We look at some of the ways charities can turn a failing fundraising campaign into a success
All charities hope their online fundraising campaign will be successful. The idea is that their eye-catching content has succeeded in attracting new supporters and donors.
Sadly, some campaigns fall short and fail to meet expectations. Sometimes they may miss the mark in their tone or fail to engage an audience with the right hook.
We look at how charities can save a faltering fundraising campaign and the digital resources that are available to help.
First of all, charities need to be aware of how a campaign may be faltering. An obvious metric to look at is the level of donations it is generating. But there is a range of deeper social media and marketing data fundraisers can use to find out where their campaign may be going wrong.
The Charities Aid Foundation donation platform CAF Donate is among the resources that charities can use to dig deep into fundraising campaign performance. You can run reports on campaigns, donors and donations to gain a greater understanding of whether campaign content is being accessed and leading to giving.
Social Media management platforms can also provide analytics into a campaign’s engagement, growth and clicks, as well as offering advice on the best time to schedule posts. Social Pilot is among such platforms, which offers users the ability to create and download PDF reports looking at social media metrics and performance.
Once the problem has been identified, charities can put in place alternative strategies to boost engagement.
Sometimes the cause of the problem is that the campaign appears aloof, with charity work being done to beneficiaries rather than with them. A good way to rectify this is to personalise campaigns, by giving beneficiaries a bigger voice. Who better to tell the public of a good cause than those people who are directly benefitting?
Promoting crowdfunding opportunities is a good way to perk up a failing campaign. This is especially important during COVID-19, which has seen increased interest among charity supporters in online donations given in memory - raising money for a good cause to remember a loved one who has passed away. Involving supporters is particularly helpful for smaller charities operating on a limited budget.
Community fundraising can also help if a campaign is failing. This is where fundraising uses the experience of supporters and beneficiaries so that they are involved in campaign messaging, fundraising and how money raised is to be spent. This represents a rethink for some charities, who are used to traditional, donor-based fundraising methods that can leave supporters disenfranchised from the decision making process around charity campaigning.
There’s a raft of online fundraising platforms for supporters to use to help a charity campaign, including Just Giving, Enthuse and Givey.
Helping charity supporters to promote their personalised fundraising on social media is also key, through making imagery, videos and campaign infographics available. Giving supporters training in using video editing tools and remote video content platforms, to make their own videos, can also help to revive a campaign.
Matching gifts that are being donated through a digital fundraising campaign is another powerful strategy for boosting interest.
For example, Soccer Aid for Unicef raised £9.3m this month through its annual televised football match between celebrities and former professionals. This year, public donations were matched by the UK government and global vaccines body Gavi. This meant that £3 was raised for every £1 given. Soccer Aid points out that this year’s match broke fundraising records for the celebrity event, which started in 2006 and raised £6.7m in 2019.
Charities should also not be afraid to ask for help from an external fundraising consultant. These professionals will have worked across a wide range of campaigns, often across sectors, so have a vast experience of what works, and what doesn’t. They can assist with things from troubleshooting technical issues to taking the lead managing a campaign.
There are a range of out of house experts available for different budgets, including pro-bono support. An example is the Media Trust, which has created a volunteer platform that connects media and creative industry professionals looking to support charities.
Digital marketing support via the platform includes help telling stories through film, website strategy and help with social media.
A robust CRM system is an important piece of kit that charity marketers can use to ensure they are successfully managing their relationship with supporters and addressing campaign failures. Among the benefits of CRM systems is the ability to analyse data to better understand your audience, ensure they are being contacted and targeted for donations in a way that appeals to them.
This can include donor segmentation as well as better management of fundraising campaigns, with fast and accurate insight into the impact of campaign activities.
Salesforce.org Nonprofit Cloud, which offers real-time measurement and artificial intelligence (AI) insights into donors, is among CRM products designed specifically to help charities. Another is the cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics 365, which has a range of functions to automate supporter communications.
Above all, if a campaign if failing, take time to have conversations with supporters and staff and ask them where they think it can be improved. Arguably charities’ best asset is their beneficiaries and supporters.