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Gaining more exposure for your virtual fundraising campaigns


If you put a fundraising campaign online, will anyone see it? And if they don’t, how do you engage the donors you need in order to increase the success of the campaign?

As more and more of us take to online and virtual fundraising, these are the questions many fundraisers have been asking.

The truth: online fundraising campaigns are rarely a case of ‘If you build it they will come’. Like most fundraising campaigns, they’re part story, part engagement, part skill and part luck (but only a small part).

In this week’s blog, we’ll take a look at the things you can do to gain more exposure for your charity’s virtual and online fundraising campaigns.  

1) Engage influencers

In the early stages of planning your campaign, reach out to influencers who have a close connection to your cause. They don’t necessarily need to be an A-list celebrity (although that helps if you have access to one) but rather an influencer that has a wide-reaching network of followers who will take up the call to action to get involved in your campaign.

It’s useful to start the process of gathering influential ambassadors early on so that you can use their likeness in any content you’ll need for your charities campaign.

A recent example includes Ricky Gervais, who lent his support to Just The Tonic - an Edinburgh Fringe Festival venue that launched a crowdfunding campaign to help raise monies for staff salaries and to keep the doors open to current and future artists.

2) Engage major donors

If your online campaign is looking to raise upwards of £5,000, a contribution from a major donor can give the campaign the kick start it needs to engage a wide variety of donors. This kind of donor buy-in can be even more effective if the leading donation is used as a match to encourage donors (at all levels) to make their own contribution.

Just as you would with influencers, engage potential major donors early on with your campaign so that their donation can be maximised as much as possible to leverage the visibility of the campaign.

This crowdfunding campaign from the University of Southampton was match-funded by a major donor. Their support helped to encourage more donations from other alumni, as well as local members of the Southampton community.

3) Create a content strategy (with great content)

No online or virtual campaign is complete without a content strategy that will help to drive the engagement of potential donors to the point of making their contribution. 80% of the effort needed to encourage donations will come from the content a charity uses to tell supporters about the campaign and why the support of others is so important. The only exception to this rule is if the story tied to the campaign is powerful enough to carry the campaign on its own. Our advice is to create a content strategy, even if the story itself is amazing.

Suggestions for how charities can create engaging content for online campaigns can be found in this on-demand webinar we hosted for creating successful giving days.

4) Get the press engaged

Once your campaign has a good amount of momentum behind it, now is the time to engage the local (and national) press in your campaign. News outlets are constantly on the lookout for positive stories where people are supporting good causes. We saw it with Captain Sir Tom Moore’s virtual fundraising campaign, along with several other online campaigns during the lockdown, and stories like these are likely to be a positive knock-on of the pandemic.

Here are some tips for getting the press engaged (and making the most of their coverage):

  • Write a press release that leads with the ‘why’ behind your campaign and include a story that is about those who will benefit from the campaign and the generosity of the public.
  • Engage the right press channels for the type of campaign you’re running. For example, morning news outlets are more likely to pick up stories of this nature, rather than evening news outlets. If you are a small or local charity, local news outlets might be more keen to share your story.
  • Send the press release when the campaign has reached 20% of its fundraising goal. The campaign should have some of the monies it needs already raised so that it appears successful to those in the wider public.
  • Plan additional content that can be used alongside the press announcement - making this visible on your website and social media channels.
  • Encourage influencers and ambassadors to pick up the press story and share it with others in their networks.

For more tips on creating a press release for your charity’s fundraising campaign, read this blog on our website.

In summary

Through using the tips in this blog, your charity can increase the exposure of existing or future online fundraising campaigns - creating a little bit of noise that can go a very long way. Be creative with how you do this and don’t be afraid to ask people to get involved.

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