Pro Tips for Leveling Up Your Fundraising Game

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Michelle Fournier

Donations very rarely, just happen. More often than not, they occur in response to an ask, a campaign or an event, and the psychology behind fundraising must be considered. We have compiled a few tips on how best to approach fundraising, to get the very most out of your efforts.


Fundraise in Phases


People are followers by nature and when it applies to fundraising, tend to respond more favorably to campaigns that appear to be on the path to a successful outcome than those which appear to be struggling. People want to be associated with winners, so when you find yourself preparing to launch your next campaign, give a soft and hard launch a try. 


Soft Launch:

Think of a fundraising soft launch as a high touch invite for your nearest and dearest, supporters whom you can count on, and those who have a proven track record of supporting your organization when in need. By pre-inviting this group to your campaign, not only do you make them feel VIP, you have created a strong foundation of funds to open your initiative to the public. 


Hard Launch:

This is the official public launch of your program. It is here when you shout your fundraising initiative from the rooftop.  Open up the initiative to all your social media followers and your email database. Ask your partners to include the campaign in their next newsletter or email blast as well as on their social platforms.  With the success of the soft launch, the campaign is already showing growth and promise when launched publicly, and will encourage others to support accordingly.


Choose a Focus

People contribute to a movement, a passion, a mission. When determining how to communicate your needs with the public, pick one story which embodies that ethos, and tell that story completely. Avoid cluttering the ask with too many examples, find the face of your campaign and land there. Tell the story clearly and succinctly, relate it back to the ask, and be passionate.  

A study conducted by University of Pennsylvania  found that campaigns highlighting  a single mission, or ask, generated more donations than those focusing on multiple stories or examples. This same study also found that information heavy copy, and data actually had a negative impact on the overall fundraising campaign. So, tell your story, keep it simple, and make the ask.


Physical Commitment & Engagement

It is impossible to scroll through social media and not see people setting forth challenges in one way or another. According to a study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University, fundraising contributions go up sharply when attached to a physical challenge. It’s easy to find examples from “The Ice Bucket Challenge” which had more than 17 million participants globally, to incredibly successful “small” local fundraisers such as the Pan Mass Challenge with nearly 7k riders who raised an incredible $63 million for Dana Farber Cancer Research. Pair a motivational, physical challenge with a cause that elicits passion, and your fundraising efforts will elevate. 

Virtual fundraisers will be the best approach for the foreseeable future, try bike-a-thons, 5k’s, a twist on an ice bucket challenge or even walk dogs for donations. There is an incredible opportunity to be creative in these times, take advantage of that and see the measurable increase in your fundraising campaigns. 


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