Fundraising is the heart of every nonprofit organization. Take it seriously! If you don’t, you probably won’t reach your goals. Every fundraising campaign should have a carefully thought-out marketing strategy. How you market your campaign can easily make or break it – so plan your fundraising activities wisely. In this article, we’re going to go over critical tips that will help you create a successful fundraising campaign for your nonprofit.
Marketing Can Make Or Break Your Fundraising Campaign
A fundraising campaign can’t succeed without a carefully planned marketing strategy. You need skilled marketers on your team. Marketing not only helps you find your audience effectively but also helps you motivate them to take the action you want them to. In the case of marketing for fundraising, you should aim to not only increase brand awareness but also motivate people to support the brand.
A successful marketing campaign will speak to your audience in a way that feels familiar and authentic. You can’t just talk at your audience and expect them to give you money. You have to build a relationship with them before you even think about asking them to help your campaign. The relationship you build with your audience is based on an exchange of valuable information.
The value you offer your audience includes:
- Your products and/or services
- Community & Validation
The value your audience offers you includes:
Marketing can help you target your audience effectively.
Marketing is how you reach your target audience effectively. It’s almost impossible to have a successful campaign without a well-thought-out and carefully executed strategy. You need to have a clear understanding of who your audience is and what motivates them to donate. A marketing plan will help you map out your audience demographics, your messaging/ branding for the campaign, and overall how to reach people that logically would be interested in supporting your brand.
Marketing is so much more than just telling people to give you money. It’s cultivating an audience and building a community based on an exchange of value. To nurture your audience, you must know what people who would align with your brand’s mission are interested in seeing or learning about. This should occur even when you are not actively looking for donations. You must show up for your audience year-round if you expect them to continue to support you.
How does this look in action?
Let’s take a look at Flylight Elementary School, for example.
The imaginary (but prestigious) Flylight Elementary School has a fundraising campaign, but their campaigns never make enough money. When they hired the marketing experts at Flylight Creative Agency, they quickly realized that they were making critical mistakes. First, they realized that they didn’t build an engaged audience. They realized they weren’t developing a mutually beneficial relationship with their audience outside of the relationship students and parents had with their teachers. The marketing team suggested that they should compile resources and share them with their audience regularly through e-mail newsletters, social media, physical papers, and more.
As a school, Flylight Elementary’s primary audience was parents who are highly interested in their children’s academic careers; therefore, the type of valuable content they decided to provide was:
How to help your child with their homework
How to help your child study for tests
Resources for students to study over Summer break
Best academic TV shows for students to watch
Summer reading list based on different age groups
Games that help students build problem-solving skills
After making these adjustments, Flylight Elementary was able to create a fundraising goal then and create a successful campaign. They were able to achieve their goals by becoming more specific and closely aligned with the interests of their audience.
Providing your audience with relevant, valuable information positions you as an expert in your industry. This will keep your audience coming back for more, even if they don’t initially choose to donate to you. When you are consistent and knowledgeable, you’re letting your audience know that you are reliable and trustworthy. Consistency is the key, though. Pushing out information on a regular basis ensures that your audience won’t forget about you or move on to other information sources. Building a relationship with your audience by consistently giving them what they need will help you stay at the top of their minds, gaining you a lifelong supporter.
Set S.M.A.R.T Goals
When you start your fundraising campaign, you need to set clear expectations so you know exactly what your team is working towards. Your goals must be realistic, reasonable and SMART. Setting clear goals can help you be explicit about how the money supports your cause and why supporters should even want to support your campaign. Your why should be the highlight of your campaign. To set actionable goals, use the SMART method.
To get specific with your campaign’s goal, ask yourself:
What exactly do I want to accomplish with my campaign?
What specific tasks need to be accomplished so that I can achieve this goal?
What resources do you need to achieve this goal?
When setting your campaign goals, make sure to be as specific as possible, so your team knows exactly what you are working towards.
Measurable goals help you quickly determine how close you are to reaching your goals. Ask yourself:
How will I measure my progress?
Typically, with a fundraising campaign, it’s easy to figure out how close you are to the goal because all you have to do is compare how much money you made to how much you need.
Actionable goals ensure that it’s something that you can take action to achieve. Ask yourself:
Can I take action to achieve my goal?
What actions do I need to take to achieve this goal?
When fundraising, you have to be honest with yourself about your brand, ask your team:
Given the resources we have access to, is this a realistic goal?
Setting unrealistic goals not only wastes time but also damages your team’s morale. Don’t set yourself up for failure.
Don’t let your goals just float in space, make sure you set a timeline and a deadline for your team:
When do you need to reach your goal?
When can this goal realistically be achieved?
How to Build a Marketing Campaign
When you’re building your campaign, make sure you focus on your donors even more than you focus on your own goals. While focusing on your fundraising goal is important, knowing your donors is even more important. You can’t just ask for money and expect to receive it from your audience without offering anything in return. Instead, you must build a relationship with your audience and provide them with value. Building a reciprocal relationship with your audience will significantly increase your ROI.
Components of a Marketing Plan
- Mission and Vision
- Executive Summary
- SWOT Analysis
- Fundraising Goals
- Audience Research
- Communication Plan/
- Track and measure results
The mission of your brand is a concise statement of your brand’s purpose, objectives, and overall plans to make a difference in the world.
The vision of your brand is the ideal world you are working towards.
An executive summary summarizes the key points in your document.
To create your strategy, you must be able to assess your business’ ability to raise funds so that you can lean on your strengths and either improve upon them or work around your differences.
What does your company do better than your competitors?
What does your company do really well in general?
What advantages does your business have that will help you raise funds for your campaign?
What are your company’s areas that need to be improved?
What do your competitors do better than you?
What difficulties or challenges do you think your company will face during this campaign?
What industries can your company expand into?
Who can you collaborate with?
What untapped audience can your brand reach?
What other ways can you tell your story that may help you convert supporters?
Why might supporters choose not to donate?
Who are your strongest competitors that supporters might choose to support instead of you?
Your fundraising goals should be SMART. Make sure you outline how much money you need, what it will go towards, and how long you expect it to take for you to be able to reach that goal.
Your audience research should include as much information as possible about your target audience. The more information, the better. Some information is more relevant to certain industries than others, but it can be helpful to know as much as possible when considering potential partnerships with other brands. Here are some things you might want to include in your audience research:
- Political Affiliation
- Sexual Orientation
- Marriage Status
- How they use your service or product
You’ll never know how you will exceed or fall short of what your competitors do if you don’t pay attention to them. While you shouldn’t focus too much on what your competitors are doing, it’s important to at least know how you compare because your customers know. Knowing how you stand out (or don’t) can help you figure out what to highlight in your campaigns.
Your brand is how customers perceive you based on how you show up consistently. Some components of your brand include:
- Messaging/ Tone
- Customer experience provided
If you need help with building your company’s branding, we can assist. Learn more here.
Your communication with your audience should be consistent. Try to maintain similar messaging and tone across platforms so your audience can recognize you.
Know how much you’re willing to spend on ad campaigns, merchandise, events, and more to maximize your ROI.
Other Ways to Optimize Your Campaign
There are many creative ways for you to build your marketing campaign. You don’t have to have a cookie-cutter campaign or do everything that everyone else does. There are plenty of ways to incorporate your unique brand into your campaign.
Special Edition Merchandise
Create limited edition merchandise to create memorabilia of the members’ support for your company and your campaign. An example of this would be that Flylight Creative Elementary might create a limited edition lunch bag for people who donate to their campaign to provide healthy lunch options for lower-income students.
Use Social Media to build a presence
Social media and other digital platforms are great ways to connect with your audience. Not only should you be using social media to share information regarding your brand regularly, but you should also use it to build conversations with your team.
Special events can help create a memorable experience for your audience. You can host events such as:
- Movie showings
- Meet and greets
- And more
Your Next Steps for Building Your Campaign
Overall, building a campaign ensures that you build and maintain a relationship with your audience based on solid branding and consistency. Your branding is the key to your success, so it’s important to get that right. If you need an expert’s support with creating your branding or growing your digital marketing effort don’t hesitate to reach out to us at flylightcreative.com!