Six Tips for Successful Fundraising Campaigns
Successful fundraising campaigns are not just about money. Rather, successful fundraising arises from building strong, lasting relationships with donors.
Here are six tips from the Fast Fundraising Company in New Zealand for building a successful fundraising campaign based on personal relationships.
Identify the Donors
The first step in planning a successful fundraising campaign is identifying who the potential donors are. In other words, who is most likely to contribute to the fundraising campaign? Are they people who are already part of the organization, such as members of a congregation giving to a church? Are they people who have benefited from the organization, such as graduates of a school or program? Identifying who is most likely to contribute will help to narrow and focus fundraising marketing efforts, so that the fundraising campaign does not waste time and resources reaching out to people or organizations who are unlikely to give.
Know what Donors Want in Return
A relationship with a donor is not a one-way street – it is not just about benefiting the organization that is doing the fundraising. Donors give because they get something back in return. Identify what it is that donors want – and it won’t be the same for every donor. Some donors simply want to know that their gift has made a difference in the organization or in someone’s life. Other donors want to be recognized for their contribution, while others want some sort of bonus or discount associated with their giving. Some non-profit organizations, for example, give away t-shirts, coffee mugs, or concert tickets to donors who give a certain amount, while other non-profits offer discounted rates at their own events. Knowing what different donors want makes pitching a fundraising effort much easier.
Have a Specific, Realistic Fundraising Goal
Always build fundraising campaigns with a specific end in mind. The goal can be a dollar amount, such as raising $10,000 by a certain month, or it can be a different kind of goal, such as gaining 50 new sponsors, selling a hundred raffle tickets, or building two new houses. Specific, realistic goals help fundraisers to stay focused and successful, and achieving these goals help donors to feel that their gift made a difference.
One of the most common reasons that donors do not give is that they are not asked. While asking for money can be a touchy subject and is not always successful, not asking for money is guaranteed to be unsuccessful. Remember that the old saying, “it doesn’t hurt to ask” applies to fundraising, as well.
Always Say Thank You
Another reason donors do not give is that no one said thank you the last time they give. Everyone likes to feel that his or her personal contribution is appreciated. To this end, always say thank you to donors, no matter how small their gift to the fundraising campaign. Hand-written, personalized thank you cards are also a must for major donations.
Always Follow up
The most likely donors to any fundraising campaign are people who have given before. Although it may seem contradictory to ask the same handful of people for money year after year or campaign after campaign, the fact that they gave once makes it far more likely that they will give twice. This fundraising truth means that following up with donors year after year is a crucial part of successful, long-term fundraising.