Many board members are questioning their organizations as to why can’t we raise the funds that Obama was able to raise for his campaign? The truth is that many organizations are still not equipped with the necessary tools required for a massive online fund raising effort. When the tsunami, Haiti and Katrina phenomena occurred, the global impact was enormous. Few institutions have the equipment needed for the retrieval of mass donations.
Mass solicitations could be the second reiteration of the truth about annual giving no longer sustaining the operations of an organization but what has become more important is the fund raising science of the campaign. Annual funds are no longer about real money; why because major giving and planned giving are the focus of real hard cash. Organizations still maintain the old adage that 80 percent of your donations result from 20 percent of your effort but there is a trend that is like an iceberg, that indicates the 80 percent is low and that fewer than 20 percent are giving.
We are beginning to understand the annual fund is about engagement not just fund raising. The investor projects loyalty, learning and involvement. There are still many organizations that require the annual fund to balance their budgets. The real truth is that the more sophisticated fund raising institutions view the annual fund as an investor based management program and not a fund raising program. Now the issue becomes building a broad base investor while creating loyalty as we focus on building a supportive constituency.
The norm is storytelling and building investor loyalty. If you focus on these two concepts there is a slight chance you’ll raise as much as Obama but no matter what, keep the lines of communications open. Next week we will start to talk about managing the annual fund for today’s investors.