Reevaluating the Camp, Part 2

The YMCA has very established ways in running annual campaigns, from recruiting volunteers to work on the campaign to the actual gift asking and soliciting. We encourage any and all camp directors to research campaigns and design the one that best fits your organization and need.

There are annual campaign trainings and fundraising seminars. Research is the first step. Include in your research how to make the ask.

As for Camp Kern we changed our campaign from being a mail-out pledge card campaign to a team phone call and letter of solicitation campaign.

We organized board and staff members into teams, recruited campaigners from the committees and outside, set goals, had training and provided samples and guides to everything from letters for past donors and cold contacts. It was fun!

It is essential that once you set off down this road that you set up trainings for your campaigners and staff. Create an internal support system for your campaigners to call for help and materials. Giving samples of letters and even scripts of what to say will help. Cue cards with major points to remember are beneficial. But most of all make sure that, no matter what the project, you clearly explain what their money will be used for.

Sometimes fundraising has a bad stigma. Truthfully, I hated fundraising for years. Only in the past five years did I realize how much fun it is.

Unless your ideas cost nothing, and unless you have unlimited capital to improve you camp and add new structures and programs, fundraising will be a part of your camping career.

The idea of asking people for money is difficult. But remember, there are people out there who share your passion for what you do. Share your passion and your story, and those people will be there to help you accomplish it. Why? Because they are accomplishing something they care about through you.

Explain your vision, the goals you have set and how you want to reach them. There will be those who don’t agree, and those who do. With each yes you come closer to accomplishing all that you have set out to do! Good luck.

Jeff Merhige is the executive director of YMCA Camp Kern, Dayton YMCA, Dayton, Ohio.

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Related posts:

  1. Reevaluating the Camp, Part 1
  2. Dream to Reality
  3. Building for the Future
  4. The Recognition Factor
  5. Collaborative Programming

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