A fundraiser needs to be done strategically. This claim isn’t necessarily about doing some complex stuff. It’s simply about keeping an eye on the small details and at the same time seeing the big picture – a good (fundraising) return.
And this is the perfect time to pull yourself together and plan a fruitful fundraiser. That’s why we decided to share some tips on how to do it with you – in this article. So read on and be informed.
1. Set yourself a SMART goal
Goal setting should be a critical part of any credible project — fundraising or not. However, ensuring that the goal is SMART is of greater importance, and this is not in the literal sense. It’s about having a fundraising goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound.
Let’s look at it in more detail while focusing on each variable.
Specificity is what separates your fundraising goal from others. This is more or less about defining your goal based on the vision or big picture you are holding on to. At this point, you also need to outline the steps you will take to make the goal a reality.
Goal measurability has to do with the actions taken to track the goal’s progress toward strategy execution. Since the goal is achievable, we emphasize the need to create something realistic. Yes, it’s cool to be optimistic, but you don’t have to do it blindly.
Calculated considerations or logic should be applied at this stage of setting your fundraising goal. For this purpose, you can fall back on getting some clues from past fundraising projects.
Next you need to make sure that the fundraising goal at the end of the year is relevant for the whole (fundraising) project. Therefore, you can think about the percentage of the donation that can be raised through this year-end campaign. And the truth is, you can raise up to 50% of your annual giving during this time – some nonprofits have reached that percentage before.
Setting a time-bound goal is simply setting a time frame for achieving the goal. While you may not be able to reach your fundraising goal through the year-end campaign, you should still set aside time to do so. At least you’ll know when you’re going to close your year-end fundraiser. Therefore, when creating your fundraising to-do list, don’t forget to create a schedule.
2. Establish a multi-channel communication model
A multi-channel communication model is something to work on as you plan your year-end fundraiser. This would open up a broader avenue to reach potential donors. Your chances of (more) donations are further increased. Email and social media are among the most cost-effective and efficient communication channels you can use to reach your donors.
Other communication media such as direct mail, classic post and websites 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 try to use phone calls or use your partnerships to some extent.
3. Work on your artwork and theme
Attractive looks are a luxury when it comes to your communication with potential donors. These should be highlighted in your donation letter, email, social media messages, etc. Likewise, the topic of the message should be well thought out in order to strike a good note. These elements come in handy when running ads to help build awareness of your campaign.
The communication elements have a way of attracting donors to non-profit organizations. In a way, you could become the eye-catcher through which donors perceive your non-profit organization – right from the first meeting. Many fundraisers have attracted new donors—who later became long-term donors—by posting quality images and themes. Remember the old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words”?
4. Tell a captivating story
A compelling story sells like magic – excuse my marketing/business jargon. However, that’s not far from the truth when it comes to a year-end fundraiser. It might be an end-of-year activity or a one-time activity, but the impact could last a lifetime with a good story. This may be due to the emotional bond your story stirs in the hearts of donors.
In other words, donors can join your vision by reading a story – your story – that engages. You should therefore take some time to write down your story creatively. You don’t have to dawdle the story, but you shouldn’t rush it either.
5. Rate your audience
The evaluation of your audience or your donors – donor prospecting – must also be included in the planning. First and foremost, you will consider donor capacity. The two questions you need to ask here are: How much would the donor be willing to give? How well does the donor give?
There is no doubt that the end of the year attracts many people to give to charity, but you need to do some background checks. Your year-end fundraising campaign will be better positioned to be successful by finding donors. You can use your donor database to complete this donor search exercise.
6. Learn from other year-end fundraisers
It’s another year and another year-end fundraiser, but the lessons of the past should not be dismissed. You should look back at the experiences from the fundraising campaigns of the past few years. That means even if you’ve never done a year-end fundraiser before, you can learn from those who have had theirs. Think about what things or strategies you can build into your campaign to make it better this year.
7. Follow and show gratitude
As you prepare for your year-end fundraiser, don’t get so overzealous that you neglect the importance of gratitude. In fact, nothing prevents you from opening your communication with a simple sentence – “Thank you”. Appreciate your donors for their contributions to your fundraiser over the past few years. This would further strengthen your existing relationship and make them feel valued.