How to market your fundraiser
When it comes time to put on a fundraiser, there are several things to keep track of: donations, donor outreach, and a lot of planning. When it comes to marketing your fundraiser, there are even more moving parts, and the whole process can seem overwhelming.
That’s why it’s important to do the research required to figure out the best way to market your fundraiser for your particular organization. From visual branding to social media, there are many elements you should consider and take advantage of whenever possible.
Asking yourself some important questions about your organization and your goals is a great way to get started. These questions are:
- Who is my target audience?
- How should I use social media?
- How important is branding?
- How do I tell my story?
- What other ways can I market my fundraiser?
Asking yourself the above questions is an essential step you should take in order to successfully market your fundraiser and raise the money you need. Are you ready to take a deeper dive into these questions and start piecing together your fundraising plan? Let’s get started!
Who is my target audience?
The first step toward marketing your fundraiser is determining your target audience. What generation are you marketing to? What income brackets? By understanding who you’re speaking to, you can more effectively use the appropriate channels to reach them.
With that in mind, take the following elements into consideration when determining your audience:
- Generation. What generation are you targeting? Are you marketing primarily to the Baby Boomer generation? They’ll respond best to direct mail. Try marketing to younger generations, as well. These days, millennial men are more likely to donate than other groups of people. Millennials are much more likely to seek out information on your social media accounts and website.
- Income bracket. Are you trying to reach wealthy donors? Where do they spend their time? They might not always be your best bet for certain types of campaigns. Did you know lower-income families donate the greatest percentage of their income? Take this into account, as well. But remember to invite people to events only when appropriate. Your audience for a major gifts gala will differ from your audience for a family-friendly fall festival.
Be deliberate when you’re planning your marketing for an upcoming fundraiser! Planning event promotions for unique segments of your audience will make your efforts more successful.
There’s a lot of donation software out there that can help you collect donations and widen your outreach once you know your target audience. Check out some tips on that here.
How should I use social media?
Once you’ve determined your target audience, it’s essential to meet those individuals on the social media platforms they’re using. This means understanding who uses outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more in order to more effectively market your fundraiser.
When planning your social media outreach, think about:
- Diversifying. Use different channels to widen your outreach. Though Facebook is still a social media giant, Instagram is image- and video-based and can successfully engage users and direct them to your fundraiser. Make sure you have an up-to-date website to back up your social media presence, as well.
- Sharing updates. Share your fundraiser’s progress with your followers, which can inspire them to give and propel you even further. Use gamification techniques (like a fundraising thermometer) to encourage even more people to donate.
- Sharing your donation page. Share your donation page links on your social media pages so supporters can easily navigate to your website and make their contribution. Lots of individuals don’t like to enter their payment information into social media forms, so having a clear button that leads to your donation page will encourage them to give that way.
- Going live. Go live on Facebook, for example, and host a live-streamed Q&A session or do an interview. These are great ways to engage your supporters and market your current fundraiser. Instagram is also an excellent outlet for live streams, especially if you’re looking to target a younger audience.
- Taking advantage of giving days. Giving days, like Giving Tuesday, are great ways to instill a sense of urgency in your supporters and inspire them to donate during a 24-hour campaign.
- Boosting campaigns. Segment your audience out and create different posts for each segment when boosting a campaign. This ensures that your money is used most efficiently, and that particular messages will be seen by those most likely to respond to them.
- Peer-to-peer fundraising. Peer-to-peer fundraising is a social giving method where volunteer fundraisers raise money on behalf of your organization. It’s a great way to match a familiar face to a campaign and get those volunteers’ friends and family to donate. Qgiv offers a comprehensive guide to peer-to-peer fundraising if you’re interested in learning more.
There are several ways to attract donors via social media, but it’s important that you know who you’re targeting, diversify your channels, and make it easy for individuals to find your fundraising page. Marketing your fundraiser can be a challenge, but with the right technique, research, and outreach, you can find donors from all over!
How important is branding?
Branding is sometimes overlooked or cast to the side by busy nonprofits, but it’s actually a very important visual element that helps instill trust in your donors. By having consistent branding across your platforms, you can increase the amount of support and contributions you receive.
How does that work? For example:
- Make your branding consistent. This includes your social media profile, your donation page, in emails, letters, and on your main website.
- Instill trust in your supporters. By using a branded donation page and consistent branding across your channels, supporters will feel confident that their donation is going directly to your organization and not to a risky third-party website.
Telling the story of your brand is just as important as being consistent in your branding. Make sure you share why you do what you do and how you got started, among other things. We’ll go more into detail about telling your story in the next section.
How do I tell my story?
Part of marketing your fundraiser means connecting with your supporters on a personal level. If you don’t offer a compelling reason to give, your donation revenue will decline. This is especially important when you’re doing major gift research and reaching out to potential donors.
When asking yourself how you can tell your story, consider the following:
- Tug on your audience’s heartstrings. Be compelling, but share heartwarming stories when you can. If your donors can relate to these stories, this will increase the level of sharing and help get your organization noticed by more people. On the other side of it, you can also share funny videos, and this will have a similar effect. Overall, share positive, uplifting messages. If you choose to share sad stories, share them in a “before and after” format to reiterate to donors that their gifts make a real-life impact on their community.
- Use visuals. Be sure to incorporate images and videos to break up your text. This applies to both social media and your website! Videos are highly engaging and are rising in relevance, so use them to give your audience a reason to pay attention. On social media, you could also try updating your cover art and profile picture to reflect your current fundraiser.
By focusing on your story and your mission’s background, you’ll be well on your way to engaging your supporters and marketing your fundraiser the right way. Give individuals a reason to give, tug at their heartstrings, and show them they’re giving money to a great cause!
What other ways can I market my fundraiser?
There are other avenues you can take to market your fundraiser, some of which are considered less effective (but incorrectly so!). It’s important to consider all your available channels and take advantage of them when you can. After all, you can’t win if you don’t play!
Consider these additional ways to market your current fundraiser:
- Email outreach. Email marketing is still popular among many different donor segments. Use this to your advantage! Include calls-to-action and offer your donation button in a clear and visible place. Be sure to optimize your subject line and directly make your fundraising ask, as well. (Believe it or not, but sometimes nonprofits neglect to directly ask for donations!)
- Direct mail. If you’re targeting older donors and/or major gift donors, direct mail is a great method. Of course, you’ll want to be sure to keep your branding consistent (a logo in the top corner goes a long way), and consider templates for donation request letters to ensure you make your fundraising ask in the most effective way possible.
Think of email and direct mail as impactful ways to market your fundraiser. All of these strategies combined can help get the word out and drive in as many donations as possible.
It’s also important to reevaluate your fundraising strategy periodically, simply because norms change. Certain demographics or age groups might shift in their donation patterns, so be sure to occasionally reevaluate your audience and determine if your marketing tactics are up to date and working based on those findings.
Trying to market your fundraiser can be daunting, but if you ask yourself the right questions and put in the needed research, you can reach an entire cohort of potential donors that might not have been possible before.
Some of these tactics require online fundraising platforms, and Qgiv offers a great guide to what questions you should ask before investing in one. With all of these resources under your belt, you’re ready to make the plunge and market your fundraiser the right way!
About the author
Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. Qgiv offers industry-leading online giving and peer to peer fundraising tools for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations of all sizes. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.