Setting up a new Annual Fund (AF) Campaign is one of the tasks performed annually by a development office in preparation for an upcoming fiscal year. In Veracross, a campaign is defined as how money comes in, which means that the campaign is for a set period of time and is for a specific purpose. In the case of an Annual Fund Campaign, the period of time is normally a single fiscal year, and the purpose is for regular, on-going expenses.
Since the configuration does happen on a routine basis, it is important to configure each AF campaign correctly to keep gift data organized. This article provides instructions for setting up a new AF campaign to allow the development office to track AF gifts the most efficiently and effectively throughout the course of the campaign.
The first steps in setting up a new AF campaign involve creating a new campaign record and associating that new campaign record with the appropriate funds. Each section below describes what information needs to be added on each tab of the campaign detail screen.
The General tab on a campaign record is where the most basic information is added. To add a new campaign:
- On the Development homepage, hover over the button and select “Campaigns.”
- Fill in the basic information in the General tab (detailed below), and click , which will enable the rest of the tabs.
Description: The Description field should contain the name of the campaign. It is best to keep the name consistent from year to year, just changing the year itself. For example, the AF Campaign for the 2016-2017 school year might be “Annual Fund 16-17,” and the subsequent AF campaign would be “Annual Fund 17-18.” Keeping the description the same allows the development office to identify which campaigns are AF campaigns at a glance.
Target Amount: This field is optional, but it is a helpful figure to include. Once gifts start coming in, the Target Amount is a good metric for comparing expectations with how well solicitation is proceeding.
Start Date and End Date: These fields should correspond to the beginning and ending dates of the AF fiscal year. The dates are extremely important and must be populated, as they determine which Development Roles a person has when a gift is given, as well as which households should have Giving History records created at the start of the campaign. In short, these dates must be populated in order to facilitate accurate reporting.
The Admin tab is where a campaign is designated as an AF campaign and where additional parameters are added that allow for accurate gift management. Set a campaign to completed only when the campaign’s end date has passed and you wish to prevent additional changes to the campaign.
Annual Fund Year: The Annual Fund Year field is what designates a particular campaign as an AF campaign, and it represents the fiscal year with which the AF campaign is associated. The Annual Fund Year should be set to the fiscal year one year ahead of the current school year.
Annual Fund School Year:The Annual Fund School Year is automatically set the year prior to the Annual Fund Year. It is not configurable.
Giving Category Group: For an AF campaign, the Giving Category Group field should always be set to Annual Fund. Learn more about Donor Giving Categories.
- This field relates to the school’s Donor Giving Categories for the Annual Fund (as set in the Giving Category Group field). Donor Giving Categories are determined using a minimum amount. The Giving Category Giving Definition field tells the system how to calculate the totals for each household so that the system can determine in which Donor Giving Category the household belongs for this AF campaign. The default setting is Total Giving, which includes donations, donation soft credits, outstanding pledges, and outstanding pledge soft credits. While it is up to the school to decide how gifts should be calculated to be included in a Donor Giving Category, it is best to keep the calculation method the same for each AF campaign to ensure consistency.
Summary by Role, Donations, Pledges, Events, and Summary Reports
These tabs are not configurable. Rather, they serve as reports that provide information about campaign giving. Each tab presents an embedded query of reports, gifts, or events that have been associated with the campaign, and will be updated in real time as data is entered into the system.
While the campaign defines how the money comes in, funds determine where the money goes.
Use the Funds tab to associate the appropriate funds with this campaign.
- To add a fund, click its name from the Available Funds column on the left, which adds it to Active Funds on the right.
- To remove a fund, click its name in the right column.
A campaign can support multiple funds.
The Giving Detail tab displays the total giving, total donations, total pledges, and pledge balance for the campaign.
- Click the “Detail” link or the button to open the Giving History screen, which contains comprehensive data on giving by the donor to the campaign.
- Click the constituent’s last name link to open the donor’s Household record.
Once the campaign record has been configured initially, review additional details in order to ensure accurate reporting and gift management.
The Development homepage offers users a set of seven parameters at the very bottom of left hand column.
Of these seven parameters, two play a significant role in the daily tasks performed by development officers: Active Campaign and Active Fiscal Year.
The Active Campaign parameter should be set when the school is accepting gifts primarily for a new campaign. While it is still possible to record gifts for older campaigns, the Active Campaign parameter sets the default value for several queries and reports. Thus, if the majority of the gifts coming in are for the new campaign, the Active Campaign parameter should be updated to reflect that most reports will be used to find those gifts.
The Active Fiscal Year parameter should set itself automatically, as it is based on the school’s pre-set fiscal year dates. Nevertheless, it is in a school’s best interest to verify that the parameter is set to the correct value at the beginning of a new AF campaign.
Once a new campaign record has been created, the development office may wish to assign individual solicitors to a particular group of constituents. Veracross offers solicitation group functionality to allow development offices to define their own constituent groups and solicitors.
While these groups can be configured at any time, best practice dictates that the school creates the groups after the creation of the new campaign record, but prior to the start date of the new campaign. Read more about solicitation group functionality or specific details on creating solicitation groups and assigning constituents.
After the campaign record has been set up, the parameters have been updated, and the solicitation groups created, the development office should be fully prepared to begin a new campaign. After it has officially started, next steps will vary from school to school, but will often involve running Development Summary and/or Development Constituent reports, managing appeals and fundraisers, and creating acknowledgement letters. If any questions regarding setting up a new campaign have not been answered in the information above, please contact your Veracross Account Manager for additional information.