Our Approach to Campaign Planning Studies

With an increasingly complex marketplace, nonprofit leaders need comprehensive market intelligence in order to plan a campaign destined for success.

These research-based services, hugely innovative when originally introduced, played a big part in the success of Marts & Lundy in our early days. Today, in much-enhanced and developed form, they continue to prove their value to clients time and time again.

In essence, Campaign Planning Studies enable us to offer you a robust qualitative and quantitative set of measures to inform a feasible campaign goal and what is required for success. With these measures, you can design and implement campaigns targeted on delivering the best achievable results. There are five main components, which may differ from client to client and campaign to campaign. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that the three key elements of a successful campaign are in place before you embark:

Your Case: How widely is your vision for the future understood and supported among both internal and external constituents? Are your fundraising priorities compelling to key stakeholders, including members of the Board, major donor prospects, and other friends and leaders?

Your Constituents: Where will the donations come from? Which individuals, companies, and foundations have a stake in your future and what is their capacity and inclination to give?

Your Catalysts: Who are the individuals making the compelling argument about the future of your organisation? Who will lead this effort on both a staff and volunteer level?

Readiness Assessment

Campaign Readiness Assessment

Your campaign is not likely to succeed if it does not positively engage your executive and volunteer leadership in a thoughtful, deliberate process — of which the campaign itself is the culmination. Our Campaign Readiness Assessment will answer these questions:

  • Do you have compelling and impactful fundraising priorities?
  • Do you have a sufficiently robust, engaged and well-managed donor and prospect pool to support your campaign?
  • Do you have the appropriate staffing and adequate budget for this campaign?
  • Do you have the appropriate volunteer management system in place?
  • Do you have sufficient volunteers identified?
  • Are the executive leaders and your Board committed to the campaign, and do they understand the time commitments required of them?
  • Do you have the right policies and procedures for gift acceptance and donor stewardship in place?
  • Do your systems, procedures and personnel support your processes in terms of record-keeping, prospect management, gift acceptance and acknowledgement and reporting?
  • Are your communications efforts with both internal and external audiences focused on key messages that support campaign initiatives?

Case Development

Case Development

Marts & Lundy’s Communications team brings decades of experience to our work with clients across the nonprofit spectrum. Most members of our team have served as frontline fundraisers. As a result, we are able to see communications through the eyes of donors.

Our process begins with developing the positioning platform – the key messages and talking points that will resonate with an external donor audience and inform the case for support. This work includes one-on-one and small-group interviews with a mix of senior executives, as well as key volunteers and donors who can offer an external perspective on the organisation and its impact. Our purpose at this stage is to connect with individuals who can help us capture the voice and tone of the organisation and begin to tease out responses to these fundamental questions:

Why us? What is it about the organisation that merits consideration of a person’s philanthropic support? What are your strengths and points of distinction? What opportunities lie ahead? How does your vision for the future inspire donors?

Why you? Why the donor? Why is there a need for philanthropy to strengthen and advance the organisation? How will the generosity of donors advance the organisation’s work and, importantly, its wider or specific impact on society?

Why now? Is there a sense of urgency to this campaign and the priorities that have been outlined?

The creation of the messaging platform will segue into the development of the campaign prospectus (preliminary case statement). Our process includes up to three drafts of the prospectus, allowing for feedback from leadership to refine and strengthen the document so that it represents the organisation’s strengths and future plans in the most compelling way.

The prospectus is intended for use with feasibility study interviews and therefore must resonate with the organisation’s top donor prospects. Typically, these are smart, savvy, busy individuals who will not spend time reading long, dense documents in preparation for their interviews. Therefore, the prospectus must balance brevity with substance and must marry logic with emotion (Why does this matter to me?). Our goal is always to move away from “industry-speak” to language that is accessible to and motivating for an external audience.

Feasibility Interviews

Feasibility Interviews

Our Feasibility Interviews add an important dimension in helping to develop a detailed strategy for the proposed campaign, further the longer-term philanthropic potential through identification and cultivation of prospective leadership gift donors and campaign volunteers, gauge interest in current priorities, and surface any concerns regarding leadership, governance and the organisation as a whole.

Typically these individual interviews focus on the very top key influencers. Marts & Lundy explores their responses to the vision and case in great depth, along with their willingness to be significantly involved in the effort through both giving and volunteering. All of the data collected over the interviews is then compiled to provide thoughtful, evidence-based feedback that can inform the direction of the campaign.

Constituent Surveys

Constituent Surveys

The world of market research has been transformed by the ability of online surveys to reach key market segments quickly and at very low cost.

External Surveys

Online external surveys are efficient and effective ways to:

  • Qualify existing prospects
  • Identify new prospects
  • Test your institution’s strategy and campaign priorities
  • Identify roadblocks to fundraising
  • Additionally, online external surveys can be a powerful way to engage your target groups and enrich cultivation.

We custom-design surveys to meet your institution’s needs, deploy the surveys, manage technical issues during deployment and analyse the results in conjunction with historical giving, engagement and demographic data from your master file. The surveys can be designed for all of your constituents or for segments, such as top prospects, major reunion-year alumni or organisation members.

We will provide you with a database including all responses and a written summary and analysis of results.


Internal Surveys

Confidential, third-party surveys of staff will help you gauge morale and measure the effectiveness of internal communications and processes. The arms-length nature of online internal surveys leads to frank input that can be vital as you build and manage a successful fundraising team.