The Seven Product Lines of the Annual Fund

Never underestimate the role of the Annual Fund. I’d like to point out a section of my book that opens Chapter 10, entitled “The Blueprint of an Annual Fund.” It contains the presentation of the seven product lines of the Annual Fund. These are common product lines under the collegiate model of development, a model that does not depend on special event revenues for repeatable, sustainable gifts.

The chart that presents the seven product lines with some hypothetical goals appears on page 124. It looks like this:

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Board of Directors Giving 30,000
Employee annual giving 25,000
Phonathon 8,000
Giving clubs 20,000
Board-inspired giving 20,000
Scholarships 50,000
Other 2,000
In Honor/memorial 5,000
Subtotal 160,000
Grant writer: Grants (annual) 90,000
Total 250,000

The model assumes the advancement office is a three-professional shop, staffed with a CDO, full-time director of annual giving, and a grant writer who works half-time on annual grants and half-time on major grants.

Using the table makes it easy to break out sub-goals that determine the success or failure of the Annual Fund. Note that Board of Directors giving, the phonathon, board-inspired giving, and grants are also excellent vehicles for restricted program revenue. You may notice there is no direct mail category here. I don’t often recommend what I think of as “bulk mail.” Instead, I break mail down into scholarship mail, giving clubs, and replace most bulk mail with the phonathon.

The most common methods by which many community colleges raise annual revenue are:

  • Employee annual giving
  • Special events
  • grants

If you’ll notice the dollar goal assigned solely to the director of annual giving above—$160,000—shows a pretty healthy bottom line assigned to this position without relying on events. Every dollar raised goes straight to the bottom line. While I advocate the use of a phonathon in place of undifferentiated direct mail, I do have a slight exception to that rule: renew the donor the way you acquired the donor. I use a targeted, highly personalized letter appeal that way, and I would guess you sometimes do, too.

But I also think that the launch of a phonathon could be a lucrative method by which to raise funds for annual unrestricted and scholarship support. Don’t forget the potential of a Parent’s Appeal via the phonathon. At Normandale Community College, I had my phonathon callers calling parents of current students between the ages of 18 and 22. It worked well, and I think it could work well for you. Read about how to launch a phonathon on pages 140-50.

Board-inspired giving, an initiative that targets selected peers of board members with letter appeals followed by a phone call from the board member is another means I have found to be effective for two-year colleges. Read about how to conduct a board-inspired giving campaign on pages 157-59.

Good luck, and good works to you all!

 

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