Your charity is going to want to run a campaign at some point, whether it’s an ongoing effort to recruit more regular givers online, an awareness month or a one week brand campaign.
Be warned though – running a campaign takes lots of effort. So should you bother?
Here are 6 questions to ask to help you decide.
1. Why are we doing it?
This might seem like a crazy obvious question to ask. But it’s worth asking.
Did a director just decide it was a good idea on a whim? Did you just suddenly decide it was about time you ran a campaign? Or does it genuinely align with a key departmental objective (and therefore a charitable aim, ideally)?
If it’s a brand campaign, is there a reason for running beyond just wanting more people to know about you? That’s rarely a charitable objective in itself, so be clear on what your ultimate goal of a brand campaign is.
2. Do I have one specific KPI?
That is, is there one number that you want to see increase as a result of this campaign?
Common ones include:
- number of regular givers recruited
- volunteers recruited
- campaign signatures
- reach (but don’t just choose this because it’s usually a nice big number and therefore looks impressive)
Try to ensure you’ve got just one aim. It’s too easy to say your aim is fundraising with a bit of comms thrown in. All that does is create a wooly campaign with no focus and too many teams vying for control.
If you aren’t sure where to start, check out Google’s guide to KPIs and apply the awesome See Think Do Care model.
3. Are the key teams on board?
While you don’t want to suffer from a lack of focus, you’ll still need help from other teams where possible.
Comms, PR or marketing folk can be hugely helpful in the planning and delivery stages. If they aren’t directly involved, ask for their advice. They probably have some excellent pearls of wisdom to share.
What’s more, being asked for advice feels good. So simply asking can do wonders for working relationships between teams, lack of which is all too common a problem.
4. Did a senior manager mention the Ice Bucket Challenge in the planning stage?
If they did, don’t do the campaign.
As the most famous examples, people think that viral campaigns like that are the benchmark for all online charity campaigns. In fact, they’re more like winning the lottery – rare, and no way to build a fundraising strategy.
Incredibly successful viral campaigns don’t come from charities anyway; they come from supporters. All you can do is amplify what your biggest fans are doing.
Check out Jessica’s Promise or Stephen’s Story for great examples of that amplification.
5. Do you know your audience?
How much do you know about who you’re trying to reach? Do you have personas or market research you can use? Can you look at your Facebook Insights to see the age, location and gender of people who interact with your page?
These insights can form the basis of an audience plan for your campaign. So find out what you can about your warm audience. Getting more people like them should be the first place to start.
Note – your intended audience can’t be ‘everyone’. Spray and pray campaigns like that leads to vague messages and the high cost of reaching everyone.
6. Do you know your biggest supporters by name?
If your campaign is social-media focused, this is a great opportunity to get help from your biggest fans.
You need someone to seed that initial content with, to share your key messages at the key times and even to help you lobby influencers or journalists.
Send a DM to that person who retweets everything you do, and arrange a call or even a meeting with them. They’ll be over the moon to hear from you, and probably very willing to amplify your message whenever it will make the biggest impact.