ACA Conference Workshop Presenter: Rob Brown: General Manager, Camp Chief Hector
Raising money for camps is different than it is for other organizations and in a lot of ways, it might be easier. This is because many people have had positive, even life-changing, experiences at camp and can see the benefit it has for our children and youth. In this session at the ACA Annual Conference Rob Brown talked about how he utilizesvolunteers to help with fund development. Your volunteers and alumni are people you already know well, trust and are passionate about your camp. In many instances, they are grateful to be asked to help.
Your job as the Camp Director or manager is to recruit volunteers. Though you will be involved in the fundraising efforts in some capacity, but your focus will be to recruit and hire volunteers to do the work for you.
Volunteers need to be assigned specific roles and clear jobs to do. Without proper project management, volunteers might feel like they are wasting their time and lose interest in volunteering. Here are some key roles you can assign to your volunteers:
Campaign Chair/Fund Development Chair: This person will recruit campaign members. They can manage your campaign planning, organize the meetings and delegate tasks to other committees and volunteers. Their major job is to identify and recruit campaign members and ask other volunteers for donations as well as manage the campaign planning.
Event Managers: These people will coordinate events as a project manager. Your event managers can identify the objective of the event, coordinate volunteers and staff, work with others to organize marketing the event, vendors, etc. Be careful not to burn out your volunteers by asking the same person to manage all the events. You can have different managers for every event.
Donor Curation: These people will seek out donors and people who are able to give to your campaign. This work is suited for a good administrator. This person will analyze data of past and current campers and camper families, curate the data and find the people that are most likely to be big supporters and donors. Once the top prospects are identified, 10-15 prospects, they can be passed on to the fund development staff or camp director so they can make contact, get to know them and make specific asks for camp.
Social Media Coordinator: This person will manage your camp’s presence online. You can create and post content for your fundraising campaign. Take your photos taken by your staff over the summer and create campaign pieces that show your brand and shares information about your campaign. Give your social media coordinator access to your photos and have them make the posts.
Donor Stewardship: This person will make sure that donors are recognized and thanked. This person will also facilitate donor retention activities. Some people hang banners or plaques of recognition that show how long each donor has given, located somewhere that it is prominently displayed. This will encourage donors to keep giving. Basically, this person is just in charge of saying thank you.
Campaign Training: This person should have some fund development experience and be able to provide training to campaign members. This person should know the fundamentals of fundraising, attend your staff meetings and provide campaign training to help create a culture of learning and continual improvement.
All the Good Things
If you bring on volunteers for a specific position, you should put a time limit on it. Term lengths make more productive volunteers. As a volunteer, it is hard, and it takes commitment. It’s easier to put in the extra energy when there are an end date and people are more likely to put in everything that they have. They can renew their commitment at the end of their term.
Meetings & Planning
Example of Camp Chief Hector’s yearly cycle:
Camp Chief Hector's fund development cycle includes a planning retreat, campaign kickoff, internal asks and external asks, events, more events and campaign celebrations! Your planning retreat will help determine all the details of the fundraising events including job assignments and a schedule. Your internal asks are when you ask your stakeholders, staff and volunteers to help with the campaign. You bring them up to speed on what you’re doing and tell them how they can help. This includes asking them to donate.
For everyone of those activities you can have a start or kick off day, a promotional activity, a reflection period of the event and campaign and then add those comments and notes into next years plan. This creates a continuous cycle of improvement.
Who are your best volunteers?
Alumni, previous campers, parents, current staff, churches, support groups. Every camp will have a different pool of people that are passionate about their mission. Find those people, give them specific jobs and allow them to turn that passion into donations.