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Top campaign tips for charities

Great suggestions to boost your fundraising

Carolyn shares her top tips

When you’re planning your latest fundraising activity as a charity, it can be easy either not to know where to start (if you’re a new charity) or keep on taking the same approach that you’ve always done (if you’re an established charity) but, in doing so, miss out on fresh new ideas that could easily boost your outcome.

We asked Virgin Money Giving’s Campaign Manager, Carolyn Harris (pictured), to share her tips on how to innovate your approach.

“My role at Virgin Money Giving is to deliver marketing communications to both charities and fundraisers, to help raise as much as possible for the charities we work with.

We’ve been the official fundraising partner for the Virgin Money London Marathon since 2010, so we’ve developed our knowledge of what makes a successful fundraiser and have helped thousands hit some pretty daunting targets. I’d like to share with you some of the learnings that I’ve gained over the years, having delivered many activation campaigns/programmes. Although I’m sharing these tips with charities primarily in mind, most of them can also be used by fundraisers when contacting donors.”

1. Plan your contact strategy

“It’s important to think through the journey your supporters will be going through during their fundraising, as well as bearing in mind the reasons they may be doing it. Fundraising can be an emotional time for many, so regular contact from you will help them to feel supported and give them a real sense of purpose.

As a charity, the three key things to do are:

  1. Welcome your fundraisers from the start
  2. Support them throughout with fundraising tips and inspirational stories
  3. Then congratulate them after the event: everyone likes to be told they’ve done well and feel like they’ve contributed to a greater good.”

2. Start talking early

“When someone chooses to fundraise, they have made the conscious decision to pick their chosen charity and it’s important right from the off they feel supported throughout their fundraising journey. If you can help your supporters understand how important their fundraising efforts are, it’ll give them a real boost and make them want to raise as much as possible.”

3. Email marketing

“The best time to send emails to donors or fundraisers is evenings and weekends, as most people give their personal email address rather than a work one. Subject lines should be short and to the point, as this is what will determine whether an email is read or not; a maximum of 50 characters is the ideal. When sending emails, try to make sure they are mobile optimised – we have found the majority of our emails are viewed on a tablet or mobile device.

Remember, a large amount of content doesn’t always make your email look better. If there’s a clear message or action you would like the recipient to take, then just stick with that. Another tip is to re-send the email with a different subject line to those who don’t open it first time around. We’ve found this can increase open rates by more than ten percent!”

4. Help your fundraisers improve their pages

“Fundraising can often be a hard task, especially given how often people can be asked for donations these days. We’ve discovered a handful of things that fundraisers can do once they’ve set up their Virgin Money Giving page which can really help drive the fundraising up. These are:

(Editor’s note: you may find it useful to share our article, How to make your Virgin Money giving page brilliant, with your fundraisers.)

5. Spread the word using social media

“Social media can be a cheap and effective way of getting your charity work out to a larger audience, as well as bringing people together. Great updates to post include:

Social media is also a great way to keep up-to-date with what we are doing at Virgin Money Giving to support charities and fundraisers. We often run incentives, competitions and promotions to help drive interest and will always talk about them on Facebook and Twitter.

If you’d like more tips and advice, I’d recommend you browse our Charity Hub and Fundraising Hub in particular. Both are packed with helpful suggestions for both charities and fundraisers alike.”

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