#Net2DC Meeting Notes: Fundraising Best Practices

hratcliff's picture

We had a great discussion on fundraising best practices on July 26!  

Here are a few tips (with many thanks to our members Dillon Donolds and Ty Alston for taking notes with us!) 

Best practices

  • Get started talking about your campaign on social media prior to actually launching your content!  
  • Stress the urgency of the campaign. 
  • Follow up after six months to remind donors that they donated! Or send a small gift (even if it’s just a phone call) after six months as a reminder!  
  • Ask your network to ask their friends to donate (people are more likely to help a friend fundraise). 
  • Take the time to craft compelling stories to tell your campaign. 
  • Use consistent branding and voice. 
  • Make the donor the hero, not your organization. 
  • Segment your email list. 
  • Plan to use different forms of your content across different social media channels. Define tone and message for each category within audience. 
  • Plan to follow up with those who have donated (develop a three or six month or longer plan). 
  • Always think about user experience. 
  • Be as transparent as possible with the logistics of the organization. 
  • Try personalizing text responses to donations and questions (check out the Brady Campaign and Everytown for Gun Safety). 
  • Get all your staff involved in sharing everything on social media (following social media policy guidelines!) 
  • Have a success story you can share with your audience.  
  • Create pre-written tweets and other social media posts your friends and supporters can share.  
  • Think about setting up an ambassador, innovator, or advocate’s program. Gather and inspire your supporters. Figure out what to offer them.  
  • Plus, here’s a cool video of how to explain your organization’s name from member and attendee Yasmine Arsala at Jhpiego: (definitely worth watching if you’re figuring out how to brand yourself!)  

Practices to avoid  

  • Don’t repeat the ask to the same people in the same format over and over again. Donor fatigue could occur (be different, change the story and images). Tailor it to your audience!  
  • Don’t ask someone who’s already donated to the campaign to donate again. 
  • Don’t make your ask too generic (focus on specific problems). 
  • Do your research when applying for a grant. Understand their requirements and their timelines so you can fulfill them properly. Don’t cold contact a foundation. Find someone in your network to introduce you. 

Also, here’s a note from WeWork: “On behalf of WeWork Chinatown thank you for coming out to support the Net2DC community! It's events like these that that make WeWork more than just an office space, but a true community as well. If you would like to stop back in for a tour and to learn more about WeWork membership and the awesome things the WeWork community is doing please send an email. Do what you love.”  

And, we have a happy hour coming up on August 17 from 6:30-8:30 at Teaism Penn Quarter.

Here’s the link to the campaign that Roshani talked about, as well as the Thunderclap.

As always, feel free to share postings, discussion questions, and job listings to the group!  

Thunderclap Tips

As a follow-up to this meeting, Roshani created a Thunderclap campaign and here are her tips and reflections.

We did it! You may have seen my earlier post about our crowdfunding campaign. We launched the Thunderclap on August 1 and we got 100 supporters today, August 12. I had set the deadline to August 24, 12 days ahead of our goal.

It has been an interesting learning experience! Some benefits include:

1. Easier ask than a donation

  • Getting people involved without asking for a donation. 

2. Good way to get staff involved

  • Our staff from other countries could get involved in spreading the word, and ask their family and friends for a Thunderclap.

3. Multiply social reach

  • Supposedly we will reach more than 200,000 people. This is a lot for a small organization with a limited reach. We will see if this lives up to expectation and what happens when the "social boom" happens on August 24. Stay tuned.

Few things I learned along the way

1. Free version limitations: Thunderclap offers a free and paid version

Here are limitations of the free version.

  • Can't download the full list of supporters
  • Can't get full stats — number of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr followers

For $100, you can get this and more in terms of benefits. With the paid version, you can set your own limit of how many supporters you are aiming for, and your message will go out no matter what. You can go beyond the limit you set in the free version.

2. Crafting and editing Thunderclap message

  • No need to include a link directly in the message because the link you add is automatically included. Include popular hashtags. Have a clear call to action.
  • When people add their support, they can edit the message that will be sent out. You can update the message later. However, new people who sign up will have the option of sharing the updated message. I believe people who signed up before you updated the message, will send out your earlier message.

3. Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr

  • I noticed that more people tend to be on Facebook than Twitter or Tumblr, so be sure to let everyone know that they can pick any of these options.

4. Signed on, but not showing up

  • Several people told me they signed up, but they didn't actually finish the process of adding their support, so be sure to check if their support was added.

5. Provide easy instructions with a description of Thunderclap

  • Many people have not heard of Thunderclap, so provide a brief overview and easy instructions for adding their support.

6. Include a nice image with some text and hashtag

  • Every time someone shares the link, your image will appear.

7. Include social media and suscribe links

  • We included links to our social media and email list in the description.

8. Make the description look nice

  • You can copy in html code, instead of plain text.

9. Post updates

  • People can subscribe to your Thunderclap updates, and you can post updates to keep people informed.

10. Different types of Thunderclaps

  • We used it for a crowdfunding campaign, but it can be used for other types of campaigns and actions.

11. Best people to attract for adding support

Ideally, people who work on issues related to your campaign because their network is more likely to respond to your message. People with a large number of followers/friends can help you increase your social reach tremendously.

Other tips, questions about using Thunderclap?