By Brad Layland, CEO and Senior Consultant
About 15 years ago, the president of a large Christian ministry approached The FOCUS Group and asked if we could help them with a campaign to help them raise a million dollars. The only problem was this organization had never raised money with a major gift campaign before and had previously just relied on field staff to raise their own support.
Despite the inexperience, that organization successfully launched its first major gifts campaign and raised over $14M. They have since launched two additional campaigns which raised $50M and $88M. How does an organization go from not having a major gift program to having one that is raising nearly $100M?
Their success lies in the fact that they followed three simple principles:
- They focused on the right people. They focused on building relationships with donors who had the right connection to them as an organization, the financial resources to invest, and most importantly, a history of demonstrated generosity.
- They developed long-term partnerships with their donors. Rather than taking a transactional approach, they built long-term, authentic relationships with their donors. The organization had a specific mission to fulfill, and they invited their donors to join in as partners invested in the work.
- They reported the outcomes. This organization used the funds invested by donors to produce changes that were measurable, meaningful, and monumental. They then shared those results with their partners.
In the end, success built upon success, and the partners that invested in the first campaign gave more to the second campaign, and for the most part, gave even more to the third campaign. The organization also attracted new partners who, because of the growth of the organization, wanted to get in on the fun.
As the fundraising consultant who had the privilege of working with this organization, the best part was not seeing the funds raised, but seeing the expanded vision of this organization. The goals for the first campaign related to doing ‘a little more, a little better.’ By the time we reached the third campaign, their goal was an expansion so large that it would have been unthinkable before their first campaign!
Fundraising is never the goal. It is merely the pathway to do “immeasurably more than we could ever dream or imagine” (Ephesians 3:15).
The story of this very inspiring organization can be your organization’s story, too. It all starts by investing in the right people, in the right way, and reporting back to them the impact of their giving. To hear the actual story of this organization,
click below to go to the Taking Donors Seriously Podcast!