Essential Steps for a Successful Nonprofit Fundraising Campaign

A new campaign is very exciting for your donors and your staff. Exciting…and a little bit overwhelming! There is so much to think through.

We put together this list of essential steps to utilize within your campaign:

Develop a case for support

Don’t jump into a campaign without first spending time developing and refining (again and again) your case for support. Your case for support will clearly define the following:

  1. The problem your organization is solving through this campaign
  2. The solution that your organization can provide
  3. 3-5 solid reasons WHY people should give and why they should give now. 
  4. Your call-to-action

Soft launch 

A soft launch is when you raise money from a small group of your top donors before you announce your campaign to the public and broader donor base. This allows you to publicly announce not just the campaign, but also that you have already raised $X towards it.  This can be inspiring for your donors to hear and allow for a strong start to your campaign.

Your soft launch also gives you a great opportunity to test and refine your messaging to make it as strong as possible. Hearing directly from your top supporters in this way can be very helpful. 

Campaign committee

Campaign committees are a great way to involve top donors, Board members and volunteers. The committee can help the messaging of the campaign, and help directly fundraise. Remember: people give to that which they build. 

Make sure to set clear goals and deadlines to ensure accountability.


This probably goes without saying these days, but make sure you are utilizing all your available marketing channels to communicate with your donors about the campaign. This is not a time for siloed departments. Everyone needs to work together with a consistent message.

Communicate Along the Way and Be Transparent

Campaigns often start with a bang and then lose some of their momentum. It is important to continue to communicate with your donors. It is often when you are sick of writing the same message, that your donors are finally starting to hear it! 

Be transparent about what is and is not working, and where you may have fallen short of your goals. Donors appreciate the honesty and you will need their help! 

Matching Gifts

Matching gifts are always an effective technique, and they can add more excitement and urgency to your campaign. The bigger donor or donors who are providing the match will also be inspired, and it often provides an opportunity for a bigger ask for those donors. Be honest and specific about the terms of the match, but make it easy for donors to understand. 

Celebrate Successes Along the way

It is important to acknowledge and celebrate milestones and successes along the way. Set smaller goals that you can celebrate more quickly. When you hit those, announce them and make a big deal about them. This will keep everyone inspired! 

Celebration also applies to your internal staff, board members, and volunteers. As the team comes up with new nonprofit fundraising ideas, encourage that creativity. They are working hard and will appreciate the effort to acknowledge them, and the chance to pause and celebrate! 

Good luck and remember to have fun along the way!

For more fundraising advice and news, check back for new posts on our nonprofit fundraising blog. If you’d like help with your direct mail fundraising, GivingMail offers nonprofit direct mail solutions. Here are some nonprofit fundraising ideas to get you started.

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