5 Key Elements of Fundraising Success

by Virginia Fallis with much nodding and concurring from Chuck Hammond

Our experience of over 25 years has taught us that there are five undeniable, non-negotiable elements that must be in place for campaigns to be successful.  These elements may take unique shape at each organization, but they are, in spirit, fundamental to fundraising success:

  1. A compelling vision and well constructed Case for Support.  The Case for Support must include an articulation of the undeniable community need for the project, evidence of thoughtful, detailed and believable budgets and timelines, and endorsements from recognizable community opinion-makers willing to provide leadership for the project.
  2. A Board of Directors that endorses the vision and are willing to provide the following:  early personal financial support; a willingness to solicit gifts for the project;   leadership in identifying and recruiting others to join the effort; leadership in identifying and cultivating campaign prospects; and oversight for the campaign.
  3. Visible, credible and engaged Campaign leadership consisting of an individual or individuals with the access and influence who are engaged in soliciting major leadership commitments.
  4. Sufficient prospects, each of which has been cultivated and stewarded over a period of time, to provide major leadership commitments during the early stages of the fundraising effort.  A multimillion dollar campaign will be successful only if there is a sufficient number of donors at the six or seven figure levels.
  5. A well-staffed, well-organized development department that provides the infrastructure necessary to support volunteers and manage the day-to-day activities of a fundraising program.