Two Campaigns, Same TIME…What Do You Ask For?

Vol. 11 No. 7


Your annual fund is the foundation of all the fund-raising activities at your school. It is your primary source of charitable support, funded by the greatest number of your constituents, and it is where you build your school’s culture of philanthropy. Your annual fund lets you enhance your programs to give your students the best educational experience possible. So, what do you do when your school is simultaneously running a capital campaign for new buildings or an endowment? You can’t put your annual fund on hold. Do you ask for money twice?

Mike Westfall, Vice President for University Advancement at Eastern Washington University (WA), outlines several strategies on his blog for managing simultaneous campaigns. He said that each strategy has its pros and cons. Here are three.

Operate the annual fund and the capital campaign separately. Westfall notes that this way, annual fund donors are not confused, since their focus is on major gifts. On the other hand, you may not be able to maximize participation.

Ask annual fund donors to make capital campaign gifts. Use your annual fund solicitation to ask for an “extra gift” for the capital campaign, he says. “Double-dipping leads to increased individual giving during the public stages of the [capital] campaign.” However, annual fund donors may be muddled, thinking they already have made their gift. And is it too much, too soon for newer donors?

“During capital campaign years, we make a ‘dual ask,’ asking faculty/staff and current parents to make a commitment to both funds simultaneously, which includes an explanation that the capital campaign pledge may be fulfilled over several years, while the annual fund donation is a per year commitment to be fulfilled within that fiscal year,” said Amy Riley, Director of Admission and Marketing at the Heritage School (GA). “That way neither fund competes with or undermines the other. It also serves as an excellent educational opportunity for donors to understand the difference between the two, as well as the distinct purpose of each giving opportunity.”

Use the capital campaign to leverage additional annual fund giving. Ask your annual fund donors to give a similar gift to the capital campaign. However, you miss out on asking for a larger gift.

“Which one is best? They all are.” Westfall writes. “We within annual giving tend to focus too much on overall, one-size-fits-all strategy when instead, in reality, each of these strategies fits only one segment as a whole. We should focus on the best aspects of each approach and target specific segments as appropriate utilizing all [these] strategies.”

Additional ISM resources of interest
ISM Monthly Update for Development Directors Vol. 8 No. 1 Three Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections to Boost Your Annual Fund
ISM Web site How to Jump-Start a Stalled Fund-raising Campaign

Additional resources for ISM Consortium Gold Members
To The Point Vol. 13 No. 6 The Donor Cultivation Cycle and Your Annual Fund
To The Point Vol. 7 No. 6 Point Parents Ask: Just What Does the Annual Fund Do, Anyway?
Ideas & Perspectives Vol. 20 No. 4 A Comprehensive Development Model

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