Planning The Right Fundraising Campaign: 6 Brilliant Tips
Whether you’re planning a multi-year capital campaign or a food drive fundraiser, creating a detailed roadmap from beginning to end is significant to help you achieve your goals. When planning your campaign, make sure to keep these best practices in mind:
- Determine your goals early on.
- Be mindful of your budget and timeline.
- Choose which type of campaign is right for you.
- Consider conducting a feasibility assessment.
- Delegate tasks and assign ownership.
- Work off a fundraising calendar.
- Create stellar marketing materials.
1. Determine your goals early on.
Determining your goal is easy. What’s often overlooked is conducting an audit of the performance of your past fundraising campaigns. This is the kind of information that will best inform you on how to structure the next campaign so you don’t make the same mistakes again.
As you brainstorm, make sure to identify the challenges you may encounter in trying to achieve this goal. Use this data to create a goal chart. These charts don’t have to be tied solely to financial goals. Instead, you can identify a wide variety of benchmarks to strive towards as your fundraiser progress.
Define specific key performance indicators (KPIs) for your campaign so that you know when you’re winning and when you’re not.
2. Be mindful of your timeline.
When drafting your timeline, there are a few key elements to consider. First of all, fundraisers with clear timelines establish a concrete sense of urgency. If your fundraiser has no deadline, people may not feel compelled to give immediately, and will more likely put it off.
You may also want to give your campaign more context and relevance by planning it around a holiday that’s relevant to your organization, a particular season, the year’s end, or a big annual event.
3. Create A Budget With ROI In Mind
Organizations need to get the most out of their resources. That’s why we recommend creating a “budget” to evaluate costs vs. ROI (return on investment) before starting a new fundraising campaign.
For example, if you spend $1000 in creating marketing material to promote your campaign and you only raise a total of $400, your ROI is negative.
Creating a budget with an itemized expense report (staff time, design/printing, travel, etc.) is an important exercise because it gives a complete picture of the resources it will take which then you can compare against what you anticipate raising.
To determine what you anticipate raising, you’ll need to craft a gift range spreadsheet.
This sheet should list different tiers of supporters with dollar amounts (ex: major donor, mid-tier donor), how many gifts your organization needs in each tier, and how many prospects you need to contact at each tier.
Be sure to create your sheet in a way that reflects the type of fundraiser you’ve chosen. For example, a crowdfunding campaign is typically composed of hundreds of smaller donations, while a capital campaign tends to target a tighter range of major donors.
4. Choose which type of campaign is right for you.
What specific project or program do you need to raise gifts for? What types of fundraising are most effective in those circumstances?
For example, are you looking to fund your nonprofit’s general operations for the next year? If so, an effective option might be an annual fund campaign, where supporters give to your organization’s unrestricted fund to cover essential overhead costs.
On the other hand, you may have a specific initiative for which you’d like to raise critical funds (ex: “To build a new animal shelter in our community, we need to raise X amount. Help us bring animals in from the cold this winter). In this case, a crowdfunding campaign might be exactly what you’re looking for.
5. Consider conducting a feasibility assessment.
Once you’ve outlined the basics of your fundraising campaign— your goals, budget, timeline, and main fundraising activities— consider reaching out to key stakeholders such as board members & major donors.
Gain feedback and information to guide your fundraiser and raise interest among key supporters.
For example, you may ask a few of your top donors how they feel about certain virtual fundraising ideas to help you get a sense of what the most successful campaigns may be going forward.
6. Create stellar marketing materials
Marketing materials provide donors with a compelling reason to give. They should be attractive, informative, and skimmable. Share these materials with donors at every step of your donation solicitation through letters, events, email newsletters, and social media. Storytelling films, graphics, and your website are key in getting you there. All your material should cover these key areas.
- A clear WHY- “why is there need to sponsor kids?”.
- The different ways donors can help you get there (big and small).
- Clear amounts you want donors to give
- A clear deadline for giving
- Your plans for the donations raised—who it will help, what impact it will make.
Pro tip; always remember to choose the easiest donation payment gateway to encourage donations. Consider incorporating these tips when planning your next fundraiser to set your team up for success. You’ll create a solid foundation for your fundraiser going forward, and equip your staff with everything they need for success.
Tess Hazel is the copywriter at era92 Creative. She loves to read novels and runs a personal blog about poetry and creative nonfiction short stories.