Fundraise Smarter

Time-Limited Fundraising Campaign: Top 7 Tips for Success

Posted by Adam Weinger on Aug 6, 2019 4:43:00 PM

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Planning a fundraiser is not something most people do overnight. From finding the right event to establishing donation goals to organizing a marketing plan, a fundraiser is something that typically requires months of planning and preparing.

However, what if you just don’t have that much time? What if something fell through and you need to start over? What if there is an emergency and you need to fundraise money quickly and immediately?

Well, if you’re in a time crunch and need to help your nonprofit now, you came to the right place. With these tips you’ll be learning how to:

  1. Pick the Right Event
  2. Reach Out to Past Donors
  3. Make the Most of New Donors
  4. Take Advantage of Social Media
  5. Launch your Fundraiser with a Quick Video to Capture Attention
  6. Establish Timelines
  7. Connect Each Donation Goal Met with a Physical Impact

If you’re in the middle of planning your own fundraising campaign, you might be feeling stressed right now. These hints are sure to make you feel much more confident, though! Let’s get started.


1. How to Pick the Right Event

The first step in this crash course on fundraiser planning is choosing your event. When conducting a fundraiser, you have to think about what is going to be easiest for both you and the donors, especially when you’re on a time crunch.

You need an event that:

  • Doesn’t require a big budget. Picking an event that will cost more than it’s worth is not a good idea. The smaller the budget the easier it will be to plan!
  • Can be online. Hosting a fundraising campaign online is a great idea because it doesn’t require that much physical manpower. You can also spread the word by encouraging donors to share the fundraiser to their friends with social media.
  • Can use materials already owned. Think about events that use materials that people already own. For example, if you have a shoe drive, people can donate shoes they no longer wear without having to get anything else to contribute.
  • Times it well. One of the best seasons to have a fundraiser is between Thanksgiving and New Years. This is because people tend to feel more generous during the holidays!

It might take a while to think of the perfect event that can be done in the time you have, but once you do, the process will be much easier. For more inspiration, check out Double the Donation’s list of fundraising ideas!


2. Reach Out to Past Donors

Now that you have your event idea, you need to think about the actual participants of your fundraiser— the donors. How do you ask people to donate? One of the easiest ways to speed up the donation process is to ask people who have donated to your nonprofit in the past. You know that they:

  • Already care about your mission. This means you don’t have to take time to get them interested!
  • They know what you do and trust you to do it. The fact that they already donated means that they have gone through this process with you before and know what to expect. As long as you didn’t mess up the first time around, they should trust you to know what you’re doing with their gifts.
  • Might share your fundraiser with their friends even if they can’t make the donations themselves. Sometimes people are just having a bad month, but as long as they believe in your mission and want to help, people will be happy to share your campaign on social media free of charge!

Contacting already known supporters is just one of the ways to make the most out of your time-limited fundraising campaign! Read on to learn more about finding the right donors.


3. Make the Most of New Donors

Getting a new supporter is always exciting, but don’t pat yourself on the back just yet. Fundraising campaigns of all sizes are good opportunities for identifying potential major donors. If you want to make the most out of your engagement with donors, you should prepare ahead of time.

It’s a good idea to conduct wealth screening on your newest donors to generate long-term value for your organization. A new supporter could potentially turn into a major donor, who tend to give large amounts after being in personal contact with the nonprofit for a while. It might be worth it to develop a plan to deepen your relationship with that individual.

Wealth screening is an important part of prospect research. This research strategy involves understanding potential major donors by looking through publicly available donor data including:

  • Philanthropic support or contribution to other organizations
  • Donations to political entities
  • Wealth markers like real estate and vehicle ownership
  • Shares in publicly traded companies

Why do we look at these data points? It’s because they reveal a lot about your supporters— how much they could possibly give and their likeliness of giving. Their wealth markers will help indicate their giving capacity while their giving likeliness is measured with past contributions.

You can even utilize this data after your campaign is done! To learn even more about your audience, you can analyze your post-campaign data to identify potential major donors and refine fundraising strategies for the future.


4. Take Advantage of Social Media

Living in the 21st century, you’ve probably figured out just how useful social media can be. With most popular social media accounts being free, spreading your fundraiser through this channel can be extremely far reaching and cost effective!

One of the best ways to utilize the power of social media is through peer-to-peer fundraising. This is when you enlist a group of supporters to fundraise on your behalf. Volunteers post the donation pages on their social media profiles and encourage their family and friends to donate. If you recruit enough supporters, you can raise an incredible amount of money in a short amount of time.

Full-scale peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns typically do require a considerable amount of planning and strategy, but you can still learn a lot from this fundraising style, especially when it comes to marketing and social media. Spend some time studying up, then think of ways to incorporate similar techniques into your own particular campaign.

To make the most of your social media campaign, we recommend taking a look at Re:charity’s guide to the top peer-to-peer fundraising platforms!


5. Launch your Fundraiser with a Quick Video to Capture People’s Attention

A good way to jump-start your campaign when you are on a time budget can be to release an online video to get the word out. Using videos to announce your fundraiser is great because they:

  • Capture more attention
  • Are time efficient
  • Are easily shareable through social media
  • Can tell an engaging and emotional story

As you can see, planning a fundraiser can be tricky and time-consuming, but using a video can help spread awareness quickly. Just make sure you allocate enough time to film and edit!


6. Establish Timelines

Knowing that you are on a time budget means that you should be setting up clear deadlines and goals for your fundraising campaign. There are certain timelines you should be aware of that can incentivize donors:

  • Donation goal. One of the things that can really motivate both your team and your donors is knowing that there is a goal you want to meet. Having a concrete financial goal will encourage people to contribute more as you get closer and closer.
  • Campaign end date. If your fundraiser will only be operating for a certain amount of time, you should definitely let donors know. Having a deadline really motivates people, especially the closer it is.
  • Gift matching deadlines. As we mentioned earlier, it can be helpful to figure out your donor’s business affiliations. This can be used to determine if they are eligible for a corporate gift matching program where their employer can match their donation to double or triple the contribution! A lot of these programs have deadlines so make the timeline for gift matching known. If you want to learn more about matching gift programs, click here.

Having timelines when planning and conducting your event will keep you organized and help you launch your campaign without any hiccups! Remember to let both your donors and volunteers know about these timelines.



7. Connect Each Donation Goal Met with a Physical Impact

This final tip has to do with your nonprofit strategic planning, or setting actionable goals for pursuing your mission. Having these actionable goals is important because it is a good way to measure how well you have been doing. Then you can set up the amount needed to achieve each of these goals!

This is a good idea because you can update donors as the campaign goes on whether one of your actionable goals has been achieved! For example, if you are raising money to build schools, you can let donors know when you have enough to build that first one and thank them for their help.

Being able to see something accomplished because of a contribution you made is extremely satisfying and encourages donors to either donate more or continue to spread the word. And when you’re on a time-limited fundraising campaign, every minute and dollar counts.

Hopefully, reading this article didn’t take too much time out of your planning and you learned a couple of tricks to keep up your sleeve. With this knowledge, you’re sure to have a successful and time-efficient fundraising campaign— so good luck!

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