As you consider hiring a professional fundraising and development firm to help with your campaign, you might pause to think: “What will a manager do for me?” Or “How can a manager lead us on the path to success?”
Capital campaign managers play a crucial role in any fundraising effort. They set the lead in planning, executing and monitoring projects. Campaign direction and progress revolves around the manager completing their tasks while assisting others with their work.
Here are the key duties you should expect your manager to accept during a campaign.
- Communicating with donors and leadership: External and internal communication is a major feature of a successful campaign. Educating donors regarding your needs, your goals and how a successful campaign will support your vision is a must. It’s also important to provide campaign updates throughout the active phase to donors and the campaign team. The responsibility of fueling this pipeline rests with the manager. They must define a comprehensive communication strategy and produce the elements that make up the plan. The manager should draft copy for communication pieces such as the case statement, a list of frequently asked questions, social media/website updates and weekly volunteer newsletters. After finalizing the copy and design, the manager should work to disseminate the message.
- Managing the database: During the preparation phase, the campaign manager prepares the database by reviewing key variables, such as giving history, to help set gift requests amounts. After a thorough review with leadership, they adjust requests, if necessary, and place each prospect in the appropriate appeal section such as major gifts, direct mail or public gifts. This gives the manager a keen sense of the campaign’s key prospects. During the appeal phase, the manager updates the database as decisions arrive and works to send response letters in a timely manner.
- Managing Volunteers: A good manager works diligently to create an active working relationship with campaign leaders and volunteers. This begins in the campaign’s early stages with the manager placing introductory calls to recruits. The relationship builds as the manager hosts campaign orientation, appeal training sessions and distributes assignments. During the appeal phase, the manager must make weekly contact with volunteers — email, phone calls or personal visits — to offer encouragement, guidance, support and, if necessary, to assist a leader or volunteer on a personal visit.
- Securing Decisions: When it comes to asking for support, managers need to join others on the campaign team in that role. Their appeals start by visiting with campaign leadership and volunteers but should also include other prospects. Don’t forget it is best to allow leadership to meet with key lead and major gift prospects. However, if needed, the manager should assist a member of the campaign team on a few of those visits.
- Tracking Assignments: Managers must give great attention to tracking volunteer assignments beginning with the initial distribution. It is important to closely monitor progress and, if necessary, make changes by switching assignments from one volunteer to another. This will help create and maintain campaign momentum. Also, knowing who met with whom proves helpful at the end of the active phase if it is necessary for the client to follow up with undecided prospects.
- Weekly Strategist: The manager sets deadlines, issues assignments, defines immediate and long-term tasks and works to keep the campaign moving according to the timeline.
A campaign manager also works closely with the graphic designer on material production and assists the grant writer as needed. They draft the various letters (gift appeal, thank you, decline, etc.) used throughout the campaign. Finally, they should prepare materials and host all leadership and volunteer meetings.
If you have questions about how a campaign manager could help you realize campaign success or how the Steier Group can help you achieve your fundraising goals, please contact me.