I worked with various sized organizations all with different causes and the one thing that I see most in common is that they lack strong broad-based donor bases at the lower level. Most have focused their efforts on building relationships with their top donors, if at all. But, most do not have enough broad-based support to provide a sustainable source of revenue or event to build a larger major gift effort in the future.
The donor pyramid just does not exist or has been eroded through natural attrition over the years.
So, when these groups come to me, the most often asked question that I receive is, “Where can I find new donors?”
Years ago, I would have recommended list swaps and the purchase of mailing lists. However, in today’s digital age, I believe we have more accessible and cost-effective options at our disposal than ever before.
More recently, I have found that many of my groups have developed strong social followings. So, I have recommended that Peer-to-Peer campaigns, if executed correctly, can help to build a cadre of loyal ambassadors and develop a stream of interested prospective new donors. This is an effective decentralized method of fundraising in which your supporters reach out to their “pre-existing” networks to support your cause who then may, in turn, reach out to others as well.
In fact, it has been found that each Peer-to-Peer page, on average, raises $568 from 7 total donors including 4 new donors. Imagine if you had 20 fundraisers raising money on your behalf; statistically, you could bring in almost 1oo new donors.
And, no there is no better time than Calendar Year-End to “trial” a Peer-to-Peer fundraising campaign.
Consider these tips when starting or incorporating your Peer-to-Peer campaign into your Calendar Year-End campaign:
Choose a platform that will allow you full access to your supporters and their contact information. Not every platform easily allows access to this information.
Select a campaign that this is going to be held in tandem with, perhaps your calendar year-end campaign or maybe even a special event such as a walk-a-thon or a building climb. Peer-to-Peer campaigns work well with community-based types of fundraising.
Develop a theme for your Peer-to-Peer campaign if desired, to build excitement and energy.
Determine what social channels that you are going to work within, i.e. Facebook, Instagram, etc. While LinkedIn is a possibility, it is mostly reserved for professional networking and has not translated well into Peer-to-Peer social engagement.
Determine what both your monetary and non-monetary goals are going to be, i.e. how many fundraisers are you going to recruit and what will be their goal. For instance, you may want to “trial” a goal of recruiting 5 fundraisers who are going to raise a total of $5,000.
Develop a social media and overall campaign communications plan that will set goals around organic reach and determine your spend on digital ads.
Create a digital fundraising toolkit for all of your fundraisers to provide them with everything they need upfront, including all the support, tips, resources, templates, timetables, suggested content, email signatures, etc. This toolkit may be kept in a central place such as a Dropbox file.
Consider starting a Facebook group just for your fundraisers as a place where they can go to bond together as campaign fundraisers before your event/campaign, get more campaign-related resources, and share success and challenges. Provide them with fundraising tips, toolkit links, general encouragement, and encourage them to share their Facebook posts and videos.
Also consider additional modes of outreach to campaign fundraisers through phone calls, text messages, emails, and other informal follow-ups. The aim is to keep them in the loop and engaged with all the tools that they need to successfully fund-raise on your behalf.
Have participants share their stories tied to their “why” or their motivations. Capture these stories on videos and share them socially and through other campaign communications.
Also, consider having your fundraisers take their fundraising offline and hold special fundraising events for your campaign such as a wine tasting, concert, etc.
Maintain good analytic data on key campaign metrics such as open rates, click rates, etc. But, also remember that it is not just about monetary value, but valuing fundraisers as participants.
Keep the campaign open at least two weeks after the official “close” of it so that fundraisers can complete their collections, and maybe even do a bit more fundraising on your organization’s behalf.
Thank everyone who participated in your organization’s blog posts, on your website, in your social media, your print and online newsletters, etc.
Develop a welcome series to further engage these new and current donors into your organization. Now that you have interested them, you must engage them.
Conduct a SWOT analysis of the entire campaign to determine its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and to plan for the next year. Document your findings for historical purposes.
Organizations must consider donor acquisition and its importance to building broad strong donor bases. While transformational fundraising is essential, one can’t neglect the more transactional strategies that allow us to build a base of smaller givers who eventually one day may serve as the feeder into a loyal contributor, if we continue to build a relationship with them.
Consider using your calendar year-end campaign and your social following to help acquire new donors and build a stronger donor base.
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