Scene: You're exhausted. It's been a long 7-10 years of your campaign. You have been through it all from the very silent phase through the public announcement and now to the wind-down. But you know what? So have your donors. When you asked them to show up in your feasibility study with their lead donations, they were there—and even stepped up when you asked for more. And now what? The campaign is ending, and maybe you're consumed with your closing event, but is that all there is?
At the DRG Group, we have many thoughts about campaigns — the good, the bad, and the ugly. More often than not, we place so much emphasis on the campaign we miss the fact that our donors don't always care about our campaign. But for those who are committed to us, we need to think about their experience beyond the campaign.
Two groups of donors spring to mind as those whose experience we need to cater to and be thoughtful about. Donors who made their first gift during the campaign and those who established a pledge during the campaign.
Donors who gave their first gift during the campaign are a great group to lean into—perhaps starting with a micro-survey asking them if the campaign motivated them or if it was something else. You could also ask them to share their preferred method of communication and even feature some of them in a storytelling impact piece. Remember, average first-time donor retention is horrible across the industry, so we should have a plan for this group from the moment they make their first gift! Treat them right, and they will stay.
Another group you might want to focus on is donors who established a pledge during the campaign, either for the first time or as a continuing effort. What is your pledge payment plan? What does stewardship look like for those who currently owe your organization money? How will you ensure their pledges get paid in a timely manner and that the donors' expectations are level set? Do they know when their pledge enters the endowment? When will they experience their first recipient or payout? Have you shown them what their reporting will look like? Having a plan for this unique group of donors will set you up for success now and in the future. Remember, the gift isn't complete until all the pledges are paid.
Finally, the end of a campaign is a great time to look at your policies and procedures to ensure they still meet your organizational needs. A great deal has likely changed in the last 7-10 years — from minimum amounts needed to create a fund or naming standards. It's probably time for a refresh.
The most important thing to remember as your campaign comes to an end is that the work isn't over — it never really is.
Want more tips on what to do to engage and retain campaign donors? Join us on May 10 for As the Lights Go Down: Donor Engagement at Campaign Close and Beyond — a one hour webinar dedicated to exploring all the work that happens after the campaign.