April 28, 2014

I get so frustrated with the term “annual fund.”

What does the term mean? Is it the once per year (how dumb was I) annual solicitation letter that I sent out 30 years ago when I was a development officer? And I even had letterhead that said Annual Fund?

What was I thinking? Did I actually think that someone would be emotionally touched by that term?

Everyone I know tells me that the “annual fund” is the annual letter sent out to everyone for annual operating support. Well… We should all know by know that for the direct mail segment of our donor/prospect base — we should be sending them different themed letters multiple times per year. Even if they responded to a previous solicitation. And why do we do that? Because if they love us enough, they give again. Not to the “annual fund.” But to the sad little kitty who needs a home. And the happy kitty who got home. And for kitty classes to help them develop their family skills so we can find them a kitty family.

And what is the annual fund? It’s everything that the organization does – every solicitation strategy – for the 12 month fiscal year…. To support annual operations / core program support. So that is what the annual fund is. Multiple direct mail letters with different themes spread over the fiscal year going to the direct mail segment. Personal face-to-face solicitation for gifts that support core program support and operations for the fiscal year. The fundraising special event you do each year for annual operating support and core programs.

All that is the annual fund. Not some letter! Please please please.

Next blog is about personal face-to-face major gift solicitation for annual operations/core program.

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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