capital campaign

The Right Campaign Team Makes The Impossible Possible

Slide04Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves leading the successful completion of AMAZING CHARITY’s $15 million campaign to accomplish the strategic priorities that you played a role in shaping that will change lives. First, make your own leadership gift. Then, help recruit a dedicated team of volunteer solicitors willing to do the same. However, it is essential that some of your team members have a proven record of securing major gifts.

You will also need an experienced campaign professional to keep you and your team on task. You have 48 hours to accept your assignment. As always, should any member of your team be caught off guard with a sudden gift, we will disavow its unexpected nature and happily celebrate. This message will self-destruct in five minutes. (more…)

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Stand Out: A conversation with Cannon and Rick Montague, Co-Chairs of the Chattanooga History Center Capital Campaign

Stand outWelcome to the second interview of Stand Out, a Q & A series. Allow me to introduce you to my multi-talented friends and successful volunteer fundraising professionals, Cannon and Rick Montague.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

A (Cannon): I was born and raised here, but lived in other places until I married Rick and moved back to Chattanooga in 1999. The city has changed enormously for the better, and I have great appreciation and respect for my husband’s involvement in (more…)

Giving watermelons, giving thanks

I had just been hired as the Development Director to launch an ambitious capital campaign for an organization that had no time to spare. The year: 1997.The donor base was for the most part untested. Aside from three direct mail pieces per year, the organization had minimal personal relationships with donors (unless you count the contacts made during their previous capital campaign…. in 1972).

With encouragement from my mentor Chuck Kayton (retired partner with the Illinois-based consulting firm that pioneered the concept of advancement in the 1940s widely accepted today), I conducted a solo thank-athon to introduce myself to donors and thank them for their past support. I’m not sure if it was ignorance or guts, but my very first call was to a unique donor who had made a $5,000 gift in response to a direct mail appeal. I was genuinely curious as to why someone would send in such a generous donation. Our phone call was brief but cordial. I asked him if I could bring my boss to meet him so that we might thank him personally for his generous gift and to let him know how we put his donation to work. He was agreeable, and the following week my boss and I went to meet him at the top floor of a Fortune 500 company in downtown Pittsburgh.

The donor had a $100,000 check waiting for us. My boss nearly fell to the floor, and I could not believe this was happening. We had not asked for a gift. All we did was say “thank you” and update him on the progress of our organization.

We asked the donor to share with us how he became familiar with our organization. As it turns out, his father was a past supporter, donating fresh produce regularly from his fruit stand. This donor was passionate about our mission because he remembered fondly as a little boy helping his father load watermelons to donate to our organization because that was all they had to give.

The best part about this story is that since the initial thank you call in 1997, this donor has become a dedicated volunteer and loyal contributor.

I realize this experience is unique, but you never know how one simple thank you call might impact your organization. The time you make to thank your supporters is time well spent.

Have you made any thank you contacts lately?