A fundraising campaign has to be strategically executed. This assertion is not necessarily about doing some complex things. It simply has to do with keeping minute details in sight while seeing the big picture – a good (fundraising) return.
And this is the perfect time to get your act together and plan towards a fruitful fundraising campaign. This is why we have decided to share some tips on how to go about it with you – in this article. So, read on and be informed.
1. Set SMART Goal
Goal-setting should be a critical part of any credible project – whether fundraising or not. Ensuring that the goal is SMART is, however, of greater importance, and this is not in the literary sense of it. It is about you having a fundraising goal that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Let’s look at it more extensively while focusing on each variable.
Specificity is what makes your fundraising goal unique from others. This is, more or less, about defining your goal based on the vision or big picture you hold on to. At this point, you also have to outline the steps you will adopt to actualize the goal.
Goal measurability has to do with the actions taken towards tracking the goal’s progress as far as strategy execution is concerned. As for the goal being achievable, we stress the need to create something realistic. Yes, it’s cool to be optimistic, but you don’t have to do so blindly.
Calculated reasoning or logic should be factored in at this phase of setting your fundraising goal. To this end, you can resort to getting some clues from what was attainable from past fundraising projects.
Next, you have to ensure that the year-end fundraising goal is relevant to the entire (fundraising) project. As such, you may ponder on the percentage of the donation that can be raised through this year-end campaign. And the truth is that you can raise up to 50% of your annual donations through the period – some non-profits have achieved this percentage before.
Setting a time-bound goal simply means pinning a timeframe to the actualization of the goal. Though you may not be able to reach your fundraising goal through the year-end campaign, you should still set a time for it. At least, you will get to know when you will be bringing your year-end fundraising campaign to a close. Hence, as you draft your fundraising to-do list, you shouldn’t forget to develop a timeline.
2. Establish A Multi-Channel Communication Model
A multi-channel communication model is something you should work on while planning your year-end fundraising campaign. This would open up a broader means of getting across to prospective donors. Your chances of getting (more) donations will be further brightened. Email and social media rank among the most cost-effective and efficient communication channels you can use to reach your donors.
Other communication mediums, such as direct mail, traditional mail and website, are also very valuable for a year-end campaign. You can use two or more of these channels to set up a multi-channel communication model. In addition, you can also look to utilize phone calls or leverage your partnerships to an extent.
3. Work On Your Visuals And Theme
Attractive visuals are a luxury when it comes to your communication with prospective donors. These should be highlighted in your fundraising letter, email, social media messages, etc. Likewise, the theme of the message should be well-thought-out to strike a good chord. These elements will be handy while running ads to raise awareness about your campaign.
The communication elements have a way of endearing donors to non-profits. To an extent, they could become the vista through which donors perceive your non-profit organization – even at first encounter. A lot of fundraisers have gotten new donors – who later became long-term donors – by putting out quality visuals and themes. Remember that old saying that “a picture speaks more than a thousand words”?
4. Telling A Captivating Story
A captivating story sells like magic – pardon my marketing/business parlance. This is, however, nothing far from the truth when it comes to a year-end fundraising campaign. It may be a year-end or one-off activity, but the impact could last a lifetime with a good story. This can be down to the emotional connection your story arouses in the heart of donors.
In other words, donors can align with your vision by reading a story – your story – that captivates. You should, therefore, commit some time to pen down your story creatively. You don’t have to dilly-dally over-preparing the story, but you shouldn’t rush it either.
5. Evaluate Your Audience
The evaluation of your audience or donors – donor prospecting – must also be brought into the picture during planning. Primarily, you will be considering the giving capacity of the donors. The two questions you have to ask here are: How much would the donor be willing to give? How well does the donor give?
No doubt, the year-end sees many people drawn to donating to charity, but you’ve got to do some background checks. Your year-end fundraising campaign will be better positioned for success with donor prospecting. You can fall back on your donor database to conduct this donor prospecting exercise.
6. Learn From Other Year-End Fundraising Campaigns
It’s another year and another year-end fundraising campaign, but lessons from the past shouldn’t be discarded. You should look retrospectively at the experiences from the fundraising campaigns of previous years. That said, even if you have not had a year-end fundraising campaign before, you can learn from those that have had theirs. Consider the things or strategies you can incorporate into your campaign to make it better this year.
7. Follow Through And Show Gratitude
Don’t get so overzealous with the preparation for your year-end fundraising campaign that you neglect the significance of showing gratitude. In fact, nothing stops you from opening up your communication with a simple phrase – “Thank You”. Appreciate your donors for their contributions towards your fundraising cause from years past. This would further bolster your existing relationship and make them feel valued.