Q. Can we run multiple campaigns simultaneously without cannibalizing the annual campaign effort?

Multiple campaign pathsA. The biggest problem with running simultaneous campaigns is the potential for confusion.

The Donor

If a donor is asked to donate to 3 different campaigns from the same organization, he/she is unlikely to give to all of them – or at least not at a meaningful level. If you announce all of the options at once, are you asking the donor to pick the one that appeals to them most and just donate to that one? If you announce the various campaigns over a few months or a year, you are opening up the possibility that a donor gave a check last month for the new chairs initiative but would rather have funded the new organ drive that was just announced.

How are you going to handle the frustration of a donor who just wrote a 4, 5 or 6 figure check but now feels their money would have been better directed elsewhere? It doesn’t seem to be a long-term engagement strategy.

The Staff

And the confusion has the potential to extend to staff. Not only does a staff person need to determine how and when to approach the donor, but for which cause. If they turn you down for one, do you offer up another potential campaign? By the third option, is the donor thinking you are wonderfully diversified or simply desperate for any money from them?

Where should the development office focus? Is there a campaign that is more or less important? If so, why are you asking donors to invest in a third-priority campaign that may never reach its goals?

Keep it simple, most particularly with the donor as the center of your attention. It will be easier—and, ultimately, far more lucrative—for everyone involved.