Every church is called upon to meet the needs of the surrounding community. This might involve offering support during a crisis like a natural disaster (wildfire, hurricane, drought, etc.), taking up arms in the fight against a community’s perennial issues like homelessness, poverty, addiction, and disease, or supporting a global cause by organizing a mission trip.
Each of these situations requires its own special fundraising campaign. So what is the best way to engage in special fundraising efforts to support community outreach projects without taxing your donor base? How do you raise extra funds beyond what you need to meet the demands of your church budget?
Organizing a church fundraising campaign for a community cause involves careful planning and execution with the right tools. It is not as simple as other community service ideas. Continue reading to learn how to launch a special fundraising campaign so you can raise enough money to pay for your church’s community outreach projects.
Plan Your Campaign
Before you do anything else, sit down with your team and establish goals and objectives, form a committee and appoint roles. Who is handling marketing?
Who will take care of the graphic and digital elements of your campaign (e.g. setting up a fundraising page to accept donations and integrating with your website, social media, email blasts and so on)? This is also the time to determine your basic marketing plan and budget. For example, will you be devoting any funding to paid search or social media advertising? Will you do any traditional print advertising? How much ROI do you want to sacrifice to boost donations? Also, make sure to establish a clear timeline and pad it amply to give your team enough time to promote. These are deliberate decisions that should be made in advance of your community fundraising campaign rather than on the fly.
Target Your Donors
This might be called step one and a half because it’s really part of your planning process, but it’s so important that we made it its own step. You need to clearly spell out your target donors in order to achieve your goals. Even with the best fundraising for nonprofit organizations ideas at your fingertips, you will struggle without a clear targeting strategy.
Begin by identifying new donors. For example, church donors who haven’t been inspired to tithe but might feel compelled to support a special cause — or by segmenting existing donors into groups to figure out which ones you want to hit hardest with your campaign messaging.
For example, you want to hit donors with money and influence hardest, as your parish’s most vocal influencers — especially the ones with very active and large social media followings — will be the most likely to share your campaign with their networks. This is also a good time to decide if you are going to approach any corporate sponsors.
Choose Donation Channels And Tools
Be smart about how you will welcome donations. Make it as easy as possible for them to give. Don’t expect them to remember to wait until they have their checkbook on them next Sunday when the basket goes around. Prompt them midweek on social media or via an email blast. Direct them to donate with their credit cards via your secure online donation platform.
The beauty of a donation plugin tool is that you can use it to collect recurring donations from your parish stewards on a weekly, monthly or annual basis but you can also allow them the option to choose to donate to a special cause (e.g. your community fundraiser). Plugins are more versatile than crowdfunding campaigns because you can fully integrate them into your website, email blasts and social media campaigns as well as with other fundraising and marketing software tools used by your church. Be sure to choose a secure platform with low processing fees. In addition to this, there are other technologies for accepting donations.
For example, will you let donors give by text message? There are a number of text-to-donate platforms. This method of accepting donations is becoming increasingly popular because it’s fast and convenient for both donor and recipient.
Promote Your Campaign
With all the free or inexpensive digital marketing tools available to nonprofit organizations, there is no excuse for not using some basic tools. Popular tools include a blog and social media posts, paid search, boosted social media posts, and your church website to promote your special campaign.
If you are soliciting sponsorships from businesses in support of your special campaign, plan to set up in person and phone meetings with key decision-makers to pitch the benefits and explain terms of sponsorship. Review the best tactics for boosting online donations for nonprofits as well. Then, you can promote your campaign effectively.
Follow Up With Donors
You already know that it’s important to thank donors. You do it from the pulpit every week. But do you have a formal process for showing gratitude to donors with a thank you letter that also serves as a record of a gift for when tax season rolls around?
Show appreciation and responsibility by following up with the appropriate notes of appreciation and documentation. In addition, make sure you communicate with your audiences after the campaign concludes with ongoing updates on your website, social media, print newsletter, email blast and even in the weekly sermon about the success of the campaign and what donation dollars allowed you to do.
Track Your Results
Responsible churches that encourage parishioners to be good stewards must practice what they preach. Good stewardship for churches of all sizes means employing sound, proven business practices when running a nonprofit church organization.
This includes tracking donation related data and using the information gathered to make data-based decisions in the future. Thankfully, using secure software to both receive and track online donations makes this kind of analysis fast and easy. By following these six steps, you’ll be sure to make your church’s next community fundraiser a big success.