Why “Annual” Campaigns Bother Me So Much

The phrase “Annual Campaign” feels empty and uninspiring to me. 

Why? Because I care deeply about kids, camp, and making a difference, NOT about your fundraising timeline.

So instead of framing your fundraising needs around an arbitrary calendar in an “annual campaign,” how about you tell me that my donation will go to work right away to make this summer awesome for a camper?  

Knowing that I can pay it forward this summer feels exciting and makes me emotional.  Make me feel in my bones that I'm making a difference. 

Paint a picture for me of the difference I can make if I give right now: 

“Your donation, given today, will help provide for scholarships, allowing a child to attend camp whose family is struggling to make ends meet.”

"Your gift, given now, will allow construction to start on a humongous climbing wall with a zip line where thousands of campers will overcome fears and create lasting memories.”

"With your help we can invite six young Jewish campers from Israel, France, and even China to join your child for the best summer ever.”

While “Annual Campaigns” bother me, I am a huge fan of fundraising. Fundraising gives me and the rest of your camp's donors, alumni, parents, and other fans the chance to stay connected to something we love, and we feel good when we give.  
This year, ditch the “Annual Campaign” language. Plan on fabulous fundraising by inspiring us all with specifics of what we can support right now. 

Written by Julia Riseman. Julia is a Mentor with JCamp 180 and the JCamp 180 Legacy Program Director. She also leads JCamp 180's Data2Donors program to advance Alumni outreach, improve camp databases, and raise more major gifts. Julia has also sparked the creation of many JCamp 180 programs and offerings, including this blog.

Who we are: JCamp 180 is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF). Our goal is to significantly enhance the long-term effectiveness of nonprofit Jewish camps in North America. To meet this goal, we provide affiliated Jewish camps with consulting services, annual conferences, shared resources, professional development, and matching grant opportunities. Find more at