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What’s the best way to organize your campaigns, funds, appeals, and events?

Posted February 25, 2021 by Hunter Williams

Organize gift coding in LGL

This post was originally published in 2017. It has recently been updated with new information.

What’s the best way to organize your campaigns, funds, appeals, and events in Little Green Light?

This is a common question, and we frequently see data stored in a way that makes answering it more confusing than helpful. We recently updated our infographics and have recorded some training webinars to clarify this often complicated process.

How are campaigns, funds, appeals/events, and gift types/gift categories defined?

This handy infographic lays it all out. Additional details follow.

LGL Gift coding

 

Campaigns should be broad, overarching fundraising efforts. If you have, or even if you just imagine having, a large fundraising team with several directors, how would you organize the staff? This is a good way to think about campaigns as well—each campaign represents a coordinated set of activities with a specific objective.

As you name your campaigns, you should also consider separating activities related to a single operating year from those that are about longer term fundraising. That way you can quickly see how much money you’ve raised for your immediate needs (a very useful data point).

Funds answer the question, “Where is this money headed?” In other words, are the funds earmarked for a particular program? Your funds should map to your classes in your accounting software.

Appeals and events both answer the question, “How did we raise this money?” Surely, you did something (or, if not, you could assign it to an appeal called “Unsolicited”). Gifts should be assigned to either an appeal or an event, not both.

Gift categories are a good way to classify the type of contribution you’re receiving, such as a donation versus an event fee. Your gift categories should map to your chart of accounts or products/services list in your accounting software.

Together, these fundraising attributes will give you a greater ability to measure your progress against your goals and to track your year-over-year improvements.

 

Note: You do not need to create a new campaign for every fiscal year. Each gift you receive will already be tied to a specific gift date and deposit date. So whenever you want to run date-specific queries, use those date fields. That way you won’t end up with dozens of campaigns.

On the other hand, you will likely create new appeals for every year, because you’ll have a new solicitation list each time.

Example uses of the gift coding options

This infographic provides examples of how to use the gift coding options that are available.

Gift coding in LGL infographic

 

If you want to learn more about how to implement these practices in LGL, please review our help documentation on Campaigns and funds and on Appeals and Events.

You’re also welcome to watch our free, recorded webinar trainings on Gift Coding 101 and Advanced Gift Coding.

14 thoughts on “What’s the best way to organize your campaigns, funds, appeals, and events?

  1. Feedback….the text in your infographics is hard to read due to size, color and font choice….could you make them downloadable or enlarge so they are not so small?

    1. Sherri,

      Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve added links to a downloadable pdf for both of the infographics in the article.

      Timi

  2. If I am soliciting donations using multiple types of fundraising (say for emergency COVID funds), like a direct mailer, and a email, would i create two separate appeals? Or would I just create one appeal and segment it. Also lets say I have a GoFundMe connected. Can I enter those gifts under the appeal?

    1. Hi Adam,

      You can absolutely track all of those different solicitations under one Appeal using Segments. And, yes you can upload your GoFundMe donations to that Appeal as well. Feel free to reach out to our support team if you have further questions at support@littlegreenlight.com.

      Thanks,
      Timi

  3. Within my organization, we often have donors supporting multiple programs (funds, by LGL terminology) but writing singular sum checks with designations that $5K of a $25K gift support one initiative while the remaining $20K support another. How would you advise I record the receipts of these funds in LGL? If I record each sum check as one payment received, it appears I can only assign one fund to the money. If I were to break down the $25K, for example, into two smaller portions, however, the donor’s profile then indicates a different number of gifts received than checks/gifts I have in the organization’s bank account to match. All recommendations and ideas are welcome—and I’d love to see LGL add a multiple-fund feature to the platform!

    1. I’m curious to know if you found an answer to this question, or a workaround that you might have come up with for recordkeeping in this situation! Thanks in advance if you are able to share!

  4. If you have a recurring monthly gift, the initial money came in from an old direct mail appeal (2017DMS), would you still use the same appeal going forward for the monthly gift or should the 2017DMS appeal be closed off once in 2018?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Margaret,

      Great question! I’d suggest sending this question to our support team or connect with fellow users in our Facebook community for their insights on best practices.

      Thanks,
      Timi

  5. I am still a teeny bit confused. If I wanted to have multiple people running individual campaigns for the umbrella campaign, I would create individual appeals for each person to use?

    1. Hi Eileen,

      Sorry about that broken link. I’ve corrected it and you should be able to download the pdf now.

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