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  What should you count towards your goal? Frequently Asked Questions

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You should count according to what is in the CASE standards.

Some organizations separate the counting into what would be considered capital or special projects from annual fund. This is usually done where you don't want a campaign to impact the annual totals and want to separate the asks to donors.

If you don't have it in place already, you should have a strategy for moving to the "double ask" where you solicit donors regularly for their annual fund gifts, and for an additional campaign gift. The silent phase of a campaign is a good time to implement this and start the education of your prospects to let them know that a campaign or major gift doesn't mean that you don't need their ongoing annual support.

Most organizations use the comprehensive approach which is to count everything in the door during the silent phase. Again,  counting should be according to CASE standards, since there is always the temptation to want to make the pre-announcement number as high as possible before kick off.

Make sure you have policies and procedures in place for donor agreements and other paper that confirms gifts and pledge schedules and places the onus on donors to fulfill their obligations. You don't want to artificially inflate numbers and have to back  them out once the campaign is announced because of verbal or loose commitments made in the excitement of the moment that will never materialize.

Most organizations pick a date and start counting from that point forward, however, there are typically exceptions for certain major gifts that might fall outside the campaign period and need to be included for marketing purposes.

When this happens you need to make sure you're not double counting by having them appear in the totals for a previous campaign. From a systems perspective you have to remember to hard code these gift id's into all of your campaign reports and related data extractions.

The strategy for a silent phase is to try and run in this phase until you get to about 40% to 50% of your goal. You don't what to have the silent phase running too long and lose momentum with your donors.

This speaks to the importance of doing a campaign feasibility study and having a campaign strategy in place before you start.

Many campaigns can be precipitated by the receipt of a major gift, and they sometimes proceed without the requisite planning and strategy development that is so important at the onset to ensure ultimate success in the future.
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