Nor is it a Fund, but more on that later . . .
: happening once a year
: covering the period of a year
of a plant : living for only one year or season : having a life cycle that is one year or season long
(“Annual.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2016.)
: an amount of money that is used for a special purpose
funds : available money
: an amount of something that is available for use : a supply of something
(“Fund.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2016.)
So, then, an “Annual Fund” is an amount of money that is used for a special purpose happening over the course of a year.
If your fiscal year is July 1 – June 30, does your mission end at 11:59:59 on June 30 and start again at 12:00:00 on July 1? Is there a split second when that mission is fulfilled and then starts again?
From the organizational perspective, yes, we can say that “Last year the annual fund raised $500,000 and hit goal!” But from a donor-centered perspective, the “annual fund” is ongoing and never-ending. An annual fund donor is supporting the heart of the mission, the very reason for its existence. And that’s not just a one-year thing.
Sure, “General Operating Support” isn’t sexy. Neither is “annual fund.” But if your mission doesn’t end, neither does your annual fund.