For many nonprofits this time of year launches their year-end and 2022 fundraising campaigns. SCORE mentors have facilitated more than 60 strategic plans where the overwhelming number one issue has been organization sustainability. Having a checklist of best practices to not only meet, but exceed your goals always helps.
- Create a unifying campaign theme that represents the organization’s mission and focus. The theme will connect donors to your mission with a creative message that is easy to remember.
- Assemble a team and assign specific roles so all of the efforts are not on the shoulders of a few (and especially nonprofit’s staff) The team doesn’t need to be only limited to board members. Organization members, volunteers, and community residents can all be recruited to fill the various roles to execute your campaign.
- Expand your reach by creating peer-to-peer campaign leaders so the effort is more than just those of the development/fundraising committee. Fundraising should not be limited to mail, email or mass requests. Sometimes it is best to have small groups guided by a mission-centric volunteer to have a discussion about the mission, programs and needs of the organization.
- Use a multi-channel approach and measure your results so you can capitalize on the most productive channels in future campaigns. Remember traditional as well as digital channels. If you understand how your donors receive their information, you can design a campaign to reach specific donors via the channels they use most and rely upon.
- Draft all of your social media posts, texts and email in advance and calendar them. Rather than working up to the planned posting date, prepare all of your communications in advance and schedule them for specific posting/distribution dates.
- Create a campaign calendar and timeline to organize your efforts. If everyone on the planning team knows what needs to be done and when, crisis management tends to be avoided.
- Build excitement and anticipation of your campaign by starting with “save the date” communications. It is OK to “leak” the campaign a week or two in advance by posting messages to watch their mailbox or inbox for news from you.
- Make sure your donation button is prominently positioned on your website and other digital communications. Donating to your organization should be easy. The easier you make the process the more donors will voluntarily give since they can easily find the “donate” button.
- Send a handwritten note to every donor within 24 hours of the donation being made. Also acknowledge them digitally if you have contact information within seven days of the donation. Thanking your donors costs very little and has long term rewards. The more personal you make the outreach, the more impact you have.
- Celebrate your donors, in general, by posting a thank you on your social media posts. Let others know you are being supported.
- Maintain the momentum throughout December to stay top of mind for those that have not yet donated but make year-end commitments. Just because your initial thrust is over doesn’t mean that you don’t want to stay top of mind with other messages to give again, tell friends and neighbors, share the news about your value based mission.
Marc L. Goldberg is a Certified Mentor at SCORE Cape Cod and the Islands. For free and confidential mentoring, contact SCORE Cape Cod and the Islands, www.capecod.score.org, email@example.com, 508/775-4884.