Top 5 Annual Giving Campaign Ideas

Top 5 Annual Giving Campaign Ideas

February 21, 2020
Nandini Singh

Annual Giving Campaign Ideas to Boost Your Fundraising

Once your annual giving campaign starts, you’ll be actively monitoring your success. So, to keep your momentum going and to ensure that your donors remain engaged, it’s important to implement different strategies to help you reach your campaign goals. Let’s explore the top 5 annual giving campaign ideas you can implement to make your campaign a success.

1. Start with your Board of Directors to Gain Key Supporters

Once you form your steering committee, it’s important to reach out to those board members (who are helping oversee your campaign) to contribute donations. Since they’re working to ensure that your campaign is a success, by providing your organization with strategic direction and support, it’s necessary to involve them in creating a stable foundation for your annual fund. Other donors will then feel more inclined to give knowing that you’ve already received donations.

It’s also important to tap into your board of directors’ networks, to see which of their constituents would be most inclined to give. These individuals won’t simply contribute a small, one-off gift. Depending on how closely connected they are to a member of your board, they may feel inclined to give a more substantial gift to support your organization’s efforts. If someone they know is actively working to raise money for a cause they care about, how can they turn away?

The Connections feature on the WealthSignal within the WealthEngine platform can help you uncover potential major gift donors who are connected to your existing board members. Connection strength displays the number of familial and business connections an individual has. So, the more connections you have, the easier it is for you to potentially get introduced to other wealthy prospects.

2. Screen and Segment Your Supporter Lists

Another annual giving campaign idea is to screen and segment your supporter lists. Both processes will help you make more effective annual fund appeals. When approaching your donors for your annual fund campaign, there’s no need to ask for a universal gift amount. If a donor has the propensity and capacity to give more, it’s important to create the right ask for those donors. Let’s say there’s a potential major gift donor in your database, but instead of reaching out to them for a major gift, you ask them for a donation of only $50—an ask amount that you’ve been sending to donors of all levels. By not screening and segmenting your donors beforehand, you may miss out on an opportunity to boost your fundraising efforts with just one substantial gift.

How Screening can Help You Reframe Gift Asks

With a wealth screening, you can see which donors have the greatest propensity and capacity to give. So, not only can you segment your audience based on demographic traits such as age, but you can also append your database with wealth attributes. By doing this, you can easily understand an individual’s how much they’ve donated in the past (giving history) and how much they’re likely to give in the future (estimated giving capacity). Gathering these data points gives you a holistic view of your donors. You can easily use their demographic data and wealth attributes to take a data-driven approach to your outreach strategy. This makes it far easier for you to identify donors who would be just as likely as your donors to give.

By reframing gift asks using wealth screenings, you are articulating to your donors and prospects that you understand their needs, interests, and value their support. Also, by understanding your existing donors’ giving history, you can upgrade donors to give more if they have underperformed previously. Additionally, your annual fund campaign is a testing ground for future annual fund efforts.

3. Model Your Top Existing Donors to Find New Prospects

Another key annual giving campaign idea to implement is to model your top existing donors. Let’s say you’ve reached every donor, of every level, in your database. Out of the donors you’ve reached, you’ve managed to solicit gifts from all of those who had the highest likelihood and inclination to give. But, let’s say, in doing this, you’ve exhausted your efforts. What’s next? How do you identify and engage prospects who would be just as likely to give as your best donors? That’s where wealth models can help.

A model is a unique, custom algorithm used to help you do two things:

1. Describe your existing donor base

We can take the data you already have and show you the unique characteristics of individuals in your database. These types of models are known as descriptive models. Essentially, we can help identify and illuminate the commonalities your donors share. That ‘it’ factor that separates them from the average giver. So, we can help you identify hidden gems in your database, who you have yet to pursue. Or, we can help you find under-performers who have the propensity and capacity to contribute more.

2. Predict who else would be most likely to give

We can help you predict who’s most likely to contribute an annual gift to your organization specifically. This type of model is known as a predictive model. In this case, you’d use an Annual Giving Model. To create this custom algorithm, WealthEngine data scientists will employ proprietary data along with yours to determine who within your database (and beyond) are likely to contribute gifts to your annual fund. This model can also help you identify prospects with similar attributes to your best donors. You can then rank your list of prospects in order of similarity to your best donors to prioritize your donor outreach.

4. Find Creative Ways for Your Supporters to Give

Since your annual fund raises money on an ongoing basis throughout the year, it’s necessary to find new ways to keep existing donors engaged. A common challenge most organizations face is finding creative and innovative ways to bring supporters back. Although you’ll receive one-time donations, the goal is to encourage your supporters to make multiple donations during your campaign. Without their recurring contributions, your campaign won’t be as successful as it can be.

To re-energize your donors to give a second or third time, it would be beneficial to:

1. Start a Corporate Matching Gift Drive

By encouraging gift matching, donors have the opportunity to make donations and have their company either donate the same amount they have or more. Doing this allows donors to double their contributions, so you receive double the funds. Be sure to encourage your donors to see if their workplace will match the donations they make to your organization.

2. Promote Your Recurring Gift Program

As your donors contribute gifts, it’s important to create opportunities to redirect your donors to your recurring gifts program. This encourages them to give continuously throughout the year and in years to come.

3. Set up a Crowdfunding Page

Another annual giving campaign idea is to set up a crowdfunding page. Although crowdfunding pages have previously been used to support individual endeavors, they’re being used more and more for organizational fundraising. Just be sure to outline what you’re fundraising for, why you’re fundraising for it, and how this supports your organization. Once you set up the page, it can be easily shared over social media. So, given the viral nature of these pages, your donors can share it with their peers. They can then encourage people in their network to give. Not only is this a great opportunity to solicit gifts, but it also allows you to strengthen your presence on platforms individuals frequently visit.

Once your supporters make secondary contributions, they’re far more likely to contribute to future campaigns. To find more creative ways to engage your donors, check out our article on the 14 nonprofit fundraising ideas for the changing advancement landscape.

5. Humanize Your Goal with an Impactful Story

As you leverage wealth insights and find new fundraising tactics to reinvigorate your donors, it is important to actively forge deep connections with your donors. One way to do this is by sharing success stories with your donors. Remember: your annual fund is intended to help your organization realize its mission in actionable ways. So, it’s incredibly important to engage in nonprofit storytelling that will galvanize your donors.

You don’t simply want to tell your donor about your goals and intentions, but you also want to share success stories with them. If and when you reached your annual fund goal in the past, how were you able to help your community? How have their lives been positively impacted since then?

By creating and sharing impactful stories with your donors, they’re able to view your goal through a different lens. In that sense, empathy is the greatest impetus for individuals to support a cause. Now, your organization’s goal is not a random monetary mark. There’s greater recognition that these funds raised are supporting your mission, which supports your initiatives, which helps you support others. And that change starts with gifts contributed by your donors. They are at the core of everything you do. Once they’re reminded of that, they’ll feel inspired to give.

Discover Your Next Best Annual Fund Donor

Test drive WealthEngine to find your next best donor! Discover their Propensity to Give (P2G), Giving History, Connections, and more.

A nonprofit’s annual giving campaign is critical to the organization’s success. Implementing these key annual giving campaign ideas will help you engage your donors effectively, now and in the future, so that you have the funds needed to make a difference.

Other Articles in Our Annual Giving Series

This is the third article in our Annual Giving series. You can read more about Annual Giving best practices in our first article on What is an Annual Gift? and our second article on the 8 Phases of a Successful Annual Giving Campaign.

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