3 campaign-planning tips for nonprofits

May 29, 2014

3 campaign-planning tips for nonprofits

There are a variety of ways that nonprofits bring in funds to support their missions and maintain operating budgets. One of the most common methods is fundraising campaigns.

While some donors contribute multiple times throughout the year, targeted campaigns draw in casual contributors, along with more dedicated patrons and those new to the cause. By highlighting a specific issue or area that a nonprofit wants to develop, it can be easier to bring in charitable gifts. Therefore, it's very important that organizations plan their campaigns and structure them for the highest level of possible success.

Here are three tips to help nonprofits have a successful fundraising effort:

  1. Balance instincts with information and analysis: Experienced nonprofit staff shouldn't be afraid to follow a gut feeling about organizing a campaign, as long as data and metrics can support the decision. According to KnowHowNonProfit, understanding the results of previous efforts is vital to making a new campaign a success, so planning needs to be thorough. Understanding the availability of resources used for outreach and the demographics of the areas or contributors being targeted are two places where data can easily be used to support taking a campaign in a particular direction.
  2. Use the "cost per impact" model: The Chronicle of Philanthropy advocates a system for measuring effectiveness called "cost per impact." This system measures how much input – be it money, efforts of volunteers and staff, goods or services – is required to create a positive outcome. Understanding the metrics of what is required to achieve a unit of success in a campaign can help guide fundraising efforts and better target new and returning donors. Although this approach requires an upfront financial obligation, it can improve long-term performance of a program and significantly reduce extraneous commitments of resources.
  3. View campaigns as a cycle: No single nonprofit plan exists in a vacuum. Previous campaigns will have some impact on the current process, which will then impact future efforts. KnowHowNonProfit notes that the results of the last set of actions centered around a specific issue will provide important intelligence regarding the current campaign. Viewing the process as a cycle, where data gathered can positively influence future actions, can increase effectiveness across the board.

Content presented by First Nonprofit Group, the leading provider of state unemployment insurance solutions for 501(c)(3) nonprofit employers.

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