Creating Effective Fundraising Campaign Goals

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“What are your fundraising goals?” While it may sound like a simple question, especially for a nonprofit corporation, many NGO firms and charity organizations tend to struggle with the answer. In many ways, their goals go beyond the financial funding competencies where their work is simply meant to drive an overarching impact on the under-resources and under-privileged communities all around the world. As great as it is to have that longer-lasting vision, it is still incredibly broad and unhelpful within the overall operations of an organization. Like it or not, money will always play a role. Because of this, you need to have strong, well established, and well-defined tangible goals in order to see success within your fundraising campaign. Without them, the workplace can feel a bit suffocating and worrisome, especially if there is a lack of direction to help navigate your efforts in the right direction. Having a clear vision of the end-state will allow you to take the necessary steps in order to achieve success. For this to be beneficial, you need to be crystal clear idea on what you are looking to achieve at the end of every quarter.

Setting a fundraising goal is vital because it helps you establish a more collaborative mindset. While easy as it may sound, creating these fundraising goals are incredibly tough. Yes, we can all throw the goal that we want to hit a million dollars. While I will never criticize your professional ambition of hitting that top level, I will question whether or not it is plausible, especially if you’re running a small level fundraiser. When creating your fundraising goal, you want to make sure of two things. The first thing your goals should do is that it should challenge your team each and every day. Many people need that level of challenge and motivation to get them through the mundane task of the office. They need to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that their work is steering the train. Now, as much as you want to shoot for the stars, you also want to be tangible about your goals. This brings us to the second requirement when establishing your fundraiser goals. While it is always fun to think about hitting those fundraising makers, you have to live in the realm of reality. Not doing so can be incredibly detrimental to the overall success and growth of the campaign. As much as your goals are meant to push you, they will not be able to be reach if they are clearly unattainable.

Now, as you create these goals, you want to start evaluating the situation holistically. Many organizations make the mistake of being too broad and vague with their targets. To prevent that, you need to analyze and internalize every factor of your fundraiser. To start, analyze the data. Look at the previous success and flaws of last years campaign and evaluate the strengths and positives. From there, you and your team should meticulously breakdown the information in every which way possible. This can be from the number of donors you have to the number of financial gifts you received in that year. The more information you know, the better. Once you have consolidated that information, look at the targeted goals of the overall organization. Ask yourself what the financial cost are for said-charitable resources and implement that into your thinking. This will allow you to truly understand the figure should realistically be looking at moving forward in the future.

In addition to this, try asking yourself specific overarching questions such as: What are you trying to accomplish? Who are you trying to reach? What do you want them to understand about your campaign? These questions will provide a strong overview so that you can establish efficient and effective steps that can lead you to your goals. Think of these as mini-goals. These particular objectives are meant to help you conceptualize your path for success. To help improve this, try and make sure these steps are able to measure progress. This will allow you to analyze whether or not you are on or off track when it comes to your campaign’s achievement.

What is Fundraising Success?

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In many of my blogs, I have discussed the overall ins-and-outs of fundraising. While there is a multitude of avenues and approaches I can continue highlighting, the one that I want to speak more about is the overall fundraising success of an organization. With the immense amount of stress and high standards for a campaign, it is easy to get lost within the day-to-day operations of the job. In fact, with the financial figures in our mind, many workers within the field measure their fundraising success simply by how much the organization was able to raise. In their minds, success is based on getting from figure $X to figure $Y where Y is greater than X. So a campaign is deemed more successful if the current figure is larger than the last year’s figure, right? In the grand scheme of things, getting that number ahead of last years is only half the battle. There are a multitude of factors that need to be taken into consideration before truly determining the overall success of a campaign. 

To start, there are two different types of money getting raised, unrestricted donations and highly restricted donations. Unrestricted donations are funds that an organization can leverage loosely. This can be funding for specific supplies for the foundation of the mission or specific operational cost for the organization as a whole. Whatever is the case, this financial funding is the oil that truly makes a nonprofit run. In comparison, highly restricted donations are those that have more limitations to their use. While they may be easier to raise, they are not necessarily the most impactful, especially if you are looking to grow a new entity of your nonprofit organization. Because of this, it is important to truly understand the overarching impact both financial donations can have on an organization.

In addition to the type of funding that is raised, you also have to consider a variety of other factors such as the starting point of a campaign, last years numbers, the necessary cost for future goals, and the overarching goal of the organization. Because of this, one question continues to come to mind: What is the true success of a fundraiser? In many ways, the answer is simple. While we analyze, breakdown, compare, and internalize the data of the fundraiser, it is all to translate whether or not that financial figure is enough to deliver the necessary resources of the nonprofit organization in executing its mission. At times, funding may not be as high as it was last year. While we would want to do whatever it takes to push that number higher, we have to realize the vision and goals of our philanthropic efforts. By asking that end-goal of ‘What is our mission?’ you will be able to determine an accurate figure that is representative in gauging the overall success of your campaign.

In addition to that, one piece of advice I like to give other people, especially those in the fundraising sector, is to celebrate the wins, even the small ones. When the results of all actions are taken into account, fundraising can be a very difficult and arduous task. To celebrate these victories, especially through the dark times, you will allow your and your team to persevere effectively, effectively and consistently to your campaign’s end-goal. In addition, there are fewer things more uplifting than knowing that you are creating something that will have a strong potential for change. Constantly keeping that your fundraiser’s mission in mind will help motivate and inspire you in eventually reaching that success.  

Creating a Culture of Social Impact and Creative Innovation

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When it comes to the day-to-day operations of a social impact organization, various nonprofit organizations are held to the limited restrictions of their resources and societal awareness. To help establish a strong culture of social impact, social justice, and creative strategy, it is imperative that you leverage your own strengths and take it upon yourself, and your organization, to advocate for this type of change. Remember, you can give a person the facts about a situation. But to spark that much needed change, you will need to raise awareness and inspire the true leaders that can make a difference each and everyday.

Take the Fight Online

There is a fine line between ranting online and raising awareness publicly. When it comes to making an impact, creating a strong, rich, and consistent platform online through a blog, Twitter, or Facebook, can help reach and educate larger community about the ongoing problems of the world. We have already seen this with incredible nonprofit campaigns. But for you to be the true game changer, you need to utilize these platforms as your voice to the world.

Create Events

If you have the resources, try and set up various events that can showcase your nonprofit’s missions. Many nonprofit organizations do this with either family-friendly events or enriching active assembles. Whatever is the case, these events can help raise awareness to the overarching issues that are facing the world today.  

Attend or Create a Seminar Talk

We are all familiar with the trending TedTalks. Like those events, you can hold your own personal seminar at local colleges or meet up organizations that can highlight the various missions and goals of your nonprofit. For these events, make sure you are equipped with a strong yet appeal presentation. In addition, be prepared to answer any and all questions about what your organization can do in the future.

Recruit People of Similar Interest

Whether they are apart of your nonprofit organization or not, there will always be a strong group of people who are looking to make a change in the world. It would be to your best advantage to tap those resources and utilize those individuals as volunteers in spreading and marketing your mission to the general public.

Three Performance Mistakes to Avoid within the Nonprofit Sector

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Tracking metrics is about making the seemingly intangible tangible and getting better results. No matter what nonprofit you are working for, there will always be room for improvement within the operations of even the most establish organizations. But as much as we want to continue our growth and impact on the world, it is imperative that we avoid some of the most overarching mistakes that can derail a nonprofit organization.

Below, I have highlighted three of the biggest performance mistakes that can overwhelm and falter your mission in an unproductive way. By identifying these areas, you will be able to improve the logistics and operations of your organization and move forward. Let’s face it, most nonprofit organizations generate a ton of donor data. The most challenging part of it is to analyze it in the most efficient and effective way in order for you and your team to improve upon it year after year.

Over Analyzing and Measuring the Data

Far too often, many organizations and businesses have utilized data as their tactical tool in improving the day-to-day operations to help reach their intended goal. While data does play a necessary part within our lives, collecting, aggregating, and analyzing this information again and again can oftentimes overwhelm your staff and eventually compromise the productivity of change. At a glance, data provides any organization with a holistic view on the performance of a company and of an individual. As much as we can focus specifically on the presented data, we want to make sure that information is utilized in the best possible way. For some people, they may just look at this information as a large amount of meaningless numbers. That right there is a huge red flag. To make sure that your staff understands the data, make sure you provide meaning on what this data stands for. In addition, make sure the data is presented in a way that can be easily translated into goal-oriented objectives. That type of streamline communication of numbers to professional development and goals is something that will help improve analyzing the overall strengths and weaknesses of a group than just having the numbers as a whole. Remember, the more meaningful these numbers are to you, the more important they will be to the rest of the group.

Underutilizing your Data

As stated above, your data can provide a holistic view of where you are in reaching your intended goals. For many organizations, the data can be so much that the information can, in itself, seem useless. In the grand scheme of things, you want to make sure you are utilizing all of the information possible. Similar to measuring the data section above, you want to make sure you are able to break the information down in more meaningful sessions. This will allow you to infuse new energy to unknown numbers and create meaningful tactics in how to best improve the operations within the day.

Do Not Over Think the Data

One of the biggest problems you can do for your employees is to overthink the data. Whether you are trying to create a system or over establishing goals, you want to make sure the data in itself can be tangible and realistic for your staff. That being said, the approach in tracking and analyzing the information needs to be done in a meaningful way. Various steps need to outline the importance of your goals and your individual goals for your staff while also translating that information in how they can impact and improve their own personal performance. If there is no intended meaning for the data, this can lead to uncertainty about the numbers. If the numbers however represent a multitude of concepts, this can lead to overthinking the meaning behind the information. To prevent this, make sure there is some type of clear and precise understanding behind the numbers and the following steps it can do in the future.

Three Main Goals You Should Know for your Fundraiser

o-GOAL-SETTING-facebook The world of fundraising and charities has long been shrouded in obscurity. While many of these foundations will boast of their transparency, it can oftentimes be too difficult to see whom the funds are for, where they are going, and what impact that they can have on the actual cause. We saw this back in 2010 with Mark Zuckerberg’s generous $100 million dollar donation to Newark Public Schools. I’m not saying we should stop donating. Instead I am saying that fundraisers, nonprofits, and charities need to be more visible and informative for the why, where, and what questions people will ask when donating for a cause.

At the end of the day, donors like to be reassured that their generous donation is making an impact on an individual’s life. That being said, below, I have laid out three main goals an organization should know for the betterment of its future. By internalizing these goals, you will be able to communicate and translate those numbers to understandable concepts for donors. Remember, the more informed they are, the more comfortable they will be to donate to your cause.

Know the Total Amount of Money Raised and Why

This is usually straight forward, but at the end of the day, you want to translate those numbers to something more understandable and comprehensive for the public. To do this, think backwards. By backwards planning, knowing your goal amount and creating steps to get there, you will be able to not just strategically plan for your goal, but also explain why you need that specific amount to various donors. At times, you will be looking for more lucrative donations. For this to happen, you need to be able to discuss why you need that amount and what that amount can do for your organization. We see this in shows like Shark Tank or on social media with GoFundMe promos. Make sure you know the desired amount and what it will be used for in the future. The more detailed you are the better.

Know the Number of Donors and Renewed Donors

The success of your fundraiser depends on just on the financial aspect, but also on the donor side. Make sure you know the number of donors who donated. You can do this monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Either way, you will be able to tract the overall system and progress your fundraising is doing and translate that back to the customer. The higher the donors, the better your charity looks to the public.

Know the Number of Renewed Donors

In addition to knowing the number of donors, make sure you are also aware of the donor retention rate. If you find that your retention rate is high, then that is definitely a fact you can capitalize in closing a deal for potential donors. One thing to note, renewed donors often increase to the cause. Many people find that type of commitment important before making donations on their own. Know this information and utilize it to its fullest.