Campaigns, Funds, & Event Terminology

Overview

The following is an outline of the logical order of events that most development offices go through.  At most organizations there are three primary means of arranging development activities; these are: funds, campaigns and events.

Campaign

In broad terms, a campaign and an event identify how a donation/pledge came in to an organization.

Funds

A fund identifies where that money will go in the organization.  To put it another way, an organization will identify a particular fund for which it would like to raise money and then it will set up one or more campaigns to go about raising that money.

Events

Within a particular campaign, there are likely events that happen to raise money for that campaign. Events could be something that a donor physically attends, such as an auction, banquet or a gala.  However, events can also be used to indicate that communication or any other interaction between the development office and a donor has happened. For example, a mailed appeal, thank you letter or phone call would also be events that are tracked.

Process

Here is a common example of how funds, campaigns and events are related. A school will probably have a fund called “Unrestricted Operating Fund”.  Each year the school will have a campaign whose purpose is to raise money for that fund.  The reason for creating separate campaigns for each year is to facilitate reporting for a single year as well as to compare the giving across years. For example, there might be two campaigns called “Annual Fund 2011-2012” and “Annual Fund 2012-2013.”

Within each campaign, the school will probably hold one or more events.  In our example, there might be four large events over the course of the 2012-2013 Annual Fund campaign: 1) an initial mailing soliciting people who gave last year, 2) a formal banquet, 3) a golf tournament and 4) a phone-a-thon.