Mightycause has been a leader in the Giving Day market for over 10 years, and over these years we’ve had a chance to partner with some of the biggest and most impactful Giving Days and events across the country. We’ve partnered to help host hundreds of giving events, with tens of thousands of nonprofits participating to raise funds for their work. With all this experience, we’ve learned a thing or two about what it takes for an individual participating nonprofit to put together a successful Giving Day campaign. Read on below to learn more about the top 5 elements that the Mightycause team feels are critical to building your nonprofit’s next successful campaign .
Element 1 – Set Clear Goals
Setting clear goals for your organization is your first stop when getting ready for a giving event campaign. If you have been going through the motions of participating in a giving event year after year, start by revisiting why you are participating in your giving event. Have you set monetary and nonmonetary goals? You want to raise money on the giving day but also consider non-monetary goals for your organization. Examples of non-monetary goals include:
- a certain number of unique donors for your campaign
- activating peer to peer fundraisers
- Launching a new program/initiative
- Re-engaging lapsed donors
- Building out a recurring donor base
- securing new matching grants or sponsors
Element 2 – Understand Your Giving Event
Prize Structure and Campaign Planning
When setting your goals for your organization, you will want to spend some time looking over the rules and prizes for your giving event since each giving event is unique. On Mightycause, your giving event site will have a page all about the rules and prizes for that event. This page will be stop number one when it comes to building your campaign strategy. Look at all the prizes, from the golden tickets, power hours and leaderboard prizes to any other special prizes or grants offered by the giving event.
Built-in Marketing Tools
Giving event prizes are built-in marketing tools for your nonprofit campaign. The prizes you are aiming for offer direct calls to action for your supporters. By letting them know what prizes you are trying to win you can keep them updated on your progress and give them a direct ask for how to support you. These prizes also help create a timeline for your goals and strategy. Knowing when and how to win prizes will help you plan a solid email campaign, social media posts, and plan your outreach to supporters. Even if your organization doesn’t ultimately win the prize, just the potential for the prize should be enough to drive donation activity from your supporters.
Element 3 – Utilize Partnerships
Giving events are a great way to engage and connect with community partners in a way that offers mutual benefits.
Ambassadors are people who are in your organization’s inner circle who can help boost your campaign. So, that includes board members, volunteers, especially ones who are highly engaged, staff members, and so on. Utilizing ambassadors can help you break out of your list of existing supporters and engage new people since their networks reach beyond who you might have access to. Ambassadors can share links to your page with their social circle or, they can help by getting involved in peer to peer fundraising for your campaign.
If you have existing partners, meet with them to see how you can work together to keep your fundraising momentum going. Anything from providing a matching grant, fun prizes for peer-to-peer fundraisers, or a social media takeover of their business accounts can engage your partners and your donors, leading to success. It’s also great exposure for these partners – showing their support and engagement with your cause.
Your organization’s board members are highly invested in the financial wellbeing of your organization. Consider asking board members to provide a joint matching grant on behalf of the board. Each board member has their own personal and professional network they can reach out to to help extend your campaign reach which makes peer to peer fundraising an excellent option! You can use the Mightycause tools to create a fundraiser template they can use to help streamline the process. Another great peer to peer fundraising option is to create a Team campaign to allow the board to fundraise all together, bringing with it a fun level of competition.
Consider reaching out to your local businesses for sponsorships. Giving events are great ways to gain exposure as a business. They can show their support for your cause in the community while helping support your fundraising efforts in a variety of ways. Think about different sponsorship levels and who would be open to offering what – is the business interested in supplying your cause a matching grant or maybe they are more interested in helping cover some of your costs like your marketing expenses.
Element 4 – Sustain Momentum
Giving events have different time frames. Some last a month long, others are 12 hour or 24 hour events – no matter what the time frame you will need to sustain momentum.
Map out Mini-Goals
When setting your overall goals for your event, be sure to work in mini-goals throughout your campaign. Mini-goals are an excellent way to sustain momentum by keeping your campaign on track and helping to stir up excitement within your donors and supporters.
When you are setting your mini-goals you will want to consider what your organization’s overall goals are for the event – how many dollars you want to raise, how many donors you need during the event and then use that information to create a timeline of milestones, or mini-goals, to help keep you on track to reaching those major goals during your campaign.
Utilize Prizes and Challenges
Using the event prizes and challenges is an easy way to help sustain momentum. Is there a prize for most early giving donations? Are there any prizes that offer built-in fundraising milestones that can help you reach your goals? Look over the prizes and see if any of these can be an easy choice to work into your campaign to help sustain your momentum.
Finally, matching grants are a really great strategy for driving donations and sustaining momentum. A matching grant is essentially a large donation that your organization leverages to bring in other donations. You can do a lot within the Mightycause matches tool, including setting a cap for donation matching to help spread the match out over more donations allowing more donors to use the matching funds.
Why should you consider using a match? It creates a sense of urgency and offers donors a chance to maximize their donation. Matches help money go further, plus it’s a great marketing tool for your donors! They offer a clear call to action, and help empower donors who may be only able to give in smaller amounts.
Learn more about how to secure a matching grant!
Element 5 – Elevate Your Outreach
Reaching out to your donors is an essential part to your campaign success. You’ll need to let donors know when and how to give. Asking donors to give again at critical times, crafting emails directly to each audience group, and engaging volunteers to help with personal outreach can help lead to success.
Many donors are willing to give to your organization during the giving event more than once. Tying together what we have already mentioned, having mini goals and milestones during your campaign provides reason to ask your donors to give again to help you reach these goals. If you are close to being the winner of a challenge you can use that energy to ask donors to consider giving again to help get you over the finish line. You can also include in the ask that they or share a donation link with their friends as another way to support. Be sure to acknowledge their previous donations and thank them for supporting you along the way to reaching your goals.
Email Segmentation & A/B Testing
To really kick your outreach strategy up a notch, start segmenting your email list. Within Constant Contact, Mailchimp, and other email marketing software, you will have the option to segment your contact list – this means going through and breaking your list into different groups. Consider segmenting groups into volunteers, staff, donors who give every year, donors who only gave once, donors who give in large amounts, etc. Once your email list is segmented now comes the real fun – tailoring your message to each group. People are more likely to engage with emails that speak directly to them. Spend some time crafting compelling messages to these individual segments. An email asking volunteers to donate should sound different than an email asking large annual givers to donate.
If you have the capacity, you can elevate your email outreach even further by experimenting with A/B email testing. This means sending the same email to two groups of a segment with one thing different – like your subject line, or the color of a donate button. After sending, review the analytics and find out which one received a better response. Which email got more engagement? Did a blue donate button receive more clicks than a green? You can gather a lot of valuable information from A/B testing. Implementing what works best for you will help you have the strongest engagement level during your giving event. This is a strategy you can work on throughout the year for campaign success.
While we live in a digital age, there is nothing quite like personal outreach to your donor base during a giving campaign. Personal outreach can still include personal emails but calling donors on the phone or leaving a kind and sincere voicemail carries with it a personal touch that may resonate with your supporters. Consider the age groups of your donor base as well. While some supporters are very comfortable with donating via the internet, others may be more comfortable writing checks after receiving a call from your organization. If you have a limited staff or limited time, no problem! This is a great task for volunteers.
Now that you have read through our top Giving Event campaign planning tips, it’s time to get the fundraising started! Make sure your nonprofit is registered to participate in any local, regional or state based giving days that you are eligible for. Happy fundraising!