A quick bare-bones checklist for running your campaign. Over the next few weeks we'll publish more posts covering these topics in a lot more detail. There will also be specific posts on envelope based systems and lotto campaigns. Fundraising isn't easy - it takes time, patience, occasionally luck but these basic eight points will help get you off on the right track.
- Organise Your Committee: It might take years to reach your target or you might be planning an ongoing campaign – either way you’ll need help.
- Pick your targets: Once you have your committee in place start defining your goals. Are they long or short-term? Are they simply financial or do you have other ambitions as well? For example you might want to gather more volunteers as well as raise money. Remember your goals should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic and Timed.
- Pick your methods. How are you going to raise your funds – regular giving campaigns e.g. envelopes campaigns, events based campaigns, selling goods e.g. charity cards, raffles or lotto envelopes etc. Normally fundraising will involve a mixture of all of the above.
- Pick your channels: How are you going to communicate with your supporters or potential supporters? There are a wide range available - Facebook Pages and Twitter are great ways of getting the word out and are becoming increasingly used for encouraging donations but don't discount the power of direct mail. If you are using DM remember targeted pieces achieve much better results so be sure to personalise everything you send.
- Establish your case for support. However you choose to communicate, what you need to communicate is Why. Why you need support, why people should support your cause, why supporting you will benefit the community. Simon Sinek's book "Start with Why" is a fascinating read on the power of why in a business context but a lot of the information is equally applicable to not-for-profits.
- Run your campaign.
- Review your progress and analyse the results. Regular reviews are essential - if you're hitting all your targets maybe they were too low; if not, maybe they were too high. Always be sure you know where the money is coming from and what factors are helping or hindering that.
- Communicate your progress and acknowledge your gratitude. Regular communication is an essential part of donor development - always say thank you, always furnish receipts and always acknowledge milestones in your campaign.
Abouit the author - Tom Clements is the managing director of RPD Limited, he has a degree in Communications from Dublin City University, a Certificate in Fundraising Management from the Open University and is a member of the Institute of Fundraising in the UK. He's also on the board of directors of The Lord's Taverners Ireland a charity which works towards "giving youngsters, especialy those with special needs a sporting chance". (http://www.lordstavernersireland.ie).