6 Questions to ask before your next big fundraising campaign

Mosaic Strategies is a creatively refreshing, politically correct, world-traveling team of interesting folks that integrates today’s technology with effective organizing strategies.

If you're doing important work in the nonprofit world, chances are you can use more resources to do more of the work that's integral to your mission. Year-end appeals are a big part of any online fundraising strategy but it's equally important to use your digital fundraising campaigns as a place to gather information to inform future donation appeals. This past November, we teamed up with NationBuilder NYC to lead a year-end bootcamp session to help leaders prep and plan for year end appeals. We’ve outlined below some of the initial steps to help you get started on your next big fundraising campaign.

Prepping for Your Year End Appeal (or any big Fundraising Push)

Take stock of what you have before jumping in! Here's a quick list of questions to ask yourself (or team) before you start your campaign.

 Your planning process should start with 5 overarching steps.

What are our favorite photos (not stock!)? Nothing is worse than scrambling for photos that you needed....yesterday. While stock is a fine option, folks can spot them pretty easily. Start gathering the photos you need and make a short  list to share with your team in the field to help gather the photos you need. Remember, big crowd photos are great to show power but photos of individuals show emotion and intimacy. Have plenty of both.

Have we collected stories and testimonials? Don't wait last minute to gather the stories and human interest stories that often make an online campaign successful. Now is the time to ask staff for a quote, review program evaluations, and ask clients for quotes. Put all of that information in ONE place to review and use.

Is our website current? Do we have a place to feature our appeal? Before you ramp up your online campaign, make sure your website reflects your appeal. This means your goals and programs are up to date, staff/board information is current and that you’re doing best to be as transparent as possible. This means if you have an annual report, post it! Folks want to know they're investing in a credible organization and will go to your website looking for evidence of that. Help them!

Are we ready to accept one-time and recurring online donations? Make sure you set up your online payment processor and your website to handle recurring donations. One time donations are nice, but you're leaving money on the table if you don't give your supporters the option and ease of contributing monthly. If you're starting today with recurring donations, make sure you're tracking those folks accordingly. Even if your recurring donors contribute small dollars, it means they're invested in your organization and keeping them engaged with non-donation asks is crucial. NationBuilder makes it easy to set up both types of donations and more importantly, to keep a person’s donation history, online engagement and internal relationship cultivation all in one place.

What social posts, emails, web pages did our community love? When you start to think about how to craft your fundraising online campaign, don't go into it blind! Your supporters and community will tell you what content resonates with them. What social media posts got the most likes and shares? Which emails had the most open rates and which ones generated donations? If this is information you're not tracking, now is the time to start! Plenty of CRMs (like NationBuilder) make it easy to view these metrics quickly.

What are our program and fundraising goals for 2018? What are you looking to accomplish in the new year? What will it take financially to accomplish that? These questions are not just important to answer internally but these are answers you need to be sharing with your supporters! Organizations often fall into the trap of online appeals that give off the impression that their raising dollars to pay for their current year's bills. While that might be true, it's important to share how your donor's dollar is helping move your organization forward.

Want to learn more?

Interested in reading more? Get our complete Year End Appeal Guide as a free download today!

Deanna-Marie Norcross is a Senior Associate at Mosaic Strategies. She specializes in helping clients use data for good and using online tools for digital organizing.


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