Tips on Turning Tiny Campaigns Into Big Money
More and more, charities are adding microcampaigns to their fundraising strategies. A microcampaign is any program conducted by an individual, over a short period of time, targeting a relatively small fundraising goal. It sounds simple, but it can be quite effective.
As organizations realize the advantages peer-to-peer fundraising has over traditional charity-to-donor appeals, microcampaigns are beginning to form an integral part of the “isosceles donor triangle.” Considering the nuances of this type of fundraising, there are three key elements to making sure your microcampaign is as successful as it can possibly be.
Make it personal
Microfundraising has a major advantage over regular fundraising: Organizations begin their campaigns with existing relationships, to varying extents, with every donor. Whether or not they are passionate about contributing to a cause or an event, donors are likely to have at least a passing interest in contributing. Therefore, a microcampaign should begin and end with a story. Why do you care about this cause? What has been your experience with the organization you’re fundraising for? How has your participation in this organization or this campaign affected you? What are you going through to train for the race, compete in the dance-a-thon or participate in the protest? A microcampaign hinges on your relationships — you are the biggest draw for your donors at the outset, so make it personal.
Make it high-tech
Perhaps as important as what you say, is how you say it — not to mention where and when! The Internet can be your best asset when it comes to engaging your donors. Peer-to-peer fundraising tools streamline your donation and appeal process, and using any of the wide variety of social-media platforms can help make the appeal stronger, timelier or more accessible. You can expand the reach and portability of your campaign by using an application on Facebook, posting notes, inviting friends to attend your event and keeping them updated on your progress through status updates. For more detailed progress reporting, you can keep a blog and allow donors to subscribe via RSS feed. An indirect but important way that social media can help your campaign is by connecting you with other microfundraisers and cause leaders to share inspiration, motivation, tools and tips for meeting your goals.
Make it matter
By running a microcampaign, you have the unique opportunity to cultivate not only donors but fellow cause champions. Use your appeals to educate friends and family about the cause or the organization you’re supporting. When doing this online, you equip them with the resources they need to engage as deeply as you have. While the primary purpose of a microcampaign is to generate funds, one of the largest influences you can have on your cause is to generate the type of passion that spurs others to action, allowing your microcampaign to multiply organically and at no further cost to you. One evangelist is worth much more than one donation.
Though microfundraising takes place on a small scale, the difference between a good microcampaign and a great one can become exponential when applied across a dedicated base of cause champions. Fundraisers need to recognize the tools at their disposal and work to make their communication with donors as personal as possible. Organizations should always be on the lookout for ways to give their volunteers technology that will increase the reach and convenience of their fundraising efforts. Ultimately, fundraisers should strive to create fellow fundraisers in parallel to creating donors. When participants craft their appeals with these principles in mind, microcampaigns can have enormous impact on a nonprofit’s total fundraising strategy.
Sarah Hoddinott is a product manager with Advanced Solutions International, an Alexandria, Va.-based software provider for nonprofits.