22 Jul 2015
July 22, 2015

8 Questions You Should Ask Your Team to Find More Donation Sources

8QuestionsforDonations

If you’ve been keeping up with Campaign Now, you know that we are strong advocates for diversifying your fundraising strategy and doing it well. By going a little further than adding an exclamation mark to your logo, you can gain people’s attention, keep them interested, and turn them into donors.

Maybe you’ve heard of the 1% rule. This rule states that improving every area of your life can lead to exponential growth and success. In the same way, your fundraising team can work to improve their strategies, collectively revving up campaign funding by much more than 1%. In order to make this work, you’ll need to start asking eye-opening questions.

Here are eight questions pointed at donations to help you get the ball rolling:

Donation Sources & Online Giving

Where Do Most of Your Donations Come From?

If you’re a few weeks into your campaign, you may begin to notice some trends in the donation sources. Take a look at your sources and numbers to narrow down where most of the donations have come from and what the average donation size is. Maybe your donations have come from people who follow your campaign online, or perhaps they’re large donations from close ties of your candidate.

Understanding these sources will help you improve the donations you’re already receiving, and show you untapped groups and places you can turn to for more.

Are You Able to Accept Donations Online?

If you answered no to this question, you know it’s time to start. Check out some of the tools/apps available from your web platforms and social media pages to get going.

If you answered yes, then think about the ways you can make donating online even easier. Make sure the donation link is clearly defined on every one of your campaign’s social media and webpages. Once your links and buttons are in place, make sure the payment process is extremely quick and simple. If you’re able, use PayPal or another popular and trusted payment processor to expedite the checkout.

What Are You Doing to Drive People to Donate Online?

Is your team bashful about asking for money? Don’t be. Once you have provided enough content to ensure your followers and subscribers are educated about your campaign’s mission, include donation links in your emails and social media posts. 

Understanding Your Donors

Is Your Team Meeting and Calling Donors?

Like we mentioned in our last blog, cultivating real relationships is critical to running a successful, well-funded political campaign. Remember that each supporter is unique and will be inherently interested in connecting with your candidate and campaign on a deeper level than viewing a Facebook post.
Have your fundraisers call and talk to donors, showing their sincerest appreciation. This is a great way to cultivate loyalty, encourage future donations, and learn what your donors want to see from your candidate and campaign.

If Your Team Is following Up, Are They Capturing Valuable Information about Each Donor?

In case you’re unfamiliar with the term “persona,” this is the definition: Personas are fictional, generalized characters that encompass the various needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns among your real and potential donors. They help you understand your donors better.

Understanding your donor personas is—like fostering relationships—critical. If your team isn’t already doing so, have them pick up specific information about each donor.

Things to ask include the basics, like age, gender and location, and stretch on to include employment status, industry and position, annual income, how they prefer to take in news, which online platforms they spend the most time on, how they spend their spare time, and more.

Even if your team doesn’t close a donation on every call, evaluating the information gathered can help them adjust their sails and capture more donations in the future. 

Based on These Interactions, What Aspects of Your Campaign Are Your Donors Most Concerned with Right Now?

Once you’ve narrowed down the areas your donors are passionate about, brainstorm ways your team can increase that momentum. Maybe they’re concerned about small business tax increases. If so, you may want to adjust your editorial calendar and campaign strategy to better suit their interests.

Reaching Your Donors

What Trends Are We Seeing in Other Fundraisers That Seem to Work?

Now that you’ve identified your original donation sources and defined your donor personas, it’s time to start thinking outside the box. What innovative fundraising strategies have you seen recently, politically or not?

We’re all familiar with the “ice bucket challenge” that went viral in 2014, and it’s a great example. Though this challenge was geared toward a relaxed, social media savvy crowd, it’s extremely thought provoking. It’s unlikely that your supporters would be willing to advertise their political stance by pouring cold water over their heads, but there may be something less dramatic they’d be happy to do. Maybe your personas tend to enjoy a specific sport or event, like golf and happy hours. You can come up with enjoyable fundraising activities based on their existing interests.

What Events Do We Have Planned for the Year?

I hate to sound like a broken record, but face time is vital. Hopefully your campaign has several events lined up already, and your new data has given your ideas to improve them or plan some additional ones.

Make sure your happy hours, networking events, golf tournaments, and galas are designed with your donors in mind. Think about the types of activities your personas enjoy, as well as the political needs they will want to have addressed. Incorporate these ideas into every event to maximize the impact of your efforts.

As always, encourage your team to be conversational, helpful, and authentic towards every potential supporter they meet. Developing relationships with your constituents should be at the heart of every move you make.

As you can see, a great campaign is very complex puzzle. No two candidates or donors are just alike, so the process will require constant learning and adjustments. Don’t be overwhelmed, though. Try to improve each aspect where possible. If you’re campaign and candidate are commendable, you’ll begin see donations and support flood in.

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John Connors

Written by John Connors

John Connors is the President and founder of Campaign Now. He grew up in northern Wisconsin and now lives in Dallas, TX. He's a political guy with a good eye on marketing and metrics.