Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Getting Campaign ready: where to start?

Sorry for being so quiet recently, I've been busy. I've launched a major organisational-wide campaign and here are some thoughts I've gathered in the process that I thought were worth sharing.

Perhaps we should start at the beginning.

Why on earth would you choose to move into campaign? 

All that extra added bonus pressure, the targets, the expectations? Apart from the blatant fact that many of us fundraisers thrive on a bit of a busy (work) life...well, a campaign can galvanise the interest of donors and improve engagement opportunities. It can encourage donors to aim higher, as well as accelerating the decision to make a gift. A campaign, if done well, will also improve awareness both internally and externally of what is going on across the institution. A campaign can improve awareness of unique projects are being undertaken and improve staff, and stakeholder commitment to the long term plans. It all takes a lot of time and effort through, and you can’t stop once you’ve started!

So first things first:

Research and plan

This may not mean an expensive externally researched feasibility study (depending on your organisation): it could consist of focus groups, an internal review with staff/volunteer/service user input, and external stakeholder meetings in order to hear thoughts and ideas. This can also be used to gather intelligence about your stakeholders, prospects and donors and what THEY are interested in.

This will inform you strategic outlook. 

But first, review the feedback/feasibility study and...


What makes your organisation different from similar groups around you? How are you unique? Seek out these key differences and push them to the forefront - they are your strengths. You need to come across as authentic and aspirational, and show the outside (and inside) world what impact you can (and will) make on society/the country/ /the world. What makes you unique? How? Why? Who for? Know these answers.

Develop your stories.

Find your champions. Who within your organisation is inspiring and can talk about how exciting the work is that is being done? As fundraisers, we are the catalysts for change, but we need to find the star on the ground with whom we have the chemistry with, that combined together with the project, and our fundraising magic, can create an explosive transformation.

Think BIG.

Be ambitious. Big ideas drive big investment. BUT be sure that the project can be delivered and that you're being realistic. You definitely don't want part funding for a project that cannot go ahead. Having to explain that to a donor won't be fun, You will need leadership buy-in for this part (and the rest too in reality) as big projects don't appear from thin air and the importance of ambition should be cascading from above, but hopefully your leadership have been behind your plans from the beginning.

Launch your Campaign

Raising awareness across the institution and externally is a big job for any organisation, whatever the size. Unless you have a huge media machine behind you, don’t expect this to happen overnight, it’s a slow burn, but it will happen. Keep plugging, keep hold of the urgency in your projects, and ensure you look after those donors and project champions that support you along the way. 

Also, don't forget that old prospects could be interested in new projects. Just because someone hasn’t been interested in your organisation in the past, doesn’t mean that a new vision they can relate to won’t inspire them. So, think out of the box and remember, if you don't ask, you don't get. 

Right, time to go and get fundraising....


For more info on Campaigns and how to go about the planning of one, also check out @collectivemarg 's recent post:

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