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10 Tips for Breathing Life into your Stalled Campaign

10 Tips for Breathing Life into your Stalled Campaign

stalled campaignYour fundraising plan is written, your volunteers have been trained and you are ready to go out to ask for a donation to solve an identified problem in your community. Everybody’s ready to go!

Except nothing happens.

It’s so quiet in your office that you can hear the crickets. Your phone isn’t ringing. It seems like your campaign has gone sideways…potentially into the ditch.

Here are 10 practical tips for defibrillating your fundraising campaign back to life.

  1. Pick up the phone. If nobody’s calling you, reach out and ask them how it’s going. Seek some feedback, and ask how you can help your volunteers overcome roadblocks.
  2. Create community. Send a (short) group email informing everyone of a volunteer success, and an inspirational story about what you’re accomplishing together.
  3. Ask without the “brochure.” Yes, it’s great to have nice materials to support your conversations. But is it vitally necessary to your success? No. Try a major gifts conversation without a brochure, without all your documents. See what happens (and let the team know about it).
  4. Set a deadline. Find an upcoming date that you can work backwards from: an upcoming board meeting, an e-newsletter publication date, or even the first of the month. Challenge your team to report back to you by then with five updates.
  5. Get a small yes. Once you’ve figured out what’s holding your volunteer back, see if you can get a small yes on one aspect of the campaign. What “small yes” can that volunteer commit to before the next deadline? Small successes will pave the way for bigger successes.
  6. Trust don’t tell. Treat your volunteers with respect. Where are they stuck, and how can you help? Stop telling them what they need to do, and have an honest conversation about how as a staff member you’ve got their back – anything they need. Trust the passion of your volunteers.
  7. Write shorter emails. Send motivational emails that are short and to the point. Use headers to define different sections of content so that busy people can skim read the content easily.
  8. Use calendar alerts. Need to keep in touch with your chair? Use a calendar alert to remind yourself to call and check in. You can use these for reporting up to your boss as well –  proactive reporting.
  9. Find a baby step. If you’re stuck, find a baby step to keep the momentum going. What could you do right now that would move a file forward, or create some momentum with the campaign?
  10. Ask yourself if you’ve handed the campaign off, or over. Good fundraisers are great cheerleaders. How have you celebrated your team lately? Stay in touch so that their successes are celebrated by the group. Don’t hand off the ask, hand it over.

If you’re stuck, I can help! Drop me an email at [email protected] and let’s talk about how we can work together to get you and your organization on the right track.