3 Ways to Boost Your Next Fundraising Campaign

fundraising campaign

Launching a fundraising campaign or event is complex, busy, expensive, and demands a strong return on investment.  Whether you are a researcher, fundraiser, or development director, here are some strategies you and your team can use to boost your next fundraising campaign.

Screen prospects before the campaign begins

If you read our recent blog series on prospect screening, this strategy will sound familiar.  But too often, nonprofits make the mistake of launching ambitious fundraising campaigns without taking the time to plan ahead.  A fundamental part of that planning process is screening your donor database.

Few things are worse than insulting a major gift prospect with an ill-informed gift ask.  Maybe you have spent hours working on a prospect profile thinking the person will be a shoe-in, only to have your fundraiser get burned in their meeting.  Looking back, you see the prospect had an affinity to your cause, and they also had a strong capacity rating.  But maybe a screening would have revealed they have actually never given a single charitable gift in their lifetime.  

Let’s face it: fundraising campaigns are expensive.  Screening focuses your prospect research by helping you segment and pinpoint your best prospects.  If your research is focused, you will spend less time and fewer resources on prospects that simply aren’t going to deliver what you need.

Check out our recent blog post on choosing the right screening solution.  If you are an iWave client and wondering where to start, remember that screening credits are included in your PRO subscription.  Read this post to find out how to make the most of your subscription.  

It’s all about the call-to-action (CTA)

Think back to a great Apra presentation you saw, or an insightful personal development book.  Maybe it was an inspiring social media video.  What made those experiences so memorable?  How did they make you want to get up and make a positive change?  If nothing else, it was the call-to-action.  

Every effective fundraising campaign needs a tantalizing call-to-action (CTA).  In many cases, the CTA is an answer to the biggest question of them all: Why should I donate to your nonprofit?

The answer to that question will be different depending on your cause, mission, and goals.  But your donors have a right to ask that question, and they have a right to a comprehensive answer.  If your CTA stirs their goodwill, you will attract loyal donors who will be more likely to contribute more and larger gifts over a longer period of time.  

A call-to-action works best when it is the focal point of all your external messaging.  Here are some tactics to pitch your CTA:

  • Create a “Why Donate?” page on your website.  Tell your organization’s story.  Why does charitable giving matter to your team and cause?  You could pitch your value to prospects through testimonials, videos, and pictures.
  • Include a simple CTA button (e.g. “Donate Now”) in all external messaging and platforms.  This button, or some version of it, should be on your website, social media pages, and included in every employee/board member’s email signature.
  • Make the CTA specific.  Avoid talking about general goals and fluff.  Give the prospect a simple mission that can be completed in less than five minutes.
  • Segment your CTA to different audiences.  One-time ticket buyers should receive a different message than luxury box buyers.  Determining who fits into which segment is a perfect opportunity for prospect screening.    

Show results and refresh your research

People don’t contribute major gifts in a vacuum.  They give to make a positive difference.

The call-to-action is just the beginning.  To attract lifelong donors or to increase your major gift ask, you must show the donor how their gifts of time, money, or expertise are helping your organization and furthering your cause.  An informed donor is a loyal donor.  One of the best ways to inform you donor is to show the results of your campaign.  Answer questions like:

  • Where did my donations go?
  • How much “purchasing power” did my gift amount have?
  • Is there more work left to do?  Where do we start?

In many cases, fundraisers and gift officers will be responsible for stewardship and donor relations.  But prospect research plays a vital role in this process.  Since stewardship is an opportunity to nurture relationships with donors of all kinds and capacities, research can help keep the entire development team informed about changes in the donor’s life and financial situation.  If you continually refresh your records and profiles, either through a batch prospect screen or individually, you will be better prepared to start your next fundraising campaign (and there always is a next campaign) on the right foot.

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