If you’re able to, begin planning your campaign as early as possible. This will give you plenty of time and allow you to take small actions throughout the year to design a truly creative campaign. Even if you can’t plan your event all year, you can still have a very successful campaign!
We put together this comprehensive checklist of easy things to implement that will help save you tons of time and make the planning part easy.
To start, focus on the follow-through from your previous fundraising campaign. In this phase of your planning, you’ll want to kick off an internal meeting for your team to hold a campaign retrospective, brainstorm new ideas, and decide the elements you’ll be using to achieve a successful campaign.
One of the first steps of a successful fundraising is hunting for sponsors. To help ensure you have a well-rounded strategy, create a full menu of sponsorship opportunities to pitch to potential sponsors ahead of time.
Next, identify where you can engage sponsors. Identify a pipeline of sponsors for cold outreach – or those businesses and individuals that may not have a connection to your organization yet. Also, identify and pursue “warm leads” based on connections from staff, board, or volunteers
A valuable way to help improve your future fundraising campaign is to look back at last year’s campaign. What worked and what didn’t work?
Invite team members and/or key stakeholders to your meeting, such as: campaign lead, fundraising lead, content creator, designer, and communications lead. Make sure to get everyone’s feedback on various parts of your campaign, including: campaign goals and performance, timeline, partners and sponsors, and feedback from your audience.
Additionally, dive down further into the team level and analyze:
Reach back out to previous and present supporters. What supporters engaged with your campaign throughout the season? Make a list of these individuals and reach out to them for feedback.
Make sure to thank them for your continued support. Show them the impact of their donations by showcasing specific stories of how their donations have helped. Request, if they’re willing, an interview with them to gain further insight.
Once you’ve gained this valuable knowledge from the previous year’s campaign, shift your focus to the upcoming fundraising effort.
Some of the logistics you might want to run through first include:
After you’ve reached out to current employees, support and stakeholders, it’s time to kick off your creative brainstorm. Ask questions to help guide your goals and planning. Some of these might include:
In the next phase of your event planning, you and your team will begin executing your new campaign direction, create your fundraising page, and begin outlining your communications.
During your creative brainstorming, ask yourself what story you want to tell. Define that story of your new campaign page, its mission, and its branding.What makes this campaign unique?
After you’ve established this, begin creating and collecting design assets for the campaign. These items might include images, testimonials, videos, and more.
How are you going to reach your audience with this message? What’s the best route of communication for your organization?
For a social media strategy, you’ll want to identify the platforms you’ll use, the voice you’ll use, when you’ll start your promotion campaign, how many posts to create, and when to post them.
For an email strategy campaign, segment your support and stakeholder lists. Determine when you will start sending emails, the frequency of the emails, and any design assets you might need. Start preparing messaging and writing your email copy.
After you’ve developed your communication strategy, start building out your webpage or social media pages.
Create a new campaign (or duplicate last year’s campaign) and prepare your content for the page. Some things to consider while preparing might include:
Once your website or social media page or event has been created, make sure to test everything! Test links, emails, and social posts before launching anything.
During the final phase of planning, you will soft and hard launch your campaign, draft all social media copy, have your event, and then transition your campaign to year-round support.
If you’re wanting to start your campaign a little more cautiously, consider a “soft launch” where only a select few have access to your campaign prior to its official launch date.
First, you’ll need to determine who you will soft launch to. Some of the high priority individuals you might want to include in your “soft launch” list include:
After you’ve determined your list of donors, volunteers, and other supporters for your soft launch, send this group a notification about your upcoming campaign. You might include a few specific asks, such as:
Once you have your creative assets and narrative more solidified, revisit your social media strategy. Make sure you’re tailoring content copy for specific social media platforms so it engages your supporters into year-end and beyond.
To help your campaign and save you time in the future, schedule certain posts in advance. Some of these posts you might schedule could include: an early morning kickoff, inspiration posts, beneficiary stories, and more. Determine if you need any graphics for social media posts ahead of time so you’re not scrambling.
Before you launch, make any last-minute adjustments needed for your campaign. Some of these features might include: campaign copy, design assets, email automation, and featured media.
After your soft launch and you’ve reviewed all of your communications assets and copy, you’ll be approaching your “hard launch” – when your campaign is public for everyone.
To prepare for your full launch, assign responsibilities to the team. Make sure everyone knows their expectations and what they’re responsible for/
Notify your entire community that your event campaign is live. Inform them of details around your launch, the fundraising goal, the impact meeting the goal could have, any matching gift periods, and any special incentives.
Also make sure to highlight any important sponsors to help continue to build those relationships.
Your event has launched; what now? Celebrate your event’s success! Have some champagne. Eat a cake. High five your team. Let them know exactly what all their hard work made possible.
After you’re done with your cake, make sure to communicate back to your supporters. Thank them for their gifts and continued support. Share the financial results of your event when you have them and the impact of your results.
Before you’re done though, make a hard ask to recommit for your year-round campaign and for their continued support.
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