Oh, No, Not Again!
This approach creates a sense of urgency far more burning than our budget cycle. And a sense of urgency is essential to get people to give.
But to be clear, I’m not dismissing campaigns. Campaigns are great. There is plenty of research that shows setting a goal and a deadline — and measuring progress toward it — is motivating to donors. But you need to show how they are part of that goal and deadline. It’s about their participation more than our own need.
For example, a good campaign might be called “Send X Kids to School” rather than the “annual fundraising appeal.” It might tell the story of a child that can be helped, followed by a statement such as: We’d like to raise $16,000 to send X kids like this young girl to school. If X people give X amount, we’ll fill a whole classroom together. Then show progress as soon as you have it, so people know they have helped push you over the finish line with their participation. Or if they haven’t helped yet, they’ll know that by acting now, they can make a real difference.
This is a much better approach than “it’s that time again” to support something like “education programs.”
Cliché No. 2
Which brings me to another cliché we need to strike from our campaigns: the focus on our organization at the expense of our donors. When we start talking to donors about their goals for giving — instead of our own fundraising plans — we get far better results. Make them part of the stories we tell and the heroes in our efforts to make a difference.
It’s fall. So by all means, get those campaigns under way. But make them about more than just the seasonal campaign. Make them about what truly matters to your organization and, most important, to your donors. Great campaigns are not a date range on a calendar — they are about an amazing destination that you and your supporters want to reach together. FS