COVID-19 campaigns – what’s working?

We are privileged to be in the thick of it with a range of clients that are delivering front line services.

So what’s working?

First of all, tried and tested fundraising principles and techniques cannot be disregarded.

Emergency campaigns and appeals need to be based on your organisation’s purpose, have clear objectives and show donors how they’re going to make a difference.

Direct response mail and email appeals
Now is the time to make the most of all of those months of GDPR-related database compliance work. Direct and honest messaging to targeted audiences of supporters is working very well.

Thank you calls – the best form of fundraising
Thank you campaigns are often the best form of direct response fundraising. Get your team (including some of your Trustees) on the phone to thank donors for their past support, update them on your charity’s situation, listen and explore what else they can do for you.

Major gifts – person to person leverage
Personal leverage still works – even if we can’t make person-to-person visits at the moment. What are your Trustees and Top 50 donors doing to support you?

Trusts and foundations
A growing group of grant makers is responding to the crisis with emergency funding. Know who they are. As ever, work out if you have any access to them. But, most of all, get bids out to them (and your regular trust supporters – who you may find much more flexible about additional grants and unrestricted funding in this climate).

Statutory funding
Recent government announcements will not fully compensate for the disruption and losses faced by your organisation. But get your proportionate share of what’s available and then use these funds in matching challenge campaigns.

Widen the net through broadcasting
Broadcasting to wider audiences can be considered as futile and potentially wasteful in normal times. We are not in normal times. Take every opportunity to get your message out there more widely through traditional and digital channels. Sometimes you can make your own luck by reaching a new potential donor just at the right time.

Structured campaign cycles
We have dusted off some old style campaign techniques and are working to 12-week and 26-week campaign cycles. No plan will survive first contact with a crisis. But it will get you much further than making it up as you go along.

Back office
Make sure you have the back office resources and systems to cope with the response – and to build on what comes in as you plan your next campaign cycle.

Let’s all be proud of what we manage to achieve during these troubled times.

Stay safe and good luck.

Compton’s response to Covid-19