5 questions to ask before you start a fundraising campaign

5 questions to ask before you start a fundraising campaign


Campfire Marketing’s Nick Thomas is back with 5 key questions (and many more smaller ones) you should ask yourself before embarking on a fundraising campaign


How brave am I feeling?

Is this campaign going to be groundbreaking, or simply follow the herd? With the sector stuck in a predictable pattern of producing lookalike, soundalike fundraising campaigns, breaking the mould could bring big rewards. Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a better result, so luck (and great results) might reward the brave.


When is the right moment?

Timing is everything. It’s been proven time and again that getting your moment right can boost effectiveness massively. Can you make your ask relevant to the moment it appears in? By making their campaigns chime with the times The Salvation Army (Christmas), Royal British Legion (Remembrance) and RSPCA (release of annual UK animal cruelty figures) increase response threefold.


Who am I targeting?

Who is my primary audience for the campaign? It can’t simply be ‘adults 45-75’ (which appears on most of the briefs I see). Who precisely do you want to talk to, and will they make good longer-term donors? Why do you think we can attract them; what insights do you have on their lives, interests, fears and behaviour or can gather to give us an edge? What are the best channels to attract them?


Can I multiply my message?

Time to stop thinking like a direct mailer or a digital marketer, and start thinking as a total marketer. Are there other media or marketing disciplines you can integrate with to maximise the message? Why not talk to your media relations, marketing and communications teams? When they are properly involved (and motivated) they can all help populate your fundraising message.

The best direct marketers I know step out of their box and involve others - and gain the rewards. This is not rocket science - if you can increase the opportunities for your target audience to see your campaign, the more likely you will get them to engage.


Can I inject steroids into my ask?

Let’s be honest. Too much fundraising is vanilla, anonymous and clichéd. Ask yourself: Can I provide the rich, surprising content that’s needed to make it relevant and engaging to the audience I am talking to? Can I make my ask irresistible? Am I prepared to show the real need that my organisation will resist showing but that donors crave? Am I prepared to invest in new case studies and photographs that will deliver the punch I need? Am I prepared to be controversial?


Answer no to that lot, and I would seriously question doing the campaign at all.


Nick Thomas is creative director at Campfire Marketing

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