Building an online campaign may seem daunting, but it can all be broken down into a few simple steps.
Step 1: Define Your Why
Why are you raising money now? What will it help you do?
You have a passion for doing what you do or you wouldn't do it. Distill that passion into a clearly defined goal and then ask people to help you reach it.
Here's an example:
"We're raising $20,000 to provide classroom tech grants to 20 teachers this holiday season. Will you help?"
Step 2: Who Will Help You Do It?
Now that you know why you're raising money, it's time to choose a group of people to help you meet that goal.
Finding a core group of 5-10 passionate champions to help you reach your goal is just as important as defining your why. So, be sure to take some time to ask yourself who the best people are to help you reach your goal.
Whenever I ask “Who will help?,” I can’t help thinking of the Little Red Hen. Do you remember that story?
The Little Red Hen who finds some seeds decides to plant them and eventually bake bread with the grain from the seeds. Throughout the process, she asks her friends “Who will help me (whatever the task is)?” Her friends don’t help with the work, but she remains undeterred in her pursuit.
I think that story is stuck in the back of all of our minds somewhere and because of that. We think we have to do everything ourselves because no one will help until it’s time to “eat the bread.”
However, when it comes to fundraising, that’s simply untrue. Unlike the Little Red Hen, there are people in your organization’s circle who truly want to help you. They just may not know how.
Let them help. Show them how.
When you’re thinking about who to ask, remember to look outside of your board. The members of this group should be confident, passionate, committed, and have a high level of personal responsibility. They should also be well-networked.
Since you’ll be asking this group to reach out to their own networks, it’s important to make sure there’s some diversity in the members' networks. You want each of your champions to be able to reach out t0 10-20 different people on your behalf.
Look for the volunteers who are always ready to go to the extra mile for you. While your board members might jump immediately to mind, it's usually better to rely on them to help find/suggest possible champions rather than to be in this group.
Once you know why and who, you've got the hard part out of the way. Now it's time to build your event site using Swell's software.
Step 3: Build Your Site
Don't worry it's easy. Here's how to do it:
- Create a new event by using the green plus sign in Events.
- Click on Setup. Since this is an online campaign, you'll be able to skip a few things.
- Complete the details tab. You can skip the date, time, and location since this is an online event.
- In the branding tab, you need a page header image, a fundraising page header image, and an email header image. You can skip the ticketing images because you won't be using them for this campaign.
- You'll want to update your home page next. Do that in the Content section under Setup. You may want to create a hidden resource page for your champions or additional content tabs while you're in this section. Additional tabs/content pages aren't necessary to make your site work, though, so create as many or as few as you would like.
- Fill in your social media settings in the Social Networks tab.
- Add sponsors if you have them. Need to sell sponsorships from your website? Create those in the Products tab.
- Email us and ask us to turn on the "Become a Fundraiser" button for you. (Yes, you can change the default wording on that button, just like your other buttons. Simply let us know what you want it to say when you email us.)
- Spend some time configuring your Donation Page Settings if you want to or leave them as they are.
- Email us one more time to let us know you're ready for your site to be live so we can check it and flip the switch for you.
Step 4: Help Your Champions Help You
Go back to your list of champions from step one. Now that your site is built and you have a place to send them, it's time to tell them all about your campaign.
Give them all the details they need to promote your cause.
Tell them about what the funds you're raising help you do. If your campaign happens at a specific time or on a specific date, be sure to tell them that too.
Finally, be clear about how you want your champions to help you.
Do you want them to email 20 of their friends and ask each of those friends to donate $100 to reach help you reach your goal of $20,000 to provide music lesson scholarships? Tell them that.
Do you want them to raise $50 each and ask 5 of their friends to become fundraisers for you to provide health care for the animals in your shelter? Tell them that.
Consider providing them with resources to communicate with their network like this.
Just as it's important for you to tell your story and to talk about your why, it's important for your fundraisers to talk about why they support you, why they want to help you, and what you mean to them.
Step 5: Think About Your Social Media Plan
Now that you're ready to launch your campaign into the world, think about how you'll use social media to help you and how your communicate with your champions throughout the campaign.
- Have you changed out your social media banners yet?
- What about social posts? You sent some fill-in the blank ones to your champions, but did you remember to develop some for your organization as well?
- How often will you post about your campaign?
- Can you go ahead and schedule your posts now so you know they'll be posted when you want them to be?
Here are some important tips to remember when you're creating your strategy:
- Be consistent.
- Thank your donors and champions often
- Respond to comments
Finally, remember that social media channels are useful tools, but only part of your communication toolbox. Use all your tools, not just your social media ones.
Communicating with your champions should also be a large portion of your communication plan. How often will you email them? Would they appreciate short messages through text instead of email?
Staying in touch with your champions throughout the campaign will help you stay top of mind for them and increase the overall successfulness of your campaign.