5 Things you Need to do Now for a Successful Year-End Campaign

With just seven weeks to go till #GivingTuesday, you’re probably already thinking about your year-end campaign strategy.

While you don’t need all your campaign details ironed out just yet, there are 5 important items you need to give considerable thought to now in order to crush your fundraising goals later.

Don’t procrastinate! These are the make-it-or-break-it items you can’t afford to skimp on. And since they take a bit of time and planning, they simply can’t be put off until the last minute.

If you do nothing else in the way of campaign planning this month, focus on these five things and you’ll be ahead of the game later.

5 Things you Need to do Now for a Successful Year-End Campaign

  1. Determine Your Campaign Focus. You really can’t do anything else until you know exactly what you plan to raise money for. What does your organization need in order to achieve its goals?

Do you need to expand a program? Do you need to fund the salaries of new employees? How about a new or renovated building? Need new equipment for your clinic, school, shelter, etc.?

Your campaign should focus on one specific need that you can articulate in a clear and compelling way.

(Hint: Since successful campaigns revolve around good story-telling, be thinking about funding initiatives that lend themselves to great stories.)

2. Set Your Goal and Make Sure it’s SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.) How much money do you need to raise? By when do you need it?

Once you know how much you need and when you need it by, you’ll be able to put a timeline in place. You’ll also have a better sense for how much time and effort you’ll need to invest in your campaign. Obviously, the more money you aim to raise, the more time and resources will be required.

3. Enlist Key Supporters to Help You with Your Campaign. Start reaching out now to corporate partners, local businesses, donors who can offer matching gifts, and peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraisers. Make sure they commit to partnering with you during the year-end giving season before another cause or nonprofit snatches them away.

4. Invest in a Giving Page That’s Customized for your Campaign. One of the most important factors in the success of your campaign is your online giving page. If you can’t put your campaign logo, video, a giving thermometer, and other campaign details on your current giving page, look into creating an independent campaign page.

Classy, Squarespace and CauseVox are just a few examples of sites that let you create dedicated giving pages that highlight your campaign and showcase real-time progress.

There are multiple benefits to a customized giving page. First, it creates a seamless transition for the donor who’s clicked through form a campaign email or social media post.

Second, it improves the odds that your donor will complete his/her transaction by allowing you to make your case again, on the donation page. I cannot even tell you how many donors nonprofits lose because of confusing or uninspiring giving pages.

Third, several of these giving sites allow your supporters to create personal fundraising pages so they can raise money for you through campaigns of their own (think P2P and crowdfunding.)

And finally, you’ll be able to track how many donations (and how much) were a direct result of your campaign efforts.

5. Start Working on Your Campaign Video. A video providing a brief but powerful overview of your fundraiser is critical to the success of your campaign.

While it doesn’t need to be shot professionally, it does need to tell a story, include captions (most people watch video with the sound off,) showcase the people you serve, be shot with good sound and lighting, and be well edited.

Your video doesn’t have to look fancy or professional. It just needs to be inspiring and authentic. Get creative and have fun with this project.

It should be no longer than 2 minutes and needs to convey the WHY of your campaign – why people should support your endeavor – along with a firm call-to-action.

You’ll need to carve out some time for this one. Start by developing a video concept and script to guide those who shoot and edit the video. You’ll also need to acquire permissions to use background music, identify the people you want to include in the video and obtain their permission, chose shoot locations, and invest in a decent lapel mic.

Start working on these 5 items now, and you’ll be ready well-poised to for a successful year-end campaign.

Coming Soon…

In a few weeks we’ll look at other key assets to a successful campaign: think campaign logos, editorial calendars, appeal letters, social media posts, live video, profile stories, P2P fundraisers, matching gifts, and so on.

What other items are you already working on for your year-end campaign? I’d love to know! Share them in the comments below.

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