- Tue, May 22 2012
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
There’s a nice piece this month in Fundraising Success by Tom Harrison, who offers helpful tips on raising money when every inbox and mailbox is clogged with electioneering. (It’s not online yet but should be soon here.) I think it’s worth sharing his advice.
1. Don’t anticipate failure - you’ll fail. If you’re afraid of the election and react by reducing your marketing and fundraising efforts, you guarantee a self-fulfilling prophesy of failure. So don’t stop fundraising.
2. Know your audience. Your donors may not be big into political giving—or those funds may come from a different pocket. Keep in close contact with them and remind them of the importance of your cause.
3. Be smart about timing. Tom tested different dates in the 2008 election, and he found it better to drop direct mail before October 7 and after November 7. He also recommends ad buys on television and radio be timed May to September, lighter in October and the first week of November, and heavy again during giving season. Avoid the month before the election but don’t skip an appeal. Just slide the dates to avoid the election crunch.
4. Make sure your appeals don’t look like political ones. Stand out from political mail with smaller envelopes (direct mail) and clear subject lines and “from” addresses (email).
5. Be opportunistic. If the media is focusing on certain issues because of the election - and they relate to your cause - take advantage! Highlight how your cause addresses challenges the candidates cite - without being partisan (unless your organization already is).
The bottom line? This election cycle, don’t give up on fundraising and marketing. Just adjust around these realities. That strategy gets my vote!