Digital Fundraising Playbook Series: Planning a Multi-channel Campaign
Introduction and Program Overview
When you're thinking about launching a digital campaign, your first questions might be about which channels to use and how the campaign should appear across those channels. Every channel is a little different: Some of your audiences may see all of them and some supporters may only see one. You'll want to spend some time planning out your digital campaign so that you're using the right channels, getting your messaging and timing perfect, and having as much impact as you can with your efforts.
Before you start to write a single email or post a single image, you should sit down and plan your campaign. Ask yourself these questions:
What is the goal of my campaign?
Who will my audiences be?
What channels will I use?
What stories will I tell?
Think about the goal you're trying to achieve.
- Are you asking people to donate?
- What stories can you share from the work your organization is doing that will inspire those donations?
- Are you looking for event registrants?
- What can you tell them about a previous event that will inspire them?
- Are there testimonials, pictures and videos you can share to encourage people to register? Is there a keynote speaker or hot topic you can highlight?
Take an inventory of the assets you have available: images, quotes, video content. Do you have what you need to construct a solid, effective story?
Create a campaign brief
Once you've done some thinking about the general outline of your campaign, you'll want to write everything down in one place. This campaign brief is the key to running a successful multi-channel campaign.
Whether you're running it yourself or you have multiple people contributing to the campaign, writing down all the channel strategies, messaging points and timelines is absolutely necessary for executing your campaign correctly. By going through this process, you'll ensure that you have all the information you need to complete the campaign and not miss any details or get confused when you're in the thick of it. Here's what a good campaign brief includes:
- Campaign dates: What dates will the campaign run?
- Campaign description: Summarize the campaign in one or two sentences.
- Goal: Clearly articulate the goal. (If you can't do this, you aren't ready to run the campaign yet.)
- Channels to use: Write down the channels you will use to implement your campaign.
- Timeline: Develop your timeline by writing down each element, including emails, social posts, website updates and the date for any changes in any element. Don't forget about a date to remove any website information (banners, etc) after the campaign is over,
- Key messages and call to action: Write down the key message for your campaign and the call to action. The call to action must relate back to your goal. Do you need more foster volunteers? Do you need to raise funds with a specific amount in mind?
- Description of each campaign element: Figure out what needs to be in every part of your campaign. Here's an example"
- Email #1 (include date to send)
- Call to action
- Design details
- Donation form
- Design details
- Confirmation page messages
- Social media post #1
- Imagery or video
- Include Facebook or Instagram fundraiser?
- Where to link to?
- Reminders and updates (as needed)
- Email #1 (include date to send)
Plan how you'll track campaign results
Once your campaign is over, you won't be able to go back and add tracking that wasn't there, so this is an important step to complete up-front if you want to track your campaign results.
Your donation management system may include the ability to add tracking to your campaign forms. Make sure you understand what your options look like ahead of time. It may be best to create a new campaign donation form, or you may be able to use an existing form with campaign tracking.
If you're using Google Analytics or another type of analytics took, make sure you've generated to campaign tag for ALL your links, and that you're using it consistently.
Analyze the data and iterate
It's easy to overlook this last step in your campaign process (you've finally completed the campaign!), but it's an important one for continued learning and improvement. Run a report on how your campaign did and get curious about the results. Some questions to ask:
- How did each channel perform?
- Which channel was your strongest and which was your weakest?
- Who are the people who took action? Are they new to you? Are they your most loyal supporters?
When you ask these questions, you may realize that you're not completely certain of the answers. Stay positive and get curious. Now you have an opportunity to find out how to answer them in the future. Maybe you'll want to add something new to your email lists to identify audiences or maybe a new flag in your donor database (aka constituent management system or CRM).
Take time at the end of your campaign to reflect on what you could have done better. That will help you learn how to improve the next campaign and enhance your success rate.
Multi-channel digital campaigns are all about planning and coordination. Taking the time up-front to plot out all the aspects of your campaign and making sure you have what you need will ensure that your campaigns are as consistent and effective as they can be. Every time you run a campaign, look at the results of your previous campaigns. See what you learned and what you'd like to try to make your next campaign even better. The opportunities are limitless!