In the wake of a disaster, every hour counts. The main priority is always an immediate response to those negatively impacted who are in need. After this initial focus, fundraisers should quickly turn their attention to funding the response at hand while building the capacity to address future needs.
Many fundraisers rush into action, but in order to maximize your impact, you need a strategic campaign plan to help you execute.
We asked our Personal Fundraising Coaches to share their advice on best practices in the wake of an emergency. You can leverage their expertise by following twelve simple steps to pull together a successful fundraising campaign.
#1 Tell Your Story
Newsjack the disaster to tell your organization’s story. How has this disaster impacted the people or animals you serve? Share powerful and evocative narratives of those affected.
#2 Get the Word Out (Digitally)
Get these stories out across all of your digital and social channels. Using digital channels helps you to increase your reach. Make sure that you are leveraging every channel available to get the stories out far and wide.
#3 Leverage Your Champions
Amplify your voice by asking your board, volunteers, constituents, and social community to share the message near and far. Remember that your reach is exponentially greater once you get your champions involved.
#4 Create an Emergency Campaign
Design an integrated, multi-touch “emergency” fundraising campaign. If necessary, link to a special donation page for the emergency and utilize your fundraising software to track incoming gifts and to send out thank you acknowledgements once your donations start pouring in.
#5 Get Your Board Involved
Ask your board to make personal phone calls to major donors or stakeholders asking for support. Be sure to provide guidance in the form of call scripts to maximize their efforts.
#6 Reach Out to Influencers
Reach out to influencers in the community, social media, gaming sites, etc. asking them to promote your fundraising campaign.
#7 Leverage the Media
Leverage any and all media connections. For example, before Hurricane Harvey hit, Network for Good customer, Texas Diaper Bank, issued a press release with a wish list and request for support – timing counts.
#8 Create a Communication Plan
Create a communication plan for your team and share key talking points with all staff. Update your voicemail and website, and brief front-line staff on how to manage calls/inquiries. Be sure to have the team actively checking and responding to all inquiries–phone, email, web, social, in-person, etc.
#9 Get Corporate Sponsors Involved
Reach out to corporate supporters and partners with options for support and a request to share among their networks.
#10 Create a Banner
Create a special banner on your website driving donations in order to maximize visibility. Make sure to update or create special web pages for the disaster
#11 Recognize Your Donors
To show the tremendous outpouring of support from the community and beyond, recognize your donors and supporters in real-time via social and on your website. Add brief quotes or testimonials from key donors to show why individuals should give to your organization. An honor roll on the disaster page is also a nice touch.
#12 Seek Matched Gifts
Seek matched gifts to motivate more giving. This helps you to maximize your campaign fundraising efforts.
Use the communication tools within your fundraising software to keep donors updated of your progress, your challenges, and the campaign results. Remind them that you are all in this together and keep them motivated to maintain their ongoing support.
When disaster strikes, take immediate action with these 12 simple steps to maximize your efforts helping those in need.