How To Get Donations To Your Nonprofit’s First Mightycause Fundraiser
Getting started on Mightycause is easy: You sign up for a Mightycause account, claim your nonprofit’s page, and spend some time customizing your organization’s page on Mightycause. The hard work is in planning, launching, and running your first fundraiser. Plus, learning how to get donations to your fundraiser is tough work!
Using Mightycause may be your nonprofit’s first step into online fundraising, or you may have moved to our platform from another and have several successful campaigns under your belt, but launching your first fundraiser on a new platform can be a fraught experience either way. Your organization’s work depends on the success of your campaign, and your bosses are watching you — what could be more stressful?!
But don’t worry — we’ve got your back.
In this Mightycause Guide article, we’re going to break down how to establish your nonprofit’s presence on Mightycause, how to plan and launch your first campaign, and how to achieve your financial goals and pick up sustaining supporters on Mightycause. So, get comfortable, because we’ve got a lot of ground to cover!
Before You Launch …
It may be tempting to dive in head-first and start your first fundraiser, but there are a few things you should do to lay the groundwork beforehand. You’ll want to take advantage of Mightycause’s nonprofit fundraising tools and integrate them into your day-to-day fundraising operations.
- Customize your organization page on Mightycause. On Mightycause, there are three types of pages: Organization pages, fundraiser pages, and team pages. Your organization page is the hub of your nonprofit’s presence on Mightycause, so before leaping into starting your first fundraiser page, make sure your organization’s page has a strong cover photo or video in its gallery, has a clear and powerful mission statement, and has current contact information listed. If you need help updating your organization page on Mightycause, contact our friendly customer support staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Get familiar with the platform. You can access the tools you’ll need during your first campaign and throughout the year through your admin panel, which you open by clicking “Manage Page” on your organization page. Click around and get familiar with these tools — learn how to find and export your donations report, add a matching grant, customize your nonprofit’s thank-you message, and more. You don’t want to do these things for the first time when donations are coming in fast and furious, so get the lay of the land before you launch your first campaign.
- Add a custom thank-you message. Mightycause takes care of distributing receipts to your donors, but you’ll want the people who’ve made a contribution to your nonprofit’s work to hear from you as well, right? You can add a custom thank-you message to receipts by going to the “Thanks” tab in your admin panel. You can even add a video to say thanks. You’ll want to have this in place before you start collecting donations on Mightycause so your donors receive an acknowledgement from your nonprofit.
- Update your website. One of the most powerful tools on Mightycause is our donation widget so make sure to install it on your nonprofit’s website. In our Google-powered world, your website is the online face of your organization and the first place people will go when they want to learn more about what your nonprofit does and how to help. So when you’re getting started on Mightycause, install that widget! Whether you were using a Paypal button, had an address listed where donors could send checks, or had another platform’s tools on installed on your website, update your website with our donation widget. You’ll want to pull the donation widget from your organization page on Mightycause, so that donations go into your general fund.
- Check your settings. Mightycause offers checkout customization options that you can opt into based on your organization’s needs. By default, Mightycause does not collect mailing addresses from donors, but if it’s important to your nonprofit to have mailing addresses for donors, you’ll need to make sure you’re opted into address collection. We also offer custom donation levels, and we know donors rely on them to determine what amount to donate, so make sure you’ve got custom donation suggestions set. These options are all in the “Edit” tab of your organization page’s admin panel.
- Set up EFT. By default, Mightycause sends a disbursement check to the address listed on your IRS determination letter around the 10th of each month. But if your nonprofit would like to get disbursements faster and more frequently, you have the option of signing up for electronic funds transfer (EFT). All you have to do to sign up for EFT is fill out a simple form. It’s easiest to get this done before your first campaign launches to ensure that your first disbursement will be sent how your nonprofit wants it!
- Make test donations. Mightycause has a strong team that offers customer support to both your nonprofit and your donors, but your donors might come to you with questions about their donations. You’ll want to be prepare by understanding the donation process. We recommend make a test donation or two so that you are prepared to help any donors who contact you about issues, and so you can double-check that you’re capturing the information you want from donors.
Planning Your First Campaign
Setting up a fundraiser on Mightycause is seriously easy — once you’ve done it once or twice, you’ll be able to get a page created and published in less time than it takes you to walk to the break room and refill your coffee cup.
But to set your fundraiser up for success, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a solid fundraising plan in place before launching. Here’s what you should have in place before you launch your fundraiser:
- Strategy. How are you going to get to your goal? It’s a simple question but can be hard to answer. Having a fundraising strategy in place is essential because it helps you plot the course from your launch date to your goal. Check out this article about fundraising strategy to get started.
- Communications plan. Not sure how to get started with communications planning? We’ve got an article that will help you out. Having a solid communications plan will ensure that your messaging is focused and effective, so this is an important step in the planning process. You’ll also want to create your social media and email plans as part of the communications planning process. Social media and email are going to be the most important tools in your campaign, so take the time to come up with a plan for when you’re going to contact your supporters, how you’re going to follow up, how you’ll spread the word on social media, etc. You’ll also want to think about how frequently you contact your supporters via email and social media — carefully consider how often to send out emails (and this may vary between different types of donors) and how often to post about your campaign on social media.
- Schedule. “Poor planning is the enemy of success,” the saying goes, so make sure you’ve got your campaign’s important dates plotted out from beginning to end. You can make your schedule as big-picture or granular as you’d like, but you’ll at least need to know your soft launch date, hard launch date, and when your fundraiser ends. You can include or create a separate calendars for your email schedule, social media posts and ads, any events corresponding with your fundraiser, and other elements that will be important to your campaign’s success.
- Content. The more time you have to craft any content needed for your campaign, the better off you will be. You’ll want to plan out emails, social media posts, photo assets, testimonials, videos, marketing collateral, etc. So before you launch your fundraiser, determine what content you need and start working on it ASAP so you’ll have it on deck when you launch your campaign. (Don’t forget to ask your awesome volunteers to help!)
Instead of blasting your fundraiser to all of your supporters at once, you can build momentum for your fundraiser with a soft launch. This means recruiting a small group of your most dedicated supporters to kick off your campaign a few weeks before publicizing it to all of your supporters.
Benefits Of A Soft Launch:
- Gaining initial feedback. Since your soft launch will involve people already familiar with your nonprofit’s work, you can get feedback about what works and what might need improvement before rolling it out to everyone.
- Breaking the ice. With a soft launch, you’re not only getting feedback from your donors about your campaign, you’re seeding it. Instead of sending your supporters to a page with zero donations when you send your first email launching your fundraiser to everyone, you’ll be sending them to a page that has already gotten donations. You’ve broken the ice with your soft launch, and your supporters will see that your cause is one others feel is worth supporting.
- Engaging high-level supporters. Everyone likes to feel special, so giving your nonprofit’s biggest supporters early access to your campaign and asking for their feedback gets them engaged and invested in this particular campaign and also makes them feel important and valued.
Who To Include In Your Soft Launch:
- Board members
- Highly-engaged volunteers
- Major donors
- Anyone in your nonprofit’s “inner circle” who is an enthusiastic supporter! (Bonus points if they’re tech-savvy and active on social media.)
How To Contact Supporters For Your Soft Launch
A personalized email can work well, but we recommend reaching out in person or on the phone to tell them about your fundraiser. Personal outreach makes people more likely to participate — it’s easy to ignore an email but much harder to ignore a friendly voice on the phone!
Focus your communications with your soft launch participants on the fact that you value their support so much that you’re giving them a sneak peek at your upcoming campaign and an advanced chance to try out your new fundraising platform. Make sure to let them know that you want to hear their feedback and hope they’ll help your campaign build momentum by making an early contribution.
To make the most of your soft launch, follow up with those who participate by asking for their feedback. Whether you put together a survey through SurveyMonkey or Google Forms, or give them a call, send them an email, or ask them in person what they thought of your campaign and their experience of making a donation, follow-up to collect their feedback. It will only make your campaign stronger and help you smooth out any wrinkles before your hard launch.
You’ll also want to follow-up with a personal thank you and a new “ask.” Once they’ve made a donation and given their feedback, tell them you’re hoping they’ll help spread the word about your fundraiser by sharing it on social media and emailing a link to people they know who might be interested in your cause.
After you’ve crossed your t’s, dotted your i’s, completed your soft launch, and your fundraiser is in tip-top condition… this is it! You’re ready to launch your campaign to everyone!
So, how do you spread the word? Here’s what you should do to launch your campaign:
- Send emails to your donors. Your email list is the most powerful tool in your online fundraising arsenal. To make the most of your email marketing efforts, segment your email list so you can talk directly to each type of donor with a customized email and “ask.” For instance, tailor an email to sustaining donors, letting them know how important they are to your nonprofit and asking them to contribute. Tailor another email to one-time donors, another to people who are signed up for emails but have never made a donation, and so on. You don’t need to completely reinvent your content for each email, but small tweaks that speak directly to each kind of donor can make your emails more effective. You should have your emails already crafted by the time your campaign launches, so now you can just let them send and check the analytics! (Remember to check your open rates and clickthroughs to see if you need to adjust, or even need to schedule more emails.)
- Post on social media. Announce your campaign on your social media channels. We also recommend running ads on social media, as well as boosting any key Facebook posts about your fundraiser, to increase the odds that they are seen. (Ads and boosted posts can increase your visibility substantially for very little money!) Social media is also your best place to gain grassroots support, so remember to ask your followers to share your posts about your fundraiser!
- Update your website. Make sure your fundraiser is front-and-center on your nonprofit’s website! From your home page, visitors should be able to immediately tell that you’re running a campaign and know where they can donate. Each fundraiser has its own widget, so add that to your website as well!
- Add it to your newsletter. If your nonprofit has either a paper or email newsletter, make sure to write about your fundraiser and provide a link to your subscribers can donate.
- Live event/launch party. Kick off your fundraiser with a casual, low-key event like an open house or happy hour to engage your supporters and build momentum.
The period just after you launch your campaign should be one of the busiest times, so make sure you have staff or volunteers available to correspond with donors and monitor your campaign. Because of the hard work you put into planning your campaign, perfecting your fundraiser page, listening to feedback from donors during your soft launch, and creating content for your fundraiser, you should see donations coming in strong and steady during this period.
It’s pretty common for fundraisers to start strong and then experience a bit of a slump in the middle. That’s why it’s important to keep your supporters engaged throughout the whole campaign.
Plan to communicate with them regularly on social media, with emails, and via any other communication channels your nonprofit uses. We recommend writing a schedule for these communications so you can make sure you’re contacting them during critical points in your campaign!
Your Mightycause page has some tools that can help you keep donors engaged:
- Updates. When you post an update to your fundraiser, it posts to your page and also triggers an email to all of your previous donors. This can keep them engaged in your fundraiser, and can also send them back to your page to make another donation or share on social media.
- Comments. Mightycause introduced tiered commenting that allows you to respond directly to comments on your fundraiser. Get involved in the comments! Each time you respond to a comment, that user gets an email notifying them, prompting them back to your page and engaging them in a conversation.
- Likes. You can “like” donations by clicking the small heart next to each donation in your timeline. Like all of our donor engagement tools, this sends an email notifying them that you liked their donation and also prompting them to re-visit your page!
Now that you know the ins and outs of running your first fundraiser on Mightycause, what are you waiting for?! Start raising money for your nonprofit on Razoo!