October 31, 2014


Ten campaign agreements

Karin Cox

Karin Cox

[Publisher's note: This article was provided by Hartsook Companies, Inc., a full-service fundraising consulting firm. Hartsook Companies, Inc., is a PJ business partner.]

Your case for support is clear and compelling, your board and campaign leadership committee members have made their commitments, and your prospects have been identified and qualified. 

You're ready to begin cultivating and soliciting top prospects. 

Before you step out, ask your campaign leadership to make these promises to each other to avoid reaching that dreaded plateau and keep all of you moving in the same direction. 

  • No asking on the phone

We will ask for every major gift in person. We will call prospects to schedule appointments to talk about their support of our project.

  • No group asks

We will ask for every gift individually. We will not ask a group of people to support us.

  • No negativity

We will remain positive and forward-looking. We will stay focused on the mission, the promise, and lives that will be changed as a result of this project.

  • No Premature Asks

We will wait until every prospect is ready to be asked, regardless of our timeline and urgency. We will make sure our prospects know and care enough to say "yes" to our request for a stretch gift.

  • No pledge sheet asks.

We will use the pledge sheet only to follow up on gift commitments.  We will not use the pledge sheets as a prop to ask.

  • No saying "No" for prospects

We will let our prospects decide their level of commitment. We will not decide, because of circumstances we believe to be true, they do not want to be involved in this project.

  • No open-ended asks

We will ask each person for a specific amount for a specific purpose. We will not ask anyone for "whatever they would like to give."

  • No leaving the ball in their court

We will retain the right to follow up. When we ask for a gift or make contact, we will let prospects know when they can expect a follow up.

  • No acting on our own

We will act on behalf of our organization as a part of a larger campaign plan. We will not decide, on the spur of the moment, who to ask, what to ask for, and who will make the ask. 

  • No leaving them hanging

We will follow up when we say we will. By doing this, we will show our prospects their gift matters, we are responsible, and they can trust us to do what we say we will do.

Karin Cox, MFA, is executive vice president and chief creative officer at Hartsook Companies, Inc., a fundraising consulting firm.


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