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Economic Development Campaigns

Economic development projects and initiatives often require substantial funding that well exceeds any chamber's standard operating budget. To bring on the expert staff, consulting support, marketing ability and other skills and assets necessary to execute a major economic development effort, most chambers need support above the membership rate card. A multi-year strategic fundraising campaign is the most common solution to this challenge.

Multi-year strategic funding campaigns raise money through corporate pledges to support a specific economic development project or initiative. Typically 3 to 5 years in length, the results often is hundreds of thousands to several million dollars dedicated to “move the needle” types of initiatives. Some key things to consider about economic development campaigns:
  • Identify and Engage Key Players Early – Successful campaigns always have strong corporate champions. Recruit and engage them early in the process.
  • Develop a Plan – Economic development campaigns are about vision and faith in the future. You need a specific plan that is relevant (meets recognized needs), realistic (can be achieved) and casts a long-term vision as a basis to solicit support. There are several firms (see below) that can help with the economic forecasting and analysis necessary to develop a good plan.
  • Packaging Counts - As they say in politics, always be “on message”. The case for support must be compelling, clear, concise and metric driven.
  • Who Should Make the Ask? - Campaigns involve lots of calls to solicit pledges. Engaging the right volunteers to make those calls is fundamental to success. It will be much harder for a business owner to tell her biggest customer no than it would be to tell you no.
  • Tracking and Reporting - Communication throughout the life of the initiative is critical if you ever hope to raise funds for another project in the future. Track progress on your plan's goals based on measurable metrics and keep your funders informed.
You do not have to enter an economic development campaign alone. Here are several partners who can help:

Convergent Nonprofit Solutions
Convergent helps chambers and other nonprofits raise the money needed to produce the outcomes that funders value. Their fundraising process is scalable to fit the needs of almost any nonprofit, no matter the size, scope or mission. Convergent has worked with hundreds of nonprofits organizations in the U.S. and internationally. Access their 2-part series on talent as an economic development driver and how you can get funding for it: Funding Solutions
Funding Solutions provides comprehensive analysis, fundraising strategies & implementation, leading to success for client organizations & communities. Funding Solutions focuses on three basic areas of development that are critical to the overall success of a local market or organization: Economic & Community Betterment Solutions, Strategic Development Solutions, and Leadership Solutions.

Market Street Services
Market Street Services brings original insights and clarity to the evaluation and revitalization of the places where people live, work, and grow. Market Street inspires trust in all community stakeholders-citizens, educators, leadership and industry-because our holistic, proactive process takes into account all the aspects that shape community life. Through honest and informed assessments, Market Street can equip you with the tools to create meaningful change. Our solutions successfully merge our unique vision with your economic and social realities.

National Community Development Services
NCDS provides fundraising campaigns for chambers of commerce and economic and community development groups across North America. NCDS pioneered the multi-year strategic initiative funding model for chambers of commerce and economic development councils. Their Economic Strategy Center produces ROI data and analysis for all NCDS campaigns.

Power 10 Fundraising- Working on site with their clients, they drive every step of the campaign process, they "make the Ask," and work overtime to minimize the disruption to existing operations.

Resource Development Group
Resource Development Group offers planning and funding services to economic development providers across the country. Resource Development Group prides itself on providing the most professional, cutting edge campaign management process available. All client engagements include utilization of RDG’s goal setting methodology and RDG’s online Campaign Manager System.

Learn more about ACCE's Capital Campaign Council group members.

Campaign Examples

ACCE Resources

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Last updated: 8/3/2017

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