase alumni participation from 8 percent to 12 percent, then map out a path for achieving (and sustaining) that rate over a period of years. In addition to defining goals for alumni participation rates in each individual year, you should also specify targets for each of the key drivers of alumni participation, such as alumni of record counts, donor counts and retention rates. The following table not only states where you want to end up, but it also describes how you intend to get there.
Campaign speak will not only help keep your annual giving program top of mind for senior leaders and campaign managers, but it will also help expand your view of your program’s potential growth and impact over a longer period.
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