And just like that the holiday season is upon us! This is the perfect time of year to reflect on all the things one can be thankful for. Whether it’s family, friends, health or career, many of us are extremely blessed, and the holiday season often exemplifies these blessings. Something else that’s abundantly clear is the importance of giving back; there are so many people in need of help and, often times, fundraisers are the most effective way of providing support.
Communications professionals know the important role communications plays in fundraising campaigns; without it, many campaigns fall short of their goals.
Often, the difference between a successful fundraiser and one that falls short is the amount of awareness surrounding the campaign. A key in building awareness is ensuring that your messages are clear.
Let’s look at this scenario: you’re organizing a fundraiser for a local women’s shelter. You know what a great cause this is—the shelter desperately needs funding to ensure the women get the care and support they deserve. You’ve seen the statistics about the women who use this shelter and you’ve even had the opportunity to visit the shelter to hear some of their stories. After meeting some of the women, you’re certain the public will respond to this campaign in a positive way.
Now, can you imagine a way in which this campaign would work without properly communicating just how donations would positively impact the shelter and its inhabitants? The answer is a resounding NO! Just like any successful relationship, communications is key in successful fundraisers. Apart from clear, concise messaging, make sure you properly spread the word about your campaign. Even on a small budget, there are many ways you can spread the word about your campaign. Don’t forget just how powerful social media and word-of-mouth can be.
Trust and fundraising truly do go hand-in-hand. This is why the more information you can provide to potential donors, the better. Some common questions are:
- Where exactly is their money going? Be as specific as possible. Take the women’s shelter scenario into consideration. Give a list of exactly where funds are being allocated. For example: new programs for the women to help them get back on their feet, being able to open 25 more beds, upgraded facilities etc.
- Why should they donate to this cause? There are a million charities people can choose to donate their money to, so you better make sure you’re clear about why yours is important. Storytelling plays a huge role in developing an emotional connection with your donors, as we wrote about a couple of months ago. Essentially, a compelling story is much more effective than any stat could ever be. I certainly recommend supporting your narrative with stats and figures, but you have to be sure the story itself is compelling.
- Who will benefit from the donation? Again, storytelling is your friend! Donors want to know that their money is helping actual people so, if possible, highlight a few personal stories (even if the person chooses to remain anonymous, you can still share their story.)
While it is essential to thank donors throughout, and after, your campaign, don’t forget to give campaign volunteers the recognition they deserve. Whether they helped during a one-night event, or were a part of the team from beginning to end, volunteers are integral to the success of any campaign. Make sure to thank them on a regular basis; Volunteer Match created a list of seven ways to appreciate your volunteers, which I highly recommend.
Here at Take Roots, we value the importance of fundraising and would love to help create an effective communications plan for your campaign. Contact us to discuss how we can help!