Here's What You Missed – Transforming Your Nonprofit through a Campaign

photo of caterpillar with shadow of a butterfly emerging from the side of itGetting your board and staff ready for fast and exciting times

March 2019 Educational Breakfast:

Over 60 fundraising professionals gathered for breakfast at the Embassy Suites Milwaukee Brookfield, our sponsor for this event, to hear from two dynamic campaign fundraisers.

Presenters Lisa Attonito, Executive Director of Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee, and Joseph Brooks, CFRE, Senior Director of Donor Services at Greater Milwaukee Foundation, have raised over $400 million across multiple Southeastern Wisconsin organizations. Representing large and small shops, they walked participants through the campaign stages, from getting your board trained to taking the campaign public.

So what makes a campaign transformational? The presenters suggested to look back at the history of your organization and look at any large change. There was a campaign that made that change happen, even if it was not a formal fundraising campaign. Transformational campaigns create a framework to get internal and external constituencies excited and on message while doing our everyday work at a faster pace with a dedicated deadline.

Transformational campaigns are also comprehensive: all dollars count from every source, all units benefit and all constituents play a role in ensuring the success of the campaign.

It is important that you create focus and messaging for everyone from your C-Suite board members that require big vision to your finance team that may need to create new gift acceptance policies to match the volume of gifts you will be receiving.

The presenters diverge strategies when it came to a few topics including engaging campaign firms, doing a feasibility study and working with organizational leaders.

Both sized shops agreed that creating a good volunteer experience is invaluable. Seek out board members who understand fundraising or can be taught and use them strategically. Perhaps someone can lend their name to an invitation or another can be a liaison from the campaign committee to the greater board.

At every stage of the campaign, it is important to evaluate progress and update volunteers accordingly. Lisa and Joseph reiterated that not every campaign plan will work for every campaign, make sure the fit and process are what needs to happen for your organization.

Have a topic idea for future professional development opportunities?  Contact Julie Cordero from the AFPSEWI Education Committee at