A fundraising campaign can help your nonprofit organization raise money for any cause. While donations may come rolling in during the early days of your fundraiser, you may hit a mid-campaign slump. But don’t fret – these plateaus are completely normal, and you’ll have no problems if you learn how to navigate these slow times.
1. Keep Your Donors Updated
You probably remember the huge “replica thermometers” your school hung up to indicate fundraiser goal progress. While this method is effective for those in your location, you should also look for other ways to update your current contributors and prospective donors.
Social media profiles offer a number of ways to share progress updates: send out short updates about any new donations on Twitter; share photos of your efforts on Instagram; or post vlogs about how much money you still need to raise on Facebook. Leverage the profile to your campaign’s needs, and once it’s posted, encourage volunteers to share updates on their personal pages too.
2. Stick to Shorter Campaigns
The success of your campaign relies heavily on a brief timeframe, simply because most people’s attention spans don’t last very long. If a friend sends you an invite six weeks in advance, how likely are you to remember the date and time of that party?
The longest your campaign should last is six weeks, but one month is optimal. This will give your donors a sense of urgency because their line of thought entails, “If I don’t donate now, then I’ll miss my chance!”
This will also benefit your team members since there’s little risk of burnout, and as a result, they will invest more effort to complete the campaign.
3. Focus on Individuals
When progress stalls and you begin to doubt whether you’ll successfully meet your goal, then it’s time to hone in on the big donors. Do some research into your community database and focus on reaching out to the most generous philanthropists, whether they’re a prior contributor to your organization or they participate in other fundraisers.
Sweeten the deal by offering incentives, like bringing them behind the scenes of your organization or offering special rewards for their generosity. This method will not only aid your current campaign, but you’ll create regular contributors for your future campaigns as well.
4. Follow Up (And Do It Right)
Reaching out is all well and good, but if you’re not following up strategically, then you’re putting weeks of effort to waste. If all you do in your follow-up emails is ask for a donation and leave it at that, then you’ll probably end up unsuccessful.
Let your donors know how their money is helping the cause. Give them status updates and show proof. Be sure to also add links to your social media pages so they can check progress on their own time.
But don’t stop there. Content creation will boost your shares and garner far more interest than text alone. Create a video about your cause or a digital version of your teacher’s old thermometer to encourage contributors to share that information on their own social media accounts and see your donation rates soar.
Ryan Bridges is a contributing writer and media specialist for SBI Association Management. He regularly produces content for a variety of nonprofit management blogs, based around the transitional challenges that come with nonprofit fundraising and marketing efforts.