In this fraught and difficult time, it’s important to strike the right tone. We look at what to do and what to avoid when planning online campaigns amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
Pushing the boat out on a charity digital fundraising campaign doesn’t have to be a fraught process. Learnings from successful campaigns like NHS Charities Together and its viral fundraising campaigns can motivate new and existing donors. From planning to post-campaign debriefing, we outline some dos and don’ts of running a campaign. Our top tips are:
1.) DO get to know your audience
Getting to know your target audience can kickstart your campaign and inform key questions about who, what, when and how to get the campaign message out. Millennials and even Gen Z, are demographics worth engaging – by understanding the demographic and building personas, charity marketing teams can use personalisation to engage and ask for donations.
Nigel Taylor, from Acquia, says maximising social media is important to tapping into millennials. As a generation, they gave £2.7 billion in 2017 through social media engagement. Speaking to Charity Digital on a podcast, he said: “Millennials get a bad rap. Especially in the press as well. The truth is, this demographic is highly engaged in the charity sector, and is willing to support charities either financially or through their own time. It’s vitally important to reach out to these guys.”
Developing donor personas including information on historical donations, income, volunteerism, and location can help charity marketing and communications team tailor content and engagement voice.
2.) DO soft launch your campaign with your inner circle of supporters
Setting aside a small, test audience for your campaign can help charity digital leaders avoid large scale missteps. Classy, the specialist non-profit sector fundraising software provider recommends identifying those in your ‘inner circle’. These supporters could be Board Members, past volunteers, donors, energised community members, or staff. Reminding them why they are connected to the cause can also motivate your inner circle to share the experience.
Once identified, launch your campaign with your inner circle. As a follow-up exercise, Classy recommends that with your inner circle, “discovering what problems they face and identify the resources they need to succeed. That way, by the time you push your campaign to your larger audience, you will already know how to best support them and enable their fundraising success.”
3.) DO keep the campaign momentum going and celebrate successes
Keeping the momentum going within the fundraising campaign means consistently updating audiences with new content. Planning ahead, charity digital fundraising campaigns should carve out milestone goals and if possible, identify match funders.
Celebrating milestone fundraising can keep volunteers and fundraisers on track and motivated – for example, COVID-19 fundraiser Captain Tom Moore initially had a modest goal of raising £1,000 for NHS Charities Together. Since gaining engagement, momentum, and visibility, his efforts have snowballed into £15 million. The consistent updates on his fundraising targets through social media encouraged more digital donors to pool together.
4.) DON’T forget to share campaign events on social media
Despite the coronavirus lockdown, campaign events can be crucial to the fundraising cause. Events help focus volunteers and fundraisers on a goal and increase reach. They can also help empower fundraisers to organise their own events with the potential to start grassroots movements.
Aiming to replace lost charity income from coronavirus, charity campaign events shared on social media have increased the firepower of campaigns. Responding to the challenge, the London Marathon launched the #TwoPointSixChallenge – participants can take part by doing any activity playing on the marathon’s distance of 26 miles. The date has been set for 26th April, when the IRL marathon would have been. Social media has already lit up with shared fundraising efforts - nearly 2,000 pages have been set up on Virgin Money Giving and 15,000 Tweets have already been posted.
Charity beneficiaries are also actively sharing the 2.6 marathon event. St Barnabas House Hospice encourages all fundraisers to share using the hashtags #TwoPointSixChallenge #TogetherApart to generate momentum. Charity beneficiaries have also been encouraging social media sharing by providing toolkits – Children with Cancer UK has posted downloadable event banners tailored for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
5.) DON’T forget to say thank you
Saying thank you and updating donors on where their efforts have made a positive impact can turn one-time donors into regular supporters. Charity Digital recommends that any donation should be recognised and thanked within 48hrs.
While email works when thanking donors, engagement is still important to keep the relationship ongoing. For charities with many donors, building a thank-you matrix against the donor activity can help teams prioritise actions. For example, you may want to consider especially thanking and engaging donors on direct debt differently than those donating a smaller one-off payment.