Campaign and initiatives’ fundraising labels bring visceral and practical baggage for volunteers and fundraisers. Campaign implies an extensive infrastructure, lots of meetings, years of work, and a big goal. Initiative implies less of all of the above.
Campaign aversion: Many volunteers have a visceral reaction to the notion of a campaign. Seasoned volunteers have lived through campaigns and may not have fond memories of the rating and screening meetings and needing to pick up the phone to pursue the prospects on their list – for years.
Initiative attraction: Initiative conveys forward-thinking, stealthy, and finite. They don’t require significant infrastructure and could be staff driven without formal volunteer structures.
Decision tree: Both require raising major gifts from informed donors. If you have enough informed donors who are capable and ready to give or nearly ready to give to make your goal, then an initiative is the way to go. If you need to find new donor candidates, educate them, cultivate them and then secure their gifts to make goal, then a campaign model makes sense.