3 tips for building a successful fundraising campaign: Guest blog!

Cheryl Crounse
When it comes to talented colleagues, I've got an embarrassment of riches. I've had the good fortune to work with and befriend some of Boston's very best fundraising professionals over the past 12 years.

Several of these superstars have graciously agreed to participate in a new series of Fundraise Well guest blogs that will offer tips, tricks, and case studies directly from the front lines of Development!

I could not be more pleased that Cheryl Crounse has shared 3 tips for building a successful fundraising campaign. As assistant vice president and campaign manager of the 10,000 Reasons Campaign at Salem State University, she is more than qualified to offer this advice! Here is her post:

There are many strategies that a nonprofit can employ to achieve success in a campaign--enough to fill volumes of books. But here are just a few simple thoughts on how you can organize a campaign for fundraising success.

1. Build a good case with your internal and external leadership, and with input from your major donors and prospects. A case is a story that clearly communicates your mission and vision for the future. It conveys a consistent and unique brand to your organization. Know your strengths and where you want to go in the future through strategic planning. Convey your organization's need, and how you’ll use the funds to further your mission in the future. Use this plan to share your story with your audience and see the dollars follow.

2. Define and secure what a leadership commitment looks like for your own organization. Does it mean $500, $1,000, $10,000, or $100,000 or more? Leadership commitments should be uniquely defined by your organization, but often the current top 5% of your contributors are your leadership supporters. Go to them to share your case, and ask them to consider a lead donation at whatever value you deem “leadership,” to build momentum toward your fundraising goal and ask for their involvement going forward your campaign.

3. Involve and collaborate with all your key stakeholders in the planning process so they are invested in the success of your efforts and see their role in achieving the organization’s goal. Volunteer leadership, whether they are our existing boards, staff members for your organization, or group focused on raising the dollars, often referred to as a campaign steering committee, will ultimately be able to help open doors, make peer-to-peer asks, and help leverage your campaign to new heights.

Cheryl Crounse serves as the assistant vice president and campaign manager at Salem State University, where she oversees the $25-million 10,000 Reasons Campaign, the university’s largest-ever fundraising effort and first-ever comprehensive campaign. In name and in spirit, it celebrates the individual voices of our students, faculty, alumni, and friends as well as the community we build together. To learn more, visit the campaign website or find #SSUReasons on Twitter.

Cheryl has over 16 years of fundraising experience and a passion for high impact work. She thrives on seeing her results make a difference. Cheryl previously served at Emerson College, where she helped to lead a culture shift in major donor fundraising, branding and growing the annual fund by 119 percent, and launching the dean’s advisory council for the School of Communication. Cheryl also spent eight years shaping and successfully growing annual fund programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

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