Timing is Important, but It Isn’t Everything
Determining the ideal time to launch an effective fundraising campaign can seem daunting, but further below, we walk through some trends around recommended launch times. But while timing matters, the campaign’s weight is better defined by what you say and how you say it. Grab the attention of your donors by providing them with a clear message and how their investment in your mission will make an impact!
Covering the Basics
Appeal to your donor base by answering the who, what, where, when, why and how. Consider who you are asking, what you are asking of them, and make sure to clearly communicate where they can take action, when they can do it, and why it is important. Check out some examples implemented by the Oregon Humane Society for its annual peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, Doggie Dash.
Four Seasons, Three Campaigns
- Monthly Giving: Start off the New Year right by reaching out to your current donor base, and asking them to consider a monthly gift. January is an optimal time to remind donors what you do and why monthly donations provide a steady revenue stream to balance some of the peaks and valleys of an annual fundraising calendar. Take the first 2-3 months of the year to look inward and ensure new supporters receive a warm, informative welcome. This can be achieved with an automated email welcome series that clearly includes what the organization is all about, an expression of gratitude, and how their donations will make a difference!
2. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: Early or Mid-Spring is a great time to a launch a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. A peer-to-peer campaign is an effective tool to engage your current donor base and personalize fundraising. Take this time to build a good relationship with your donors and prospective fundraisers. Consider wrapping up the campaign with an awesome in-person or online event that people will look forward to returning to next year.
Summer isn’t typically an ideal time to launch a fundraiser – school’s out, families are traveling, efforts to unwind and unplug are abundant. However, it’s still important to consider how you will engage donors during this time frame. Be creative and use social media as a tool to keep donors engaged. Summer is also a great time to make sure all your ducks are in a row for a robust end-of-year giving campaign.
3. End-of-Year Giving: Use the months of September and October to prepare your donor base for a year-end final push, whether notifying them through email, chatbots, social, or your organization’s website. Giving Tuesday is the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving and can serve as the kick– off for your year-end campaign. Express gratitude and continue to share how donor dollars have fueled important work.
4. *Bonus* Reactive Fundraising: Don’t get caught flat-footed if an event or news story would help amplify your organization’s mission. Whether reacting to a major natural disaster or an uptick in media coverage around the refugee crisis, use these powerful moments to demonstrate the importance of the services provided by your organization. Build the structure of what a reactive plan would entail – website updates, emails to which segments of your supporters, media outreach, social media support, etc.
Approach the calendar year with these recommendations in mind:
- Let the Past Guide You – Take some time to look at what has worked and what hasn’t. Research your peers in the space for inspiration.
- Plan Whenever You Can – Create a fundraising strategy for this upcoming year. Write it down – it saves you and your team time in the long run.
- Lean In with Confidence – Don’t wait. Take what you’ve learned and implement it. Be creative, be precise, and get organized.
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