Annual Always Wins

November 10, 2015



Written By: Bruce

By Bruce Berglund

There is a dangerous fallacy in the world of financial development: The idea that running a capital campaign will mean a decrease (or worse a stoppage) in your annual campaign. There is no competition between capital and annual fundraising. You know why?

Because annual always wins.

When sitting with a donor, should you ever hear an indication that the donor will transfer part or all of their annual gift toward a capital gift, please say no.

Surprised? Here’s why:

Your annual campaign is vital to your mission and supporting the current needs of the people you serve. Real people will suffer if that annual support goes away. Plus, once it goes away, you’ll have to work that much harder to get it back. A building can wait. Your mission can’t.

Instead, consider a combined ask. Over a five year pledge period, for example, suggest a gift that is part annual and part capital. The annual amount should equal what the donor is giving now and will gradually increase as a percentage over the next five years. Here’s how it might look:

combined ask 1

Or, put a little more visually:

combined ask2

At the end of the capital pledge period, not only have you secured $17,500 toward your capital project, you have grown an already generous annual donor from a $1,000/year annual gift to a $2,000/year annual gift. In year 6 (and beyond), you can continue that annual campaign support discussion rather than going back to the beginning.

Not asking for an annual gift sends a clear message to a donor: their gift isn’t needed. Don’t rob Peter to pay Paul, and don’t put your campaigns in competition. Make a combined ask and create a pathway for your donors to support your cause today and tomorrow.

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One response to “Annual Always Wins”

  1. John Alexander says:

    Great advice, Bruce….thanks.