6 things you need to do before you start your Christmas digital fundraising campaign

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Christmas is coming

Christmas is the biggest time of year in the charity fundraising calendar. Lots of appeals hit mailboxes, activity skyrockets and online donations go way up.

If you work for a medium to large charity, you’re probably planning a large digital element to your Christmas campaign right now. That might include advertising across Facebook, Instagram and Google (through Ad Grants or paid Google Ads). 

This many Christmas appeals landing at once leads to high competition online. So you’ve got to plan for the best return on your investment of internal time, agency time and ad spend. 

Here are six ways to do that

1. Start as early as you can

Plan early

Gather resources early, plan early, and launch early. This is good for sanity levels, and more besides.

If you work with an agency like Platypus or an internal digital team, involve them in planning early. Give them time to review your planned landing pages, make recommendations for improvements and leave time to implement those recommendations. You’ll get a much higher return on your time, energy and money if you do.

Read our post on how to plan your digital fundraising budget for more planning advice. 

Set expectations early

Mid-campaign is not the time to untangle unclear roles and expectations. Avoid this by: 

  • setting expectations for turnaround of assets, sign off on content and anything else you’ll need done quickly well in advance.
  • arranging a combined kick off call with internal leads and their agencies 
  • making sure it’s clear who’s responsible for all of the above tasks, and finding out how they want things sent to them. 
  • booking when the check ins and reporting meetings are going to happen from now till the end of campaign wash up meeting. 

Launch early

Don’t launch your Christmas campaign a couple of weeks before Christmas. Launch in November, or even October. 

This gives Google and Facebook’s algorithms a chance to work everything out. It gives you the time and information on things like ad relevancy and cost per click you need to change direction.

2. Tell all the relevant teams

We’ve all been in those “You could have told me earlier!” type meetings. This is especially easy if you’re working cross channel or cross team. Avoid this problem by making sure all internal teams know the plan before you kick off. 

Getting everyone involved can only increase buy-in on the benefit side, and reduce the chances of overlapping or even competing priorities on the risk side.

3. Decide on one objective

The great thing about digital marketing is the ability to test and learn. But all too often, that just gets in the way of achieving results – in this case, raising money for your charity. 

Don’t focus on testing if the aim is raising money. Focus on return on ad spend, and optimise everything to that metric. 

If this is year one of your new campaign, it could well be another year two before your audience links the concept to your charity. So be patient on the results side. 

Retain that discipline on your landing pages – limit yourself to one call to action, not two or three. “Buy a gift, for this purpose”. Bam. Done. 

4. Plan a proper budget

A lot of charities go out with Christmas asks online, all at once. That drives up costs per click and in turn costs per acquisition. 

So make sure you have a solid acquisition budget all set up to allow for this.

And if things go well, you’ll need a contingency budget to take full advantage of a strong return on ad spend. Get that signed off well in advance too. 

5. Sort your tracking out 

You need to know if you’re getting results for all this investment. You can only know that if you have proper tracking in place. 

Depending on your platforms and asks that might mean things like ecommerce tracking, the Facebook pixel – and allow time to fix it

For Facebook campaigns, get the conversions API sorted out well in advance. 

If not, ask your database team to be ready to send donation data. IOS14 changes are causing a lot of problems on Facebook reporting, and this can help. 

5. Create lots of content 

Many digital platforms demand fresh content. 

So get your ducks in a row and put together alternative creative, copy and case studies in advance.

That way, you’ll be able to respond quickly to the need for new content variations. 

All of this is easier said than done of course! But if you get started early, and plan for success, you’ve got a great chance of raising a tonne of money for your charity this Christmas. 

If you need help planning and delivering your Christmas digital fundraising campaign, we can do just that. We’ve delivered Christmas campaigns for all kinds of charities – just drop us a line at [email protected] to discuss your brief.

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