Every non-profit leader is familiar with the feeling: somewhere, about half-way through the campaign, you hit a dip. It happens every year, but I’m always amused at how unexpected this seems to everyone.

    An annual campaign may not last as long as a capital campaign, but it’s not a sprint. So let’s be proactive, planning ahead to re-energize the campaign and power through the inevitable slump.

    Here are some ideas:

    1. Plan a mid-campaign leadership rally. Celebrate successes up to that point. Share new testimonials and stories of impact. Recognize the behaviors that you know will lead to success in the long run, not just the dollars raised. Make sure to refill their vision buckets!
    2. Set monthly or weekly “pacing” goals. For example: 30% by end of January, 50% by end of February, etc. Convert those percentages to dollar goals for the end of each month and then divide to make them weekly goals. Now there are smaller goals to shoot for and to celebrate when the big goal still seems far away.
    3. Make weekly check in calls with all campaign leaders. Use this time to discuss issues as well as develop motivational challenges for the coming week.
    4. Send weekly campaign updates to all board members and campaigners.These should include recognition, impact stories, and helpful advice. Use data to make your points on where things are lagging. For example: “Renewals are currently at 33%. There are a lot of former donors still out there to be asked. Please make sure to talk with all of your past donors this week!”
    5. Are all your board pledges in? If not, let them know how it’s going (“10 of 12 are now in! Help us complete this important phase of the campaign.”) Ask campaign leaders to follow up with any uncommitted board leaders.

    It’s up to you to energize and motivate your volunteers. This is one of the most important jobs of staff during a campaign. The level of board campaigner activity is usually reflective of an energized and passionate leader. Help keep your volunteers focused and enthusiastic, especially during those inevitable lulls. Plan for the dip and rev it up again!

    What are some of your favorite ways to power through the dip?

    Posted by Peggy Vinson on Mar. 2, 2016
    Peggy Vinson

    Written by Peggy Vinson

    Since joining DBD in 2005, Peggy has coached executive staff and volunteers on increasing the effectiveness of their fundraising efforts. Peggy’s prescriptive approach focuses on the organization’s strengths and challenges. She meets her clients where they are, helping all to grow their fundraising skills. By developing strategic, measurable plans and skill sets, Peggy helps organizations not only meet their goals this year, but increase their capacity for the future.

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