10 Ways To Multiply Your Campaign Impact
Rick Bragga, JD, CFRE, FAHP
Every campaign has two important cornerstones—the community needs that will be met and the money to meet those needs. However, another consideration is what else might be achieved in the halo effect of fundraising? Assuming you are setting the campaign as a priority, assigning staff and volunteers, and providing the resources, are there other issues that, if included, would benefit from the nature and structure of a campaign? Why simply achieve your campaign goal when you could have an immediate and a lasting multiplier effect—if you just plan carefully? Integrating items such a branding, public relations, volunteerism, human resources, and others into the campaign provides both a platform and vehicle to more easily and effectively accomplish these goals than if implemented separately.
Every audience, from prospects to donors and from inside to outside the organization, can be impacted by strategically adjusting the campaign to include goals and objectives that are related to the third cornerstone of a successful campaign—non-monetary benefits. This article describes ten key areas that can easily be woven into the campaign plan to broaden and deepen the reach of the hospital or system. With these objectives included, the impact can be both immediate and long-term.
1. Raise visibility—internally.
There’s nothing like the intensity and comprehensive nature of a campaign to raise the profile of the development staff and volunteers internally. Does most of your organization know about fundraising happening on their behalf? Whether it is grateful patients, interaction with departments that are impacted by the campaign, or key physicians that are essential, plan to make time and explain who we are, what we do, and how they are involved while demonstrating the value of campaign successes. Additionally, ensure campaign themes must become part of the president’s and other leadership’s key presentation notes. It will pay off now and in the future.
2. Raise visibility—externally.
Campaigns generally have bigger goals and more connections through electronic and person-to-person vehicles, including group and individual meetings and live or over the phone individual time. This is your chance to reconnect and to reach out to new prospects, donors and community leaders. Take some chances and provide educational opportunities with nontraditional donors and those who are key to your community. Even if some don’t donate this time or give at a smaller level, you have established or enhanced a relationship. Dynamically tell the story, and they will tell it to others. This produces pride among the employees, medical staff, community, and volunteers in the success of the campaign. This increased visibility advances the institution and prepares the organization for the next major fundraising initiative.
3. Create/Enhance staff integration.
Making sure everyone has a campaign-related role and feels a part of the campaign is important. There will be increased requests and other communication among the philanthropic team. Reassessment is an often accompanying element in a campaign. This is the time to determine who is ready to step up and take a leadership or advanced role. There may also be staff who have skill sets that meet the specifics of the campaign. Many times, prior to a campaign, development departments and foundations conduct an assessment to ensure that they have the resources and preparation necessary to conduct the campaign. There may even be a demonstrated need for additional staff across the organization. The best development performers rise to the top.
4. Create/Enhance institutional integration.
How connected is your staff to the hospital/ system functions such as various clinical departments, finance, and nursing? Do they see you as an ally, or do they not see you at all? A campaign is a great reason to build confidence and understanding among these departments.
“In the Marshall University’s Comprehensive Campaign, Marshall Rises, staff and institutional integration/communication have been enhanced significantly,” said Dr. Ron Area, CEO of the Marshall University Foundation, Inc. “For example, through our contacts with the Hearst Foundation in New York City, Marshall Health and our School of Medicine received a $250,000 grant in the area of Addiction Sciences of which they were previously unaware. It has broadened and expanded the connections between the Medical School and our Health System.”
Utilized properly, a campaign will bring the organization together, break down barriers, produce a common purpose, and eliminate or diminish fiefdoms. No doubt your CEO and human resources department can provide critical local insight.
5. Create/Enhance culture of philanthropy.
Commitment, engagement, and involvement are critical to establishing an environment where everyone knows about philanthropy and their role. Campaigns, due to their size and impact, get the attention of your CEO and the administrative team at all levels.
According to Dr. Ron Area, “The continued success of the campaign has built upon our culture of philanthropy. Our Board of Directors is more engaged by not only stretching their personal financial commitment but more importantly, they are more active in spreading the campaign message to their friends and colleagues.”
If you don’t have a culture of philanthropy or need to improve yours, a campaign is a valuable vehicle to move the organization forward.
6. Build/Enhance donor relationships.
While not every relationship will result in an immediate donation, many will and set the stage for a larger commitment to the next project or campaign.
“In our campaign, we have had several examples of benefits beyond just the contributions of cash,” said Susan Hafkemeyer, Executive Director of the Mercy Health Foundation at Mercy Medical Center–Dubuque. “We are very missiondriven and take every opportunity to tell our story. At a conference I attended a few years ago, one phrase stuck out—’capital campaign asks should be transformational, not transactional for the donor.’ We have taken the opportunity to build strong donor relationships beyond the monetary benefits. We partnered with an existing vendor to not only give a major gift but to provide a coffee station allowing the donor to showcase their brand and provide comfort to caregivers waiting for patients during treatment. In addition, we have several new relationships which we are hopeful will eventually be lifelong donors. Having a campaign, no matter what the area of need, has given us the opportunity to connect with people that we might not have otherwise.”
7. Create opportunities for staff to advance.
For your staff, campaigns can be the stairway to stardom in your institution or the ticket to a larger role somewhere else. Have you had individual conversations with the departmental team to determine what they want to accomplish in the campaign? What discussions have been held individually to discuss their potential in this unique opportunity to grow and perform? Campaigns can increase the skill set of development staff.
8. Create situations for volunteer leaders to shine.
Are you recruiting the next generation of leaders? Are you building excellent opportunities for them in your campaign? Have you matched them with appropriate positions in the campaign to prove or stretch their commitment and accomplishments The best volunteer performers rise to the top.
9. Find/Develop prospect relations.
Additional benefits to these efforts for fundraising are uncovering a new group of major donor prospects, increasing the overall donor base of support, and focusing donors on the institution’s major priorities. This diversifies and expands your pool of support and gives you new input and feedback from the community.
10. Raise the sights of your donors, employees, doctors, prospects, staff, and the entire organization about the future needs and potential.
A campaign can also help build a base for future requests to support additional operational resources through fundraising. Especially if you are aware of future needs or a next phase to the campaign, you can utilize the current conversations to uncover and cultivate interest in future projects. While every hospital or health system has its own unique characteristics, this article has laid out a pathway and addressed the major strategies that can lead you to ultimate campaign triumph. Your general actions will include creating and communicating a vision, image enhancement, individual/group engagement and participation, building relationships, and storytelling/education to advance your institution.
Whether you implement one or all of these valuable suggestions in your next campaign, think big. Imagine more than the money and what it can do! Be sure to address, in advance, the other cornerstone of a really successful campaign. Set a vision for the non-monetary components of the campaign, then plan, set objectives, and evaluate so that you can precisely report the impact and benefits. You’ll be amazed at the results.