Imagine it—you and your team vetted all the fundraising ideas, landed on an amazing plan, planned your fundraising event, and now it’s time to get the word out. But how will you market your fundraising campaign?
Overnight, you have become a marketer. Suddenly, you’re in charge of creating, communicating, and delivering something of value for your donors and for your students. You need marketing materials and a marketing strategy to reach your target audience.
If you are sitting at your computer overwhelmed and Googling “how to do a fundraiser” or “how to fundraise,” never fear! Here’s our crash course on how to market a fundraising campaign in three easy steps.
1. Make a list, check it twice
Donor acquisition is great, but you need to keep track of them. Donor retention is tough when you can’t find who contributed in the past. Hopefully, someone before you created a donor database, but if not, now is the time.
Gather your pool of potential donors and their email addresses into one place. Now keep all that information so you have it for the next time (or so you can have an easy transition between you and the next person in charge of team fundraising).
Pro tip: If there isn’t already an established generic email address that gets passed from person to person in charge of fundraising, now might be the time to create one and use it for all your fundraising communication and organization.
Ideally, you’ll have a way to keep track of these contacts that gives you an import template and then lets you sort your contacts by parents and donors, and volunteers. Bonus points if it also lets you keep track of payments once it is set up.
Having a payments column is great for tracking a recurring donor and planned giving, as well as a one-time fundraiser. (Livingtree Give will let you set up an account for free and it will let you do all of this.)
2. Build a great donor email
Think about your inbox—it’s probably filled to the brim with content competing for your attention. That’s what your donors are facing, too. Creating a great donor email is one way to cut through the clutter and make sure your hard work results in a donation or attendance at your fundraising event.
First, fundraising campaign names matter. When you’re making your plan, think about the “branding.” Your fundraiser may have a cute and catchy name, but does it clearly communicate what your cause and campaign are about? Think about how this plays in the subject line of your email.
Donors care about where they put their money, so when you’re describing your fundraiser, include as many details are you can, succinctly. What is your plan? What is your financial goal? Why does your fundraiser matter to the donors you’re trying to reach?
Bullet points are a great way to add these details to your donor email. Here is a quick example.
First, define your fundraising goal (capital campaigns and donations of time and supplies are very different!)
Next, add a short but clear description of your campaign, and connect with your donors on an emotional level here.
Remember to lead with empathy!
Be clear about the timeline: what are the start and end dates of your campaign?
Finally, call out exactly how any donations will be used.
Visual elements matter! Pick an attention-grabbing image that represents your group. Online fundraising could use videos. Dance team fundraisers might use a team photo so a supporter can see a team member and know who their donation was going to. But remember, images can be tricky. Make sure you’re using an image that doesn’t violate any copyrights, and always have district and parent authorization before using student images.
Is your local culture one that opts for anonymous donations or does it like the social proof of seeing names of individual donors? (Not sure? That’s okay, try both ways and find out what people like better.)
Have an easy way to donate right then. No reason to wait, use this digital fundraising strategy to lead a donor straight to a donation page and attach a donation form in every email about the upcoming events.
Check out a school district success story with lots of examples of fundraisers.
Is your head spinning? Would a template help? You can set up an account here for free marketing tools and use the templates to create your fundraising campaign with all of these things in mind. In one step, you can also create a flyer you can email, print, post, and distribute. (Another thing you can check off your list!)
Something else to consider is social media posts. The flyer you create can be used as part of Facebook fundraising posts. You don’t need to organize a Facebook fundraiser to share posts about your upcoming events across social media.
Send your donor email out into the world
You’ve created an amazing donor email! Great job. Now you have to send it, and you have to send it more than once. Depending on the timeline of your fundraising campaign, you can consider sending an email every month your fundraiser is ongoing, or as often as once a week can be effective for shorter campaigns.
When you send the donor email matters too. In an online fundraising campaign, weekends are busts, but Tuesdays at 10 a.m. are great. Wednesday morning emails have good luck getting opened and read as well.
Since you are sending weekly emails, one week could be Tuesday at 10 a.m. and the next week could be Wednesday at 8 a.m. Consider paydays—Fridays, the first and last day of the month, and the 15th of the month are common paydays.
Keep in mind when your school district’s payday is—when I was a teacher, my pay date was the 20th of every month and that last week of the pay period was pretty thin on extra funds. It wasn’t a great time to get any communication that asked for a donation.
What if I’m busy on Tuesdays at 10 a.m? You can set it and forget it! Automation is your friend. Create your donor email, set your sending schedule, and check another thing off your to-do list. (There’s an email tool over here with a free 30-day trial.)
It’s always hardest to market a fundraising campaign when you’re starting from scratch. These tools will help guide you through the process, and make it easier for you to hand the job off next year or become the next great fundraising expert in your area!
Sign up now to get Livingtree’s free platform and start automating your fundraising marketing campaigns today!