Member Feature: Campaigns Corner


Jen%20Allen_Headshot%20(2).jpgWithin the nonprofit sector, there are many types of campaigns your organization may work on throughout the year – peer-to-peer, capital, annual giving, etc. While the goal of each of these various campaigns can vary, the core strategies are actually very similar! 

In my work as the Fundraising Campaigns Associate at the American Red Cross, I work on three national campaigns throughout the year, as well as leading the matching gift campaign program. I’m excited to share some best practices that I have learned during my time leading fundraising campaigns: 

  1. Start Early! – Campaigns require significant pre-work and planning by the fundraiser. You need to determine a goal, messaging, key audience, and assets. All of these campaign elements take time to create and finalize. Allow yourself three to six months from the beginning of the planning process to campaign launch. Bonus: developing a clear timeline, with micro-goals and task owners, will save you a lot of headaches! 

  2. Clear Campaign Message – As a fundraiser, you may be living and breathing the fundraising campaign every day, but this will be new to your audience. When you are promoting the campaign, you need to be very clear what you are asking them to do. Are you asking them to donate money, time (volunteer), or specific items? Do they have the opportunity to give online, or do they need to send in a check? Why should they support your organization and this specific opportunity? Clear and concise messaging is the key to a successful campaign.  

  3. Cross Channel Alignment – Donors have more ways than ever to engage with your organization – direct mail, email, social media, and so on. When you launch a campaign, you want to make sure that the messaging, imagery, and content you are using within one channel, is consistent with others. Creating one “theme” for all of your communication channels and coordinating the timeline of when messaging will be sent helps to create a better, more cohesive donor experience. 

  4. Utilize Matching Gift Campaigns – Securing a matching gift campaign and building it into the execution of the campaign can be extremely motivating to donors. Traditional matching gift campaigns work by a lead donor committing to give up to a certain dollar amount if the organization is able to raise the amount from other donors. Matches allow for the donors’ dollar to be stretched twice as far and it provides a sense of urgency. It’s a win-win for everyone! 

  5. Steward Your Campaign Donors – It should be no surprise that stewarding donors is an important step in the giving experience. However, fundraising campaigns are a great tool to bring new donors into your organization, so make sure your stewardship plan reflects this. Converting one-time campaign donors into regular donors is the ultimate sign of a successful campaign! 

If you work on campaigns for your organization, what are best practices that have worked for you? Feel free to email Jen Allen and share your ideas – we can add these ideas to a future newsletter!