Written By: sara
By Sara Luke
During the 18-24 months (or more) of a capital campaign, nonprofit leaders often eat, sleep and breathe the campaign. They know the total raised, status of the design plans, which donor meetings went well and who they need to call to cultivate further. The pressure and excitement of the capital plans are ever-present in their thoughts and daily work.
Typically, the same can’t be said for campaigners. These are often influential people with busy lives outside of their volunteer commitment. As much as they try, they don’t always attend the campaign meetings. It’s easy for volunteers to feel disconnected from the campaign, causing them to disengage.
But these volunteers are critical to the success of a campaign. Their connections to other leaders in the community make them the most effective at soliciting peers and in some instances they are the only ones who can open doors to major donors.
Among the ways to keep your volunteers connected is a regular, e-mailed campaign update newsletter. The goal of this communication is to keep the campaign team engaged, motivated and informed throughout the campaign. The newsletter should also include regular calls to action to encourage volunteers to fulfill their commitments as campaigners and donors.
Start by creating a calendar. Plan the dates you’ll send the communication and what the general topics will be. Realistically, getting an update out once a month is doable and anything more frequent you are likely to be tuned out.
Keep it brief and easy to read. Think of this communication piece as one your volunteer would review over their cup of morning coffee. Remember, these folks are busy!
While each update shouldn’t contain each of these elements, throughout the course of your schedule, you’ll want to pick about three of these items per newsletter:
- Campaign progress to goal
- Donor profiles/spotlight
- Capital project/construction updates
- Campaigner success stories/shout outs
- Happy/inspiring stories of someone you are currently serving
- Reminders of WHY these capital projects are important/the impact they will make
- Upcoming dates to know/remember
- Project/campaign FAQs
- Campaigner tips/links to articles or blogs
- Stewardship opportunities/reminder
- Invitation to vision tours
Of course nothing replaces a face-to-face meeting or phone call checking in and encouraging your volunteers, but these regular updates can help you stay in touch and keep volunteers informed. An understanding of campaign progress instills confidence and the regular reminders of impact keep volunteers motivated to help fulfill your mission.
P.S. The same concept applies to your annual campaign. But with an abbreviated time frame, you’ll want to send it out more frequently!