Your nonprofit is backed by a passionate team that wants to see the organization grow, but you need proper funding to make your mission possible. Regardless of your cause, fundraising campaigns provide you with the monetary support you need to power your work.
Not every organization is the same though. Each nonprofit needs to choose a unique fundraising approach that works best for them.
With all the nuances that go into planning fundraising campaigns, you may feel overwhelmed by all the minute details. As you lay out your fundraising strategy, think ahead and minimize the stress that comes with planning a successful fundraiser.
To help, the fundraising professionals here at Funds2Orgs have pulled together the following three strategies to make the most of your next campaign:
- Pick an effective fundraising idea.
- Effectively market your fundraiser.
- Communicate before, during, and after your event.
By arming yourself with knowledge about the best practices for creating a nonprofit fundraiser, you’ll be prepared for almost any obstacle thrown your way. Read to motivate your supporters and enhance your fundraising strategies? Let’s jump in!
1. Pick an effective fundraising idea.
There’s not one single right fundraising idea. Some ideas are simply better suited for your cause and your supporters than others. When you devote time to choosing an effective fundraising idea upfront, you set your campaign up for success from the start. Selecting an idea that suits your audience will create a solid foundation for your campaign by naturally engaging your supporters.
Luckily, some of the best fundraising ideas are also some of the easiest. If you’re looking to mix things up, Funds2Orgs’ unique fundraising ideas guide may inspire your next fundraiser! From virtual events to quick and inexpensive fundraisers, there’s options for every cause. When exploring that guide, keep the following two steps in mind to select an idea and develop a plan that will produce positive results for your team.
Step 1) Know your audience.
When you know to whom you’re marketing the campaign, you can select a campaign idea that will appeal to your audience. Take a look at your donor database to gauge their interests to first select the right fundraiser. From here, you’ll also be equipped to adjust the messaging to suit their needs.
By tailoring your campaign to your community, you expand your fundraising potential. For example, smaller audiences like churches and sports teams are often receptive to engaging ideas that are easy to contribute to, like shoe drive fundraisers, potlucks, and walkathons.
Step 2) Develop a clear goal.
No fundraiser does well without a goal to strive toward. When you create a well-defined goal, you motivate people to take action. You’ll want to set a specific dollar amount with an assigned deadline so that you can effectively drive participation. This will help your team steady progress toward its mission one step at a time. Otherwise, your nonprofit will be left without a roadmap to achieve your desired results.
Before launching your campaign, determine what steps you need to take to reach it instead of scrambling to keep up. Also, set smaller benchmark goals along the way to make sure you stay on track.
Further, setting your goal upfront will help immensely in selecting the right campaign idea to get you there. For instance, you won’t want to host a bottle and can drive if you’re attempting to fund a cross-country trip for volunteers to build shelters for the homeless.
Overall, remember that a campaign should suit both your organization and your community and should have straightforward goals. Keep this in mind when brainstorming ideas for your next fundraiser.
2. Effectively market your fundraiser.
Once you’ve launched your campaign, you’ll need to get your fundraiser in front of prospects. The most effective campaigns come from organizations with a digital presence and passionate supporters to market it. So take the time to craft targeted marketing materials for each segment of your audience so that you can appeal to each individual donor and drive participation.
Expand your online presence.
While word-of-mouth advertising is always an option, online campaigns can reach the widest possible audience. According to AccuData’s digital marketing guide:
“Investing in digital marketing is a way for your organization to make the most of tech-based engagements to increase traffic, generate leads, and interact with more potential supporters than before. For many modern marketers, it’s become the primary method of outreach.”
To enhance your online presence, you’ll first need an attractive website that lures in supporters. After all, your nonprofit’s website is the foundation of your digital fundraising strategy. It’s where many constituents will turn when they want to support your nonprofit, so make sure to spend time developing one that connects with your audience and effectively tells your organization’s story.
Once you’ve set up a well-designed website, you can market your fundraiser through:
- Email Campaigns. Email marketing helps spread the word by directing communication to all your existing supporters. Use emails to announce your campaign. Then, schedule updates to share progress with supporters throughout the campaign itself.
- Google Ad Grants. Access to major advertising channels can be costly, so many nonprofits rely on grants to cover advertising costs to deliver their messages. Using Google Ad Grants, organizations can gain access to cost-free digital marketing ads.
- Social Media. Social media allows organizations to connect with younger donors and directly interact with them. Post an announcement on your nonprofit’s social media page and have your staff share the post with their social networks to harness this power.
A well-directed online fundraising campaign can be very rewarding but also tricky to set up. For tips on creating an effective online campaign, take a look at this helpful guide. It pairs powerful digital marketing ideas with real-life examples that you can model your own campaign after.
Improve current relations.
Some nonprofits overlook their current supporter base and jump to cold marketing outreach for new support. While reaching out to new supporters isn’t a bad idea, it shouldn’t be your primary focus for obtaining fundraising dollars.
Look at past donors and volunteers for initial support. They’ve already exemplified a passion for your cause and will do more for your fundraiser than anyone else.
Get supporters involved.
One of the best strategies you can incorporate into your fundraising approach is to implement additional engagement tactics, which deepens supporter involvement. This gives them a sense of responsibility and motivates them to do everything they can to ensure your fundraiser is successful. Three opportunities to further engage supporters include:
- Gamification. Incentivize your participants by incorporating fun gamification tools like leaderboards showing top contributors. By incorporating elements of friendly competition, you incentivize others to compete for the top spot, boosting revenue to help you reach your fundraising goals.
- Social media recognition. Encourage supporters to go above and beyond expectations by rewarding them with some public recognition. With their permission, showcase your top donors in hopes of motivating others to step up their efforts.
- Peer-to-peer marketing. Turn to your supporters to help market your campaign and raise funds on your behalf. When they share the fundraiser with their social networks, your list of potential supporters skyrockets.
Remember, what works best for someone else might not work best for you. Your specific audience will respond more positively to certain engagement strategies over others. Take this into consideration as you plan your campaign promotion.
3. Communicate before, during, and after your event.
How can you make sure everyone knows about your campaign without first telling them about it? The answer: you can’t.
Anything your nonprofit does requires communication, especially fundraisers. You can’t expect people to support your efforts if they don’t even know the campaign exists or how to access it. By that same token, you can’t expect them to step up their efforts if they don’t understand you’re falling behind and not reaching the milestones you’ve set.
To develop impactful messages for your campaign, we suggest taking steps to better understand your constituents and then being as transparent as possible with them about the campaign progress. Let’s take a closer look at each of those strategies.
Understand your donors.
Through a process called prospect research, you can learn more about your supporters’ interests and social connections within your donor database. By analyzing donor data (like which projects they’ve supported in the past), you can fully personalize your fundraising requests to better appeal to them.
Some audiences may be more important than others within the context of your campaign. Your database may allow you to segment your donors based on commonalities such as demographic markers, so you can better appeal to them through your fundraiser!
When you make an important decision like setting your fundraiser’s goal, make sure everyone knows about it so that they can coordinate their efforts. And as we mentioned, if you fall behind on your goal, be honest about it. Everyone will appreciate the honesty and will know to do whatever they can to help you catch back up.
Once your campaign wraps up, announce your final revenue totals and thank your supporters. Thanking your donors isn’t just the polite thing to do; it’s the smart thing. It shows you value their support and encourages them to stick around.
Even if you have a surefire fundraising idea and effectively market your campaign, you’ll get nowhere without proper communication. The bottom line is that to be successful, you have to develop relationships within your community.
Be honest and communicate in a way that engages your supporters. This fires everyone up about your campaign and encourages them to do what they can to help it succeed.
Remember, an effective nonprofit fundraiser starts with a strong idea, and it’s not over until you follow up with supporters to show your appreciation. Finding what fundraising ideas and strategies work best requires trial-and-error, so don’t be afraid to fail!
A successful campaign looks different for every organization. Design your fundraiser with clear goals that fit your organization and its supporters, and use different approaches to get the word out. Use these strategies to your advantage, and set your fundraiser up for success!