We recently held a panel discussion for nonprofits to learn about successful endowment campaigns, which are built on strong partnerships between key staff and trustees. During the discussion, moderated by Elizabeth B. Wagner, Senior Vice President & Chief Philanthropy Officer at the Community Foundation, panelists offered some advice about undertaking endowment campaigns.
We want to thank our teams of panelists:
- Deborah Frazier, Executive Director and Albert Stark, Board Chair – National Junior Tennis & Learning of Trenton;
- Carleton Montgomery, Executive Director and James Barnshaw, Board Chair – Pinelands Preservation Alliance; and
- Jackie Simard, Development Officer, and Martha Sword, Campaign Chair – Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad
Here are ten of their tips:
- Strong relationships are the foundation for fundraising.
- The most important component of an endowment committee is its leadership.
- There are four “R’s” required for a successful campaign:Reputation – your organization must be known for providing excellent services.
- Research – you must be able to speak about your needs and determine who you will enlist to be a part of your team.
- Referrals – nonprofits should look to their community to figure out who will refer them to people who have the “fourth R.”
- Resources – figure out which people and foundations in your region have the resources to make a gift.
- Your team should have chemistry and shared goals.
- Think about how you might be able to transition endowment campaign donors to annual fund donors.
- Get a sense of the community of philanthropists for whom this cause is important.
- Be prepared – endowment campaigns aren’t linear and you must be prepared for questions from your donors.
- Remember, endowment is about legacy, and your legacy is often connected to the legacy of others.
- Don’t worry so much. If you are well-organized and communicate consistently, you will connect with people for whom there is value in what you are doing.
- Have fun! You will meet great people through your work on this campaign.