The events and dates are different for every organization, but all share one thing. You don’t get to those big days without a lot of planning, and that means creating a marketing plan for fundraising.
We encourage our fundraising clients to create a calendar–really more of a schedule–of all the marketing and promotional materials, messages and mailings needed to guarantee the success of their big days.
Thinking well ahead about the myriad ways you will communicate with your supporters and donors prevents marketing opportunities from being overlooked.
Here are some steps we recommend as you plan marketing for the big events on your calendar:
Make a list of all the activities your organization conducts throughout the year that touch donors such as fundraising campaigns, fundraising dinners, walks or competitions, newsletters, paid ads or public service announcements, and brochures.
The ways to reach your donors about these events have become like the channels on cable TV–seemingly endless. You might connect through your website, an enewsletter, direct mail, paid advertisements, public service ads, social media, special events, brochures, an annual report. We call this multichannel marketing.
We don’t care what kind you use–heck, it can be one with pictures of cute kittens. Just pick a calendar that works for you and your team. We think it is best to use a calendar that can be easily shared and edited, like iCal, Google Calendar or even a format that you customize using Excel.
Write the dates of your major events on the calendar. Now, working backward from those dates, add the deadlines for marketing materials for the event. Let’s use the annual 5K fundraiser, as example. You’ll need to set deadlines for placing information on the website and posting an online registration form. You’ll need to decide when to promote the 5K via a story in the newsletter. You’ll also need to schedule deadlines for your newsletter–copy, design, print and mail. You’ll want to schedule public service announcements, perhaps some paid ads in local publications and some Facebook posts or Tweets. A postcard mailed to runners in the area will also promote the 5K. So you’ll need to buy the mailing list, design the postcard, get it printed and mailed so that it lands in mailboxes in time for runners to sign up. Deadlines for each of those steps should be on your calendar.
Before long, you will have created a marketing plan for fundraising that will keep you on track and will be a visual reminder of the many ways you raise funds for and awareness of your organization.
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