The campaign is finished. The thank-yous have been said and the money counted. However, before closing the book on a campaign for good, you should take one last look at it. The days immediately following a campaign are the time to analyze what went wrong and what went right, which fixes worked and which didn’t.
You should assess and review every fund-raising campaign, and you should make a record of what you find.
Evaluation is the final procedure in a well-organized fund-raising campaign, and the report you write based on that evaluation is the organized record of the knowledge you acquired. File that report and it will be a database for you to draw on. Hindsight is 20/20. Turn it into foresight for the next campaign.
All the participants in a campaign should be asked to evaluate their area of responsibility and the volunteers with whom they worked. You want to determine what the campaign did well and not so well, which expectations were realistic and which werenʼt, which tools worked and which didn’t, and who performed well and who didnʼt. Solicitors, team captains, division chairs, and campaign chairs should each make their own evaluation, but no evaluation is more important than that of the staff members charged with designing, organizing, and running campaigns. They, after all, are the ones who are going to have to manage the next campaign, so it is from their perspective that we will look at the evaluation process.
The farther away you get from a campaign, the less you and others will remember, and every day you delay your evaluation is a brick in the wall of inertia over which you must climb to start the process. Begin your revaluation the day after the close of the campaign.
Let’s start with the things you want to learn. What you wish to know about a campaign that can help with the next one can be determined by a campaign assessment and review for what was accomplished and what was learned.
In a word, organization. If all pre-kickoff activities were well conceived and executed, then the campaign in all likelihood will succeed, if its management and implementation are well organized. Good organization gives a campaign the means to maneuver around the tough spots and work through problems. It allows the campaign leadership to deal with the process of raising money rather than the process of managing a fund-raising campaign.
Good organization maximizes resources. Disorganization stretches resources to their breaking point. Good organization communicates and instills confidence in volunteers. Disorganization leaves workers out on a limb and gives them an excuse for not following through. Good organization is invisible to donors. Disorganization is the first thing they see. Good organization ensures that a campaign runs according to plan. Disorganization makes the time seem too short and the goal too high. Win or lose, good organization leaves a reward of knowledge. Win or lose, disorganization leaves a residue of confusion.
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