A Short and Sweet Fundraising Campaign can ignite your followers with a bit of excitement, grow your family quickly and raise some serious money. An S&S Campaign is time-specific and targeted. For this to be successful, it has to last about 2 weeks only and be laser focused on one thing that your followers can understand.

Just one thing.

This can be part of your development plan each year. But, authenticity is absolutely key to success.

The formula:

Focus on one thing. A few years ago, a teen-produced film that my organization sponsored was accepted into a film festival in Boston. (Side note: they won best documentary!)

Have a very specific, stated goal. We projected that it would cost us about $5,000 to send them and a teaching artist to the event. Our goal was $5,000.

Make it time-sensitive. The film festival was happening in two months, so we had a deadline and a sense of urgency.

Ask your board to pledge 10-20% to kick off the campaign and a donor or “friend” of the organization to pledge the last 10-20% before you start the campaign. (We actually had two board members pledge $500 each.)

When you write your messaging, focus on the ONE thing, and 3 “reasons” to give – do not let any other messaging creep in. We focused on ONE THING: Send the teens to Boston, THREE REASONS to GIVE: highlighted that they were young women in a male dominated industry, their film was great (worthy of a major award), and the prestige of the film festival itself.

Asks: Send FIVE emails/social media posts over 10 days.

  1. Email #1: Introduce the campaign – let folks know that this is time sensitive and intense, that you need to “unlock” the last 10-20%.
  2. The next three emails are each slightly different, but have the same colors and same or similar images. Follow the three reasons above to plan the messaging for these emails. We introduced the filmmakers in the second email, then highlighted the film and gave a little background story about how they chose the topic in the third, and then talked about the film festival in the fourth. But each email/post was short and sweet with the same headline (your ONE thing), but not the same subject line. You can also include financial updates with each one – this can be a great motivator.
  3. The final email/post celebrates the success of the campaign and is a BIG exciting Thank You!

Three “Do’s”

  1. Ask with confidence and enthusiasm. Do not, I repeat DO NOT ask apologetically. You are asking them to be a part of something special, fun or interesting.
  2. Ask for funding for a solution is better than a crisis-centered ask. While the campaign might be addressing a crisis, focus on the solution in your messaging.
  3. The problem and solution need to be interesting. Raising funds for a broken hot water heater might not seem compelling and it is definitely crisis-oriented. But, you could give donors the ability to suggest a name for the new water heater and then make a funny video of choosing the new name from the suggestions. You could even make a sign. The entire campaign would be based in humor, not crisis. The organization might truly be in a crisis, but that doesn’t always make for a good fundraising campaign.

Three “Don’ts”

  1. Only do it one or twice each year, anything more may alienate your audience and make your organization seem disorganized.
  2. Keep the cause real – don’t make something up to raise money.
  3. Don’t lie about board donations or donor matches. This will come back to bite you in the butt (as my mother always said).

Short and Sweet campaigns can raise money fast and are a great, fun way to rally your community! Good luck and let us all know how it goes!