Once you’ve completed your fundraising campaign set up, it can be tempting to shout it out from the rooftops immediately. Before you jump up and shout it out, you should take a breath and consider a soft launch to build up some internal momentum before you go to the masses.
While it’s easy to lean on your nonprofit’s external advocates for building momentum, don’t ignore your internal team. Your staff has the power to push your campaign towards its final goal more than any other group.
Making the most of internal fundraising participation for a campaign can require a tender touch – you don’t want to ruffle feathers or make team members without the means to contribute feel awkward.
Get Everyone’s Ducks in a Row
You would never start any traditional fundraising activity without making sure your fundraising cohort was in alignment with the objectives and messaging – so why would you start any online fundraising campaign without making sure your internal team was on the same page as well?
It’s as easy as distributing and discussing a creative brief that gets all of your departments, team members, and key stakeholders (literally) on the same page. An effective briefing will spell out in clear language what your goals are for the campaign, delegate which department or individual is responsible for various parts of the campaign, and identify any potential hiccups in your overall communication strategy, and how you can fix them before the kickoff date. Clearly define your expectations for participation and/or support so that the barrier to entry for your colleagues is lowered. Use these clearly outlined expectations as common ground across the entire organization for the duration of the campaign.
Start From the Top Down
It is absolutely, 100% necessary for your board to get involved in your fundraising campaign. These are your highest ranking advocates, and if they’re not bought in, no one else will be either. Use your creative brief as a easy jump in point for them. Why does board support encourage internal fundraising? It brings a sense of credibility and trust to the campaign, sets the tone for the rest of the organization, and guarantees that other people are also committing their time and effort into the campaign (so you should to!). Simply put, if the precedence for participation is set from the top down, internal staff feel far more compelled to participate in a fundraising campaign.
Once your board is bought in to participating in the campaign you can focus on the next step. Select an internal evangelist to champion the cause to the rest of your employees effectively.
Choose Your Chief Internal Evangelist
Board participation is integral, but so is having a point person to channel that inspiration to the rest of the organization. Choosing your champion isn’t as hard as it sounds! Think about who in your organization embodies the following:
- is widely respected by their colleagues
- is positive and energetic
- is passionate about the organization and embodies your values
Just make sure this person isn’t a member of your senior management team. It’s advisable to avoid the conflict of having your supervisors soliciting subordinates, so it’s best to just steer clear of that entire worst-case scenario.
Once your evangelist is bought in, it’s their job to make it as easy as possible for the team to get on board.
Make Giving Easy
No one is going to give to something they don’t know is happening, so your first order of business is to make the campaign a big deal around the office build hype. Internal publicity is key.
Communicate the main messages of your creative brief with your staff at the next town hall to ensure everyone knows what’s happening and is excited about it. Let everyone know the board is in support of the campaign to keep that trust level high. Your champion may consider throwing a kickoff party, or send regular meme-filled emails to the office. Once everyone knows the targets and the plan, use incentives to boost their involvement.
Build Motivation with Exciting Internal Incentives
In addition to whatever external sponsored incentives you may be giving out in the campaign, provide an incentive to individuals or departments. Use leader boards and teams to track high performers and give your top fundraiser an extra day of paid time off, or a happy hour for the department who raises the most.
Bring your champion in to the conversation to find out what the best motivator would be for your team.
If you can’t afford big incentives, remember that there are many forms of recognition that are just as valuable. Call out your biggest fundraiser in a company-wide shout-out, or thank them directly and privately. Either way – say thank you. They were committed and helped you reach your goal, so make sure you express gratitude.
Leveraging internal fundraising participation might not seem like a big deal, but it has the potential to encourage more engaged participation from external fundraisers as well.
Active campaigns with lots of social proof get more attention – it’s just a fact of fundraising. More eyes means more donations. A well planned soft launch is the easiest way to build momentum early while simultaneously improving internal employee buy-in and organizational engagement.