Manage Your Fundraising Campaigns in an Easy Manner
This guide will give you the tools to start designing and developing a successful fundraising campaign. The guide is divided in three main sections: how to design a campaign, how to run a campaign, and how to assess a campaign.
Part I: How to design a campaign
This first part will guide you into the design phase of your campaign, which is the most important as it will set your goals, decide on the strategies to implement, and to whom you address your fundraising proposals.
1) Set your goals
The first step in the drafting of a strategy entails a discussion – among the members of your organisation – about what you want to achieve. It is important to set realistic, clear, and feasible goals. If your organisation has already implemented projects, you should be able to assess your past achievements in order to set up a new project. Make sure to draw on past results and acquired skills in writing this newproposal. For instance, you could decide to further develop a previous project by proposing a follow up idea. You could also decide to work with an already implemented methodology to address new issues, which are of importance for yourcommunity. Or you could decide to start a completely new project – in the same field of action or a new one – to widen the scope of your organisation. If it is the latter you wish to do, you should first of all try to understand what your transferable skills are, i.e. think about how previous outputs and experience could help you demonstrate that you are able to manage this new project. If you are working within a new organisation, you should first of all work on the creation of a clear identity for your NGO. Accordingly, you should decide what your field of action is and which issues you will be dealing with. Once you have established this, you should conduct in-depth research to evaluate previous projects completed in your region, addressing the same issues and drawing on the experience of other organisations to draft your own proposal.
Remember that your goals must be realistic. A good strategy in writing feasible goals is to start by brainstorming all the possible directions that your project could take. Second, you should understand the various risks related to each of these potential ideas and ways to overcome foreseeable difficulties. This exercise should help you to narrow down the goals of the new project. Also, it is crucial to keep in mind that your project should have a direct benefit in your community. As such, it is important to set goals that are important for those you are working with. It could be useful to include in this first part of the process people from your community – representatives, individuals who have been already working with you, and people who possess the relevant knowledge. This could also enable you to gather more important information about your community, which could be later used in the writing up of proposals for funding.
2) Research your topic
Once you have decided upon your main goals, you should research your topic. First, acquire information that could demonstrate the need of this project in your community. You could gather statistics, official and unofficial reports, academic literature, and also first hand interviews with people from the community you are working with. The main goal of the research process is to gather sound information that will be supportive of your proposal. As such, the material should be archived and labelled to make it easier for you to trace it back and refer to it when necessary. Second, research how other organisations have dealt with similar issues. You could start by looking at NGOs working in your area in order to understand how they have addressed the same issues; which methodologies they have chosen, what their target groupwas, and which goals they have set for their projects. Rather than approaching these organisations as competitors, you should be willing to learn from their past experience to draft a proposal that is informed and innovative. Also, and especially if you are just starting out as an organisation, you should consider contacting these organisations and set up meetings with their representatives in order to discuss potential collaborations. Remember that networking is crucial and that donor agencies prefer to sponsor collaborative projects rather than individual proposals. In fact, to collaborate with other organisations could strengthen the impact of your activities and expand the scope of your action plans. As such, be prepared to give a presentation about your organisation, its aims and goals, and also be proactive and try to start new collaborations by proposing concrete ways to work together.
3) Research your potential donors
This is the most important part of the research/preparatory phase. Ideally, your organisation should have a person or a team working specifically on fundraising. Start by monitoring all the open calls for proposals. You might sign up for relevant newsletter and also visit on a regular basis websites of donors working in your same field in order to be constantly updated. To be sure, you should first of all make a list of potential donors to be able to monitor their calls and initiatives. If you have received financial help in the past, it is a good idea to keep in touch with previous donors to suggest new collaborations. If your organisation is taking its first steps, then the best strategy is always to make a list of donors who have sponsored similar projects in the past and to target them first. Also, you should look into open calls from privatefoundations and from your own government. To increase your potential to get funding, you could also consider writing to foundations and agencies that accept unsolicited proposals.
4) Internal and external communication
After this first phase, you should be aware of the importance of developing a clear and transparent communication strategy. Firstly, you should improve communication among team members. Remember that each individual within the organisation is important and as such he/she should be acknowledged. Make sure to organise meeting to discuss ideas and remember that all the decisions must be taken in plenary sessions. Despite the importance of a team manager and an official representative/spokesperson, a successful organisation should embrace a horizontal attitude to decision making. As such, everybody should be consulted and taken into consideration. Remember that the success of a project depends on the ability of a team to work together as potential donors will assess how a team performs as a group when deciding on granting funding to an organisation. Tasks and roles should be clear and respected. Expectations and levels of commitment should also be discussed beforehand with each member in drafting a team strategy.
Second, it is important to develop a strategy of communication with your own community. Remember that your main goal is to improve their lives and to fulfil their expectations by facilitating certain education or recreational programmes. Community members should be consulted in the early stages of the project design in order to understand whether the proposed project is important to them and whether they have suggestions to run the project. Also, it is important to gain the trust of gatekeepers in order to reach the communities. Further, it is important to share information regarding the financial and bureaucratic administration of the organisation in order to avoid misunderstandings or accusations for not being transparent.