How to leverage fundraising technology for capital campaigns
For schools looking to launch a successful capital campaign, leveraging fundraising software platforms is the perfect solution. With these platforms, schools can easily track donations, manage campaign and donor relationships, identify trends in donor giving, and automate (yet personalize) tasks like thank yous and reporting. Fundraising software platforms also offer powerful tools for customizing donor outreach efforts, allowing schools to target the right people with the right messages at the right times. By utilizing fundraising technology, schools can maximize their fundraising potential and make their capital campaigns a lasting success.
Capital campaign planning made easy with technology
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering where your next donation is going to come from, what appeal to make next, or why you are not attracting the right kind of donor, come back to your plan. A strategic plan defines the process you will follow to realize your vision. It’s your roadmap complete with action steps, milestones and KPIs.
With a clear capital campaign plan, you can shift from reacting to situations as they occur to proactively creating the future reality you desire. Your strategic plan can cover fundraising activities as well as overall plans for the school.
Here are some guidelines:
- Understand your current situation—Consider things like your core competencies, recent drops in performance, what success looks like and available resources including staff and technology.
- Create a capital campaign vision statement—Having a clear and unique vision statement will set you apart from other schools and colleges and make you more memorable to potential new donors.
- Prioritize—As much as you’d like to, you can’t achieve everything you want to all at once. Especially as times are now challenging and resources tight, define your priorities and tackle phases one at a time.
- Set milestones—Plot your journey with clearly defined milestones that will help you break your goal into manageable chunks and allow you to determine how far you have come and how much more you have to achieve as you proceed with your campaign. You can use fundraising software to allocate tasks, communicate with your team, track milestones and check items off your list as you work.
Allocating capital campaign resources
Once you have your campaign plan, priorities and milestones in place, it’s time to work out what resources you need in order to carry out your plan effectively and efficiently.
The capital campaign toolkit:
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Capital campaign planning considerations:
- Will you need more personnel?
- How will you continue to fundraise for the annual fund while in a capital campaign?
- Will new technologies play a role in helping you achieve your goal? Many fundraising tools will cut your staff’s workload and enable them to perform their jobs faster and more easily.
Trying to find the resources for each new phase as it comes is not an effective way to run a successful goal-centered campaign. Especially in uncertain times, it’s important to consider your plan and secure the resources and funds you need as far in advance as possible so you can continue your vital work uninterrupted.
Build your capital campaign software foundation
Few fundraising organizations can manage without the use of technology today. At the very least, most schools and higher education fundraising departments need a CRM like Salesforce in which to store their customer data, and a system of Excel spreadsheets to help them plan, allocate and track tasks. But there is a lot more that fundraising software can do—especially a designated fundraising solution.
If you fear that the headache of onboarding new technology (and its cost) will outweigh the benefits, remember that many of the fundraising solutions on the market today are tailored specifically to fundraisers’ needs and can significantly cut their workloads rather than adding to them. The right fundraising software can even help an understaffed office perform the work of many people with your existing staff.
For example, an AI-powered fundraising solution like Raise from Gravyty can identify which donors to approach, specify what to ask for and even draft emails for you. This means fundraisers don’t have to search the database for those all-important bits of personalized information that upgrade their requests from sounding like mass-produced communications to ones that feel warm, personal and most importantly, relevant.
Onboarding tech can also help with staff retention. Many people made changes in their jobs during COVID-19 due to new priorities around work-life balance. An overwhelmed (and underpaid) fundraiser who is considering a life in the slower lane might change their mind when they see how much of the daunting gruntwork can be taken over by a fundraising software solution that is tailored to their daily work needs.
If you think technology could help you achieve your campaign goals, start the due diligence process as soon as possible. It can take some time to work out your requirements and find the solution that suits your organization best.
Be authentic with the help of tech (not in spite of it)
Authenticity is the cornerstone of fundraising today. No one likes to receive a generic, bland fundraising request that shows no recognition of who the donor is or their existing relationship with your school.
To create authentic relationships with your community of donors and potential donors, you need to take the time to get to know them and to create messages that speak directly to them. At the same time, you also need to be authentic in your approach, sharing genuinely and honestly from personal experience as much as possible.
If you’re raising funds for a new building, for example, ask a leading donor to write down why this new project is a meaningful and impactful cause. Alternatively, record a video message from a student who benefitted from their previous gift where he or she thanks them personally and explains the gift’s impact.
Authenticity builds trust. While everyone faces difficulties, you can be upfront about your challenges and share your greatest needs with your trusted donors. Those in a position to help will appreciate the honesty and the opportunity to step up and support a specific need.
Reaching out authentically and personally to a large number of donors takes time and effort that you may not have right now. Fundraising software can ease the burden.
A video platform like Gratavid from Gravyty, for example, will allow your team to record, store and distribute personalized video messages to be used in place of phone calls.
Raise from Gravyty can learn each fundraiser’s writing style and create emails that not only sound authentic but also incorporate personal details from the CRM.
A successful capital campaign
While times are indeed uncertain, there is much room for optimism. Educational institutions launching capital campaigns during this challenging period should focus on optimizing operations, growing online giving capabilities and building trust-based relationships with donors.
The right technology tools will certainly help you achieve your campaign goals.
Learn how Gravyty’s suite of fundraising solutions can help you build fruitful, scalable capital campaigns. Schedule a free consultation.