The before and after of nonprofit fundraising campaigns

This is the second in a series of insights taken from the free to download “The P2P Fundraising Handbook” by Carly Samuelson. You can read the first installment, about nonprofit peer-to-peer fundraising strategy here.

While the fundraising stage of a campaign is generally the main focus of what nonprofits consider a peer-to-peer fundraising effort, getting the word out prior to a campaign, early recruitment and then following up after a campaign are also key components.

When planning out a campaign, nonprofits should first of all set up a timeline, working backwards from an event or an end time for an online-only campaign (unless of course the campaign is evergreen). Samuelson says that for many campaigns, a 6-month schedule is appropriate, with the first month focused on marketing the campaign, followed by at least a month dedicated solely to recruiting fundraisers.

Nonprofits should announce their peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns through as many channels as they have available within their budgets. This can include email, individual outreach, media connections, digital advertising and possibly through direct mail or print advertising if those avenues are good ways to reach potential fundraisers. All campaigns leads generated from this announcement, as well as throughout the life of the campaign, should be carefully tracked, preferably with a CRM, such as Salesforce, that is seamlessly connected to the nonprofit’s online fundraising platform.

Once a nonprofit has started to collect fundraiser leads, those leads need to be nurtured to become registered fundraisers. As Samuelson points out:

[Nonprofits] should schedule a timeline for communicating to leads. As a general rule of thumb, once a week by either phone or through a general or personal email is an ideal frequency to reach out to leads. Potential participants will need multiple prompts to get them onboard.

Nonprofit staffs can expand their recruiting capacity by using returning fundraisers to recruit new supporters, especially by giving them special privileges, such as being named a team captain. Another avenue for recruitment is by leveraging a nonprofit’s board of directors, and other influential supporters that may not be directly involved with the peer-to-peer fundraising, but are active in other parts of the nonprofits’ mission.

Recruiting should continue well into the fundraising stage of a campaign. The next installment in this series will focus on fundraising – we’ll skip over this now, and discuss what nonprofits should do once a fundraising end date has been reached.

Following up on your campaign

After the main stage of fundraising has concluded, nonprofits still have a lot of work to do to wrap up a campaign. First off, Samuelson encourages nonprofit staff to take, “a day away from the office to rest in order to keep fresh, excited, and motivational to fundraising participants.” She urges the leadership at nonprofits to ensure that staff take time off and/or to organize a retreat to go over all of the lessons learned.

An after-action report should be undertaken, using data from the campaign, surveys sent to participants, and feedback from staff and other stakeholders involved. Samuelson says to ask questions such as, “What worked well?” and, ” Where can we work smarter and not harder?” Among other questions, make sure to ask fundraisers in you survey about “their favorite – and least favorite – parts of the campaign,” as well as to rate their overall experience, says Samuelson.

On the financial side of things, nonprofits need to decide when the final cut-off for donations will be. Nonprofits should consider extending this to 30 days after the announced end of the campaign, according to Samuelson. Of course, all revenues and expenditures need to be calculated in the months following a campaign as well.

Finally, after the campaign, nonprofits need to absolutely focus on thanking everyone involved. Samuelson suggests adding personal touches to these “thank you’s” including handwritten notes.

Like to learn more? Download the free, 6-chapter ebook, “The P2P Fundraising Handbook” today!



Chad Catacchio


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