How to Get Through the Final Push of Your Fundraising Campaign
By Elizabeth Chung
You’ve been on top of your fundraising game for the past few weeks, and your campaign is now coming to a close. There’s only one week left. But as all great fundraisers (hopefully) know, this is not the time to sit back and relax.
It’s Crunch Time
Because a sense of urgency tends to build as you near the finish line, your final week gives you the prime opportunity to energize supporters and boost fundraising activity. But your campaign won’t pick up this last minute steam without action on your end.
To help you get the most out of your closing week, we’ve put together 4 ways you can capitalize on this great energy and finish your fundraising campaign strong!
1. Focus on Your Power Fundraisers
Your first plan of action will be to determine who your power fundraisers are. Every campaign has at least a few supporters who hit it big – these are your power fundraisers.
Choose a dollar amount to distinguish your power fundraisers from the rest of your supporters. If your campaign has a small group of fundraisers with a low initial fundraising goal, you might set the marker at a few hundred dollars. If you have many supporters fundraising for a higher goal, you might settle on a thousand dollars (or more). More so than the actual dollar amount you choose, the main point is that you identify your high performers so you can reach out to them personally.
Now that you know who your power fundraisers are, call them up and thank them for everything they’ve already done up to this point. Then, invite them to help you make a strong sprint across the finish line. This individualized outreach will reenergize their excitement and efforts to make your final stretch a success.
2. Prepare a 2-Part Email Series
Chances are you probably opened up your campaign with an email series. Don’t let the last week of your campaign go by without another miniseries of last minute appeals. Try sending a 2-part series that lets subscribers know the campaign is coming to a close and their support is more important than ever. Remember that e-mail is still the most effective online marketing channel, and that it can be a powerful way to attract sidelined donors in the last few days of your campaign.
At the beginning of the final week, send out your first email informing supporters that this is the last stretch. This announcement builds a sense of urgency for people to get involved. Ramp up your social media promotions at this time too, and invite supporters to give your campaign a final push.
The final email can follow shortly thereafter – a few days before the campaign ends. Let people know things are closing out in just a couple days, and thank fundraisers and donors for their support and celebrate all you’ve achieved together. Along with a final call-to-action, this message communicates your appreciation for your entire fundraising community.
Tip: To avoid asking too much, too quickly or bombarding supporters, make sure to drop the contacts who donated after your first last-minute email appeal from your drip campaign.
Like a compelling book or movie, you can have people on the edge of their seats by building to a crescendo throughout your campaign, and which culminate in a lot of energy towards in its last week. You can make this tension more organic by incorporating real world events to your overall campaign theme.
For example, Invisible Children’s 25 campaign ended on April 25th to commemorate the 25th year of the war in central Africa. Everyone who supported the campaign pledged to stay silent for 25 hours on the last day of the campaign. It served as an emblematic gesture that brought supporters together for a powerful campaign finale.
In another instance, Team Rubicon’s Eleven11 campaign also united supporters around a designated day. The recurring campaign raised funds to help the disaster relief organization grow its operations, and it appropriately led up to Veterans Day (11/11).
Obviously, closing your initiative on a special day or event will take some strategic planning before you even launch your campaign but building in this unique touch can build anticipation and involvement for a strong conclusion to your fundraising efforts.
4. Leverage Your Most Important Resource: Creativity
While this pointer applies to all parts of your campaign, it holds especially true for its final stretch. When it comes to ensuring your campaign’s success, always remember that it’s up to you to make it as an engaging of an experience as possible. It’s your job to fuel your supporters’ energy and excitement for a successful conclusion. There is no substitute for your own creativity.
Invisible Children’s “Free Timmy” stunt is a classic example of end-of-campaign creativity. Towards the end of their 2011 Frontline campaign, the team was still a long ways off from their two million dollar goal, and they had to come up with an idea to stir some commotion.
Timmy, one of the IC team members, created a personal fundraising page and locked himself in a human-sized cage until they reached their campaign goal. For 24 hours, the team live-streamed the entire event and encouraged their online audience to donate and “free Timmy.” He ended up raising $26,000, pushing the campaign to raise an overall $1.7 million dollars! While they didn’t reach their $2 million goal, it still provided an exciting moment of triumph for the team and its supporters.
We’re not telling you to lock anyone up in a cage (although, it apparently works). The main takeaway here is this: when it comes down to the wire, be flexible and shake things up. Overcome campaign lulls by creating fun, interactive experiences that will drive engagement!
The final phase of your campaign is no time to take a backseat. This is your opportunity to ring in the support you need to not just meet, but smash your fundraising goals. By following these pointers, you’ll be able to make as strong a finish as possible across the finish line!
Have an Idea for a Fundraising Campaign?
Image Credit: Martin Pettitt