Every organization has annual operating expenses. Holding an annual campaign is a great way to raise funds to cover expenditures that keep your organization running smoothly all year long. With a successful annual fundraising campaign you are securing the success of your organization for the year ahead.
However, because donors often consider your annual fundraising campaign to be less “urgent” than your other, more targeted campaigns, securing the funds you need to reach your annual fund’s goal can sometimes be a challenge.
Luckily, when your organization works with a well-thought out annual fundraising plan there’s nothing to stop you from building relationships that last and securing the funds you need. To begin planning your annual campaign put these best practices into play:
Recruit The Right Team
These are your most loyal supporters that will give the necessary impetus to your fundraising campaign. These can be administrators, volunteers and major donors.
The board of directors are the heart of any nonprofit organization. Indeed, they not only establish global processes and strategic plans; they are on the front lines when it comes to fundraising. Because they are the driving force behind your organization, it is important that they too contribute financially to show how much they value your cause and to lead by example. This is also true for the volunteers, donors and other dedicated supporters who have supported you for a long time. When the people closest to your organization get involved in your annual fundraising campaign, they help give it momentum and maintain interest.
Annual fundraising campaigns propel nonprofits both administratively and programmatically. So it’s important to aim to not only meet – but beat – your goal, because that money will help you grow your organization. While before direct mail and the telephone were the go-to ways to raise donations, technology has revolutionized the way organizations raise funds. It is therefore imperative you digitize your annual campaign.
Create an annual fundraising plan that outlines how you plan to reach out to current and potential donors. Here are some common funding methods:
- Email marketing
- Funding through social media
- Your website
- Direct mail
- Phone calls
Ideally, more than one outreach tactic should be used to reach as many donors as possible. Creating a 360 degree outreach program will ensure you reach donors via all touchpoints.
Enlist The Help Of Supporters
Donors have always recommended their favorite nonprofits through word of mouth. However, thanks to technological advances, they can now distribute information through their online accounts faster and more efficiently. One of the great ways to get the best results from your fundraising campaign is to enlist the help of your supporters.
Their contribution can take different forms:
- Fundraising for your organization as part of a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign
- Online testimonials about their experience with your organization
- Emails to friends and family about the campaign and link to the donation page
Reaching out to your supporters not only helps your campaign, but also fosters their loyalty because they are part of the process.
Give An Incentive
Since they take place every year, it is important to identify ways to keep people interested and engaged by giving them reasons each year to get involved. Incentives can help drive interest.
The nature of the incentive depends on the resources of the organization. You’ll want to ensure the incentives you offer are compelling but don’t break the bank. Remember to think of the ROI when ideating around incorporating an incentive into your campaign. Partner with a local business or major donor to create a matching funds challenge. Be sure to communicate the challenge to your donors.Give those who donate to the annual fundraising campaign at certain levels a choice of gifts to choose from. Think creatively about the gifts you offer. It can be branded merchandise but it can also be something that doesn’t have an out-of-pocket expenditure such as special seating at a future fundraiser. Offer the option to donate as a monthly installment.
Annual fundraising campaigns, like any other fundraising activity, must be carefully planned and have sufficient resources. There are a number of ways you can maximize your campaign’s results: get your administrators involved from the start, diversify your sources of donation, ask your supporters for help, and provide them with incentives to get them involved.
Drawing on our experience with hundreds of nonprofits and our own proprietary data, our experienced consultants at GiveCentral help with strategic annual appeals and capital campaign planning customized for you. We will support your implementation of that plan, and provide the leadership you need for your campaign to succeed—from beginning to end.
As a trusted partner we will bring a depth of fundraising expertise and years of successful pledging and other types of online giving to your team. Reach out to us for more information. Let us help you raise more!