Social fundraising can be a cost effective, successful fundraising strategy with long-term benefits, but it does take some time and effort to do it well. So, let’s dig in to how you can go about running your own social fundraising campaign.
First, put some thought into the purpose for your campaign. Just because social fundraising campaigns can be started in minutes doesn’t mean you can shortchange the planning time required for a campaign.
Set Your Goals
Think about your campaign goals, sketch out your audiences and determine who will get on board early to build momentum, and who will get involved after launch to help you hit a tipping point.
Craft Your Story
Think about the story you are telling and the project people are funding (hopefully these are linked). Tangible projects that have some clear outcomes and beneficiaries tend to work best, so take the time to carve out a fundable project with some stories and background information.
Build Your Campaign Page
Once you have the structure and audiences, you’ll need to choose a tool with which to build your campaign. Most tools like FundRazr, Chimp and CanadaHelps are free to get started and offer similar features and pricing, so don’t spend too much time deliberating over the best tool. Chimp has a nice campaign setup guide to make this step super easy for you.
With your plan in place and campaign built, you are ready to engage your core supporters and start building momentum toward your launch date.
Tip: The planning phase should take about the same amount of time as the campaign itself, so if you want to run a three-month campaign, for example, you need to start planning three months in advance.
You only launch a campaign once, and you want to ensure you do it well. There are two critical time periods in social fundraising campaigns: the launch and the close. Generally, if you don’t launch well, you don’t stand a chance at closing well.
Make sure you have a few fundraisers and some donations in your campaign before you launch it to a wider audience. This will encourage others to be part of something successful.
Having a cool video, great story or special piece of content that excites supporters and inspires them to share it is a great idea. Think about content that is spreadable like videos, images and infographics.
Tip: It’s a good idea to create a content calendar for each phase of the campaign. You can map it out daily or weekly, as long as you have a sense of how you’ll sustain momentum throughout the campaign – before you launch it.
Once the campaign has started, invest time encouraging and rewarding those who are fundraising for you. Fundraising is hard no matter who you are and your champions will need some support, help and encouragement.
Send them personal emails with helpful tips about how to ask for money, for example, and make sure you’re available to answer their questions. There are many free online resources on fundraising that you can borrow from or send them directly.
The key here is to keep the momentum going by supporting the fundraisers you’ve recruited and attracting new ones as the campaign progresses.
Tip: Think of your fundraisers as major donors. They are giving up their time, opening up their networks and putting themselves out there for your organization, so be sure to treat them accordingly.
When you’re close to your end date or set goal, it’s time to make one final push for donations. This can often be the best time to ask for donations on social media or reactivate those who are on your list but haven’t given in a while. Send out a final ask a week before the end of the campaign.
Tip: People are more likely to give the closer the campaign is to reaching its goal, so be sure to make the most of this ripe giving opportunity.
5. Follow Up
Keep your donors engaged after the campaign has ended. You now have the perfect opportunity to provide tangible updates about the impact their contributions are having.
Be profuse in thanking and recognizing your fundraisers. Give them some shoutouts on social media and consider creating a special thank you infographic or personal email from the Executive Director.
It can be hard to keep social fundraising campaign donors engaged long term, so set some realistic goals and expectations.
Tip: Your social fundraising campaign donors probably gave because of a friend, an affinity with your project or an incentive you offered, so think about sending them some short, fun updates before you ask them for another big commitment.
Fundraising is hard but social fundraising can help make it a little easier. By methodically planning, launching, engaging, closing and following up, your campaign can be successful and repeatable.
Want to learn more about how to make social fundraising work for your charity? Download our FREE social fundraising guide for charities or contact Kyla at 1 877 531 0580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional inspiration, take a look at the following blog posts:
- The Perfect Match: This post looks at how donation matching can enhance your campaign.
- How One Small Charity Inspired “Abundant Giving” with Chimp: See what one charity had to say about their experience working with Chimp on a fundraising campaign.
- Spread the Word About Your Fundraiser: This post offers a sample email to help supporters running Giving Groups to reach out to their networks for donations.