As we’ve evolved into a digital world and non-profits turn to virtual campaigns to engage donors and raise funds, marketing-savvy organizations are getting creative and hosting collaborative campaigns.
Unlike #GivingTuesday, which is a marketing platform for non-profits to leverage to raise funds, all of which go to the participating organization, other campaigns typically are more beneficial for the host organization than the participating non-profits.
What’s the difference?
Campaigns like #GivingTuesday, use a collaborative marketing approach to generate buzz and participation. Most non-profits are eligible to participate and simply have to register to access the campaign’s marketing assets. The campaign benefits from sponsorships supported by companies looking to get exposure to the participating non-profits and donors. With campaigns like #GivingTuesday, the non-profit sets up its own personal fundraising platform and retains all donations and donor information.
Campaigns that are hosted by a non-profit inviting other non-profits to participate may be positioned as an opportunity to join efforts in collaborative marketing to drive fundraising, however, it is important to read between the lines. Participating non-profits typically have to register and fundraise through the host organization’s designated platform. The host organization, therefore, has access to all donor data that is generated by the campaign. The host organization also typically takes a percentage of the funds raised to cover their expenses. While these funds may be used to cover some of the expenses associated with the campaign, often there is enough raised for that organization to retain a small percentage in addition to whatever they themselves raise in their own campaign.
Should my organization participate?
If your organization is struggling to meet your fundraising goal for the quarter or year, then, yes, campaigns like these make sense. Any additional dollars raised can be helpful and critical. And the associated marketing efforts of the campaign can bring much-needed visibility to your organization.
If your organization is doing well, and has had success with peer-to-peer campaigns it has hosted independently, then a collaborative campaign doesn’t make a lot of sense. You will be giving away money. And your donor base.
How Can We Participate in a Way that Benefits Our Organization More than the Host Organization?
- Target lapsed donors only – do not promote to active donors otherwise you might as well provide the host organization access to your donor database – current donors are GOLD! Don’t throw away your team’s years of effort and investment to steward and retain those donors. Instead, this is an opportunity to re-engage lapsed donors who you otherwise would struggle to engage.
- Be selective in who you invite to participate in raising funds. Identify those volunteers and donors who are actively involved in your organization, may not have a history of making significant gifts, but who have a strong social media presence. These volunteers and donors tend to be passionate about your organization, are willing to help increase the amount of funding support it can offer without dipping into their own tight budgets, and will likely generate awareness and potential new donors who can be stewarded to become annual donors.
- Do not promote this campaign to board members or long-time/significant donors. You don’t want to send your donors and biggest fundraisers to raise funds for another organization!
Before you decide to participate in a collaborative fundraising campaign, take time to evaluate pros and cons, and if you decide to proceed, develop a strategic plan for participation that will protect your assets and maximize your return.
Contact us today to learn more about creative and online fundraising strategies.