We provide professional management, marketing and fundraising expertise to coordinate and drive campaign planning and implementation, while maximizing annual fundraising efforts to increase bottom-line results in the first 12 months.
Studies have shown the average cost of annual fundraising in the U.S. is 18% of the amount raised. The cost of conducting a capital campaign is typically estimated at 5-15% of the amount raised. The larger the campaign, the lower the percentage cost. The cost of fundraising should be included in both the campaign budget and goal.
Campaigns should drive fundraising costs as a percentage of funds raised lower over time. A notable example of this principle in action is in the work of the Maine Medical Center. In the May 2015 issue of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Maine Medical Center reported its fundraising costs and returns over 21 years. From 1993 to 2013, the Center increased its fundraising revenue by more than 600 percent, to more than $11.4 million. At the same time, it greatly expanded its fundraising budget. By 2013 it was spending more than $1.6 million on its fundraising operation, an increase of 255 percent but still far less than the increase in revenue. In 2013, fundraising costs were 14% of the amount raised, down from 33% of the amount raised in 1993.
We offer three models of campaign counsel and services to fit needs to budget, from strategic advising to comprehensive services with interim staffing and back-office support.
Our services include:
- Conducting a pre-campaign study comprised of stakeholder interviews, focus groups, peer benchmarking, and community surveys, culminating in an assessment, positioning statement, and plan of action with recommended steps to be taken over the next 6-18 months. We view the campaign study as a critical period during which volunteer and executive leaders develop a deeper understanding of your commitment and responsibilities to both the organization and to fundraising. The resulting report, recommendations and planning framework provide a common point of departure for conducting a strategic, capital, building or endowment campaign.
- We begin the study with the end in mind: to engage both stakeholders and potential supporters early on in what a successful campaign would look like, meeting not only the campaign fundraising goals but also strengthening your organization, board and annual operating support.
- Developing a case for support to include funding priorities that articulate your organization’s vision, growth objectives, and financial needs. We would package these needs to suggest attractive naming opportunities to help raise the sights of major gift prospects.
- Competition for major philanthropic support has always been keen. In what is now a globalized economy, a clear and compelling case for support is fundamental to an organization’s successful positioning and fundraising efforts. Keeping in mind that people support what they help to create, we gain the perspective and insights of volunteer leaders, marketing and program staff, and current or potential supporters to develop a case that aligns with the organization’s strategic goals.
- Crafting a campaign prospectus, a distillation of the case into a presentation for introducing prospects and community members to the campaign
- Driving campaign planning and implementation to ensure that benchmarks and goals are met. Throughout the campaign we focus our attention on the organization’s aspirations for the future, on program strengths and core competencies, and on what is really working now for the organization and the community it serves. We encourage wide participation in the planning process, campaign positioning, and recruitment of campaign leadership. We also work with you to frame the campaign for the greatest consensus and impact.