Whether you’re just starting out or making a few tweaks to your campaign, here are a few fundraising faux pas to watch out for.
Whilst it’s great that you’re fundraising and we’ve no doubt that your friends and family support you 100%, don’t go overboard.
There is such a thing as campaign overkill. Once you’ve taken it one step too far, that’s it; the interest is gone, and your potential sponsors have well and truly checked out. Is it the only thing you talk about/every post you write on Facebook? We love the enthusiasm, but maybe think about toning it down a little.
Patience isn’t characteristic of 21st life. If you get on someone’s nerves, no matter how honourable your intentions are, they will ignore your message – in person and online. You need to create the right balance: be aware of your target audience and know what keeps them engaged.
Sticking to what’s safe
Some believe that fundraising is simply handing out a sponsorship form and hoping for the best, which it can be. But you’ll never reach your potential sitting back and waiting for the money to come to you.
If you’re serious about increasing donations, don’t rely on one fundraising type. According to fundraising platform Causera, over recent years “charities have reported receiving less than 25% of their charitable revenue from any one fundraising type” proving that taking a ‘multi-pronged’ approach is most beneficial.
Depending on your availability, try teaming one off events – such as a bake sale or marathon run, with other profitable strategies.
Restricting your audience
Don’t restrict your fundraising campaign to a select group of people. Network and get in touch with local and big businesses alike. Encouraging CEOs from established businesses to get involved in your work not only bumps up your donation total; it also brings authority to your campaign, with the potential to encourage others to follow suit and donate generously.
Don’t undervalue individual donations. Again, research made by Causera shows that corporate sponsorship isn’t the only answer. They found that “charitable donations from individuals are on the rise as they have increased 3.9% to reach a total of 73% of all donations;” whereas corporation-based donations only accounted for 5% of all giving in 2011.
The reality is, charitable donations from individuals far outweigh that of corporations, so dedicate a substantial amount of time to socialising and spreading the word about your campaign.
To get the most out of your campaign, be in tune with technology. According to Blackbaud, “online giving grew 13.5% in 2013” and continues to rise.
This incredible platform opens many doors, with the possibility of your charitable campaign going global. Whilst traditional forms of media still hold value, online mediums are definitely taking the lead. Establish an online presence and maintain it. It goes without saying; be visible on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but also be aware of other online avenues.
Consider how potential sponsors are viewing your campaign. According to DonorDrive, “responsive design doubles giving on mobile devices.” In an increasingly mobile world, it’s important to check that your content is accessible and easy to interact with across all devices.
If you’re thinking big but haven’t got the resource, consider recruiting extra help. Thousands of others share your passion for charity work; so don’t be afraid to reach out for additional support.
Whether you’re contacting a forum or recruiting volunteers, the more the merrier! If it’s a long-term campaign, call on professional help. Joe Garecht of The Fundraising Authority believes that the biggest mistake fundraisers make is not investing in their campaigns.
Be that individual’s who avoid getting the ball rolling and hesitate to invest in their project ‘emotionally’ or financially, or newly-developed non-profit organisations that refuse to seek professional advice when it comes to writing up an effective marketing plan; Garecht agrees, there’s too much at stake for you to sell your campaign short. If needs be, create a team and go in all guns blazing.
Not being tactful
Money is a touchy subject. And when you’re fighting for a charity that’s close to your heart, it’s easy to forget this. Just because you’re campaigning for an amazing cause, doesn’t mean people are obliged to give you money. It takes something special for a person to handover their hard-earned cash, so don’t get annoyed or frustrated if people refuse to donate. Instead, concentrate on your efforts – why aren’t you getting the sponsors you need, could you be more tactful, does your audience require a better understanding of your work?
Thorough planning and research enables you to see clearly, what’s required of your sponsors and where that money is going. Asking for too much or too little cash without the evidence to support it shows sponsors that you haven’t done your homework, making it hard for them to believe in your campaign. Address the tone, language and persona of your campaign, and convey the purpose of your charitable endeavours with tact and sensitivity.