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5 questions that will improve any fundraising campaign

fundraising campaigns

A good idea is about more than creativity – it has to be something all stakeholders can get behind and truly invest in. What 5 questions do you need to ask to make your campaign a success?

By Andy Kelham

The sun is (sort of) shining and summer is (supposedly) here, but as a fundraiser your mind may already be moving towards those end-of-year campaigns that need creating, planning and delivering.

You may have had some great ideas for your Autumn, Winter and (dare we even say it) Christmas campaigns, but before you run with them, take a step back and ask yourself these 5 questions to sharpen, hone and improve your work:

  1. Is this important?

    Let’s start with the big and obvious one. Will this campaign create a positive impact that your organisation can wholeheartedly celebrate, promote and gather around? Sounds like a ridiculous thing to ask, but visualising the impact of a campaign before it is crafted is a hugely important and often overlooked step.

    Central to any campaign should be a vitality or a necessity that gives the communication something compelling. It needs to matter – to truly matter – if the campaign is going to connect well. It all sounds so obvious, but it never hurts to be sure on this one.

  2. Is this campaign trying too hard to be something it’s not?

    Being inspired by best practice and industry leaders is great, mimicry is less so. We may be under pressure from those around us to fire out a [Insert Campaign That Became National Talking Point While Raising Millions In The Process Here], but bowing to that urge will probably only create noise and notoriety of the wrong kind for your organisation.

    “The easiest thing is to react,” as Seth Godin says (and who doesn’t love Seth Godin?). “The second easiest is to respond. But the hardest thing is to initiate.”

    Play the long game and be an initiator, not an imitator. Be authentically ‘you’, at all costs. Your team will eventually thank you, and your audience will connect with you on a more significant level if you demonstrate the integrity of consistency – something many brands lack in a responsive, trend-led age.

  3. Do we have the right balance of faces and facts?

    Emotion and storytelling are powerful and integral parts of any campaign, but without a credible grounding of your case, any campaign can fall short. Give the facts a role in your narrative; weave them into the story you are telling so that people are moved by a person’s journey and made aware of the crucial facts simultaneously.

    A few years ago Save The Children told us that 75% of children affected by the Syrian war had lost a loved one. The statistic was not the whole story, but when we saw and heard the children speak about the impact the war was having on them, the gravity of that statistic added volume and power to their words.

  4. Will I be proud of this in five years’ time?

    Obviously fundraising is not about you, but your passion, commitment and energy is often what makes the difference. Your personal engagement and pride in any campaign is crucial, and should be monitored regularly. If the answer to this question is an obvious yes, then wonderful news, push ahead. But if the answer is no, maybe it’s time to dig a little deeper into what the causes might be.

    Tension is often a provocation for change, and listening to the reasons for your ‘no’ might lead to a new insight, a different way of expressing a campaign or a restructuring of how your organisation collaborates or works together.

  5. How will we review this campaign and learn from it?

    Learning the lessons of a campaign can be hard when your personal energy, emotion and investment is tied up in it. That’s why identifying your method of assessment before a campaign launches is so important.

    And fret not: a campaign review is not something you must do alone. Consider inviting a colleague in another organisation to become a peer mentor who impartially reviews your campaigns. Seeking a second opinion can feel like opening yourself up for criticism, but the perspective you gain as a result far outweighs any initial discomfort as you hear an external voice discussing your work.

    Sound daunting? Consider joining or starting a mastermind group, where you and a handful of others with similar skills can critique, review and support each other in a positive atmosphere designed to push you all further in your careers.

Andy Kelham is a digital creative and copywriter who loves working with charities and causes that stand for something. Follow him at @andykelham.

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