The Return of the Campaign

The way in which campaigns work has changed significantly since before major economic meltdowns took hold of the country. With segments of the economy now in recovery, capital & programmatic goals that seemed so needed in 2007-2008 are no longer relevant. Three characteristics of today’s campaigns are driving forces behind the changes.

  • Donors are substantively different –
    • Would-be donors to your campaign may evaluate their giving differently than they did before the recession. Also, naming opportunities may seem ostentatious as some sectors remain on the mend.
  • The case for support is more important than ever –
    • “Impact” has moved front and center, and a case that doesn’t speak to a vision of making a community impact is apt to miss the mark. A bricks and mortar campaign, for example, needs to be more than just another building – how will it allow an organization’s programming to grow and be more effective?
  • The gift pyramid looks different –
    • We have been taught to think of gift pyramids as perfect equilateral triangles, but the current reality is that the pyramid is flatter – a campaign is likely to have a broader base, with fewer large donors. While the adage that 20-25 gifts are likely to make-or-break the campaign, an increased focus on the broader base of support will be needed to ensure success.

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Categories: Capital Campaigns, Fundraising & Philanthropy, Nonprofit, Strategic Planning


Patton McDowell & Associates is a consulting firm dedicated to helping nonprofits and charitable foundations achieve their goals. We maximize an organization’s resources and help it achieve strategic efficiency.


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