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8 Surefire Ways to Run a Successful Fundraising Campaign

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By Hannah Durbin

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Published June 2, 2022 Reading Time: 5 minutes

When you’re planning a fundraising campaign for your nonprofit organization, it can feel like there are a million details to take care of. Understanding that feeling and doing our best to help you avoid it, we spun up a simple blueprint to help lighten your load. 

While most fundraising campaigns are different from one another, there are common best practices you can use across all campaign types to set yourself up for success. Use the eight tips below to ensure your next one runs smoothly, engages more supporters, and helps move your mission forward.

1. Start With a Strategic Soft Launch of Your Campaign

Planning a soft launch to a small group of dedicated supporters or past powerhouse fundraisers can help build campaign momentum before your official launch to the public. 

People are more likely to donate to your campaign once you’ve started moving toward your goal, which makes it crucial to tap on your early adopter audiences to generate initial traction. Not only that, soft-launching your campaign ensures you can work out any bugs or errors, like typos or broken links, before you send it to your larger community.

Send an email to your supporters and ask for their feedback:

  • Would they change anything? 
  • Is the message clear? 
  • Does it excite them? 

If they’re peer-to-peer fundraisers, ask them to start a personal fundraising page and begin reaching out to friends and family for donations. When the time comes to invite everyone to participate, the momentum generated in your soft launch will likely carry over into your hard launch and push you toward your goal.

2. Keep Your Brand Front and Center

Strong branding builds trust with your supporters and serves the much simpler purpose of confirming that your fundraising campaign is, in fact, yours. 

It can be confusing to potential donors if your nonprofit’s brand, logo, and colors aren’t unified with that of your new fundraising campaign. This is especially relevant as you market your campaign across various channels like email, social media, and direct mail solicitations.

There are plenty of ways to ensure your branding remains highly visible and unified across your channels. For example, you can create a special logo for your new campaign that’s different from your nonprofit’s logo, but uses the same colors. When you add your logo to your marketing outreach, or when people come across it organically, they’ll know for certain that it’s your campaign and nobody else’s.

3. Make Giving Easy With Flexible Payment Options

Our list of Fundraising Trends and Predictions for 2022 features flexible giving options in the top spot, and the data in our latest State of Modern Philanthropy 2022 report reaffirms that the payments you offer can make or break a donor’s decision to complete their gift. 

When donors have options, we found that gift sizes on the Classy platform increase. Our data revealed that the average one-time gift made via ACH is nearly 2X larger than a one-time gift made through a credit card. This emphasizes the value of a frictionless donor experience and serves as a reminder to understand your donors’ preferences to ensure all expectations are met.  

4. Encourage Recurring Gifts

Our Recurring Donor Sentiment Report found that 47% of recurring donors feel like their ongoing donation is making more of an impact than a one-time gift, and 38% feel more connected to a nonprofit when they give regularly. 

Recurring donors are five times more valuable to your nonprofit than one-time donors. In fact, 84% of recurring donors take additional action on top of their recurring donation, including volunteering, making additional one-time gifts, attending an event, and more. 

If you’re not asking supporters to upgrade their donation, you could be leaving money on the table. Send email appeals that ask recipients to support your campaign and long-term mission by committing to a recurring gift at the frequency of their choice

In your messaging, use bold calls to action, highlight exclusive incentives, and showcase how much more of an impact a recurring gift makes versus a one-time donation.

5. Drive Engagement Through Gift Matching

Matching gift periods can ignite excitement among your supporters, especially if you unveil the match during a mid-campaign lull. Often, matching gifts instill a sense of urgency in supporters to give right away instead of waiting to do it later. 

Alternatively, you can promote your matching gift period at the start of your campaign to spark motivation right out of the gate.

It can take time to secure a matching gift partner for your campaign, so don’t wait until the last minute. During the initial planning phases of your campaign, reach out to potential partners, sponsors, or major donors and ask if they would like to participate as your match provider. 

This way, when the time comes to let your audience know about the matching period, you’ve got dates locked down, maximum amounts decided upon, and copy approved to promote on your email, website, and social media channels.

6. Fuel Donations With a Tie to Impact

Apathy is your enemy. If donors don’t believe their support will make a difference, they likely won’t give. In order to break down that barrier, clearly communicate how each donation carries over into tangible solutions. No matter how big or small, every contribution can help advance your mission.

Break down the impact of each specific gift size in your written appeals or through visual calls to action on your campaign page. For example, Classy’s impact blocks bring together powerful photos with descriptive text to show how contributions help move your nonprofit closer to your goals:

impact blocks example

You can even dedicate a section of your site home page to showcasing the impact made by your entire community, like Team Rubicon:

Team Rubicon campaign page

7. Use Video to Inspire Action

Studies show that if a person hears information without seeing any accompanying visual elements, they only remember about 10% of it after three days. However, if it’s paired with a photo or video, they’ll recall about 65% of the information.

Without a doubt, video is an incredibly powerful tool to snare your audience’s attention, bring your cause to life, and make a compelling ask to donate, fundraise, or sign up as a recurring donor.

Further, videos are versatile and you can use them on almost any marketing channel, your campaign page itself, or in direct gift appeals. To make your next great video, record footage of your team on the ground, feature stories about the impact you have on your beneficiaries, or interview supporters. Show people how they can get involved and the impact that will make on the world.

8. Say Thank You and Celebrate Donors’ Success

It’s important to acknowledge and celebrate milestones, creative ideas, or fundraising success if you want to keep your community focused and inspired to reach the next big goal. 

Consider setting smaller, incremental goals that you can celebrate together along the way. When the fundraising finish line feels too overwhelming, donors may give up before they even start. This is especially important for peer-to-peer fundraisers. 

To avoid losing their attention before they hit their goal, send milestone emails to emphasize their impact and encourage them to keep going.

Celebration also applies to your internal staff, board members, and partners. They work just as hard to ensure the design, launch, and wrap-up of fundraising campaigns go off without a hitch, so don’t forget to highlight their involvement and thank them for their effort. Consider thanking them in person with a small happy hour, or send a hand-written note.

Nail Your Next Fundraising Campaign 

For more ways to attract, engage, and convert donors across all campaign types, download our Fundraising Campaign Checklists. We break down what to include in your crowdfunding, peer-to-peer, and event fundraising campaigns, plus pro tips and best practices to help elevate your campaign’s visual appeal. 

Posted in Fundraising

campaign checklist

Checklists for Crowdfunding, Peer-to-Peer, and Event Fundraising Campaigns

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