Community Stories

Tips for a Fantastic Give Local

Melissa Rosscup shares some ideas to help maximize giving and community connections through Give Local.

SEPTEMBER 17, 2021

Melissa coordinates Give Local and helps nonprofits succeed

Give Local is almost here! If you’re new to Give Local—or if you need a refresher about how to get the most out of the campaign—our program coordinator, Melissa, has lots of ideas to help maximize giving and community connections. Melissa is heading into their third Give Local and is always excited to teach local nonprofits what they’ve learned about constructing an effective Give Local campaign. Let’s take a look at their top tips for a fantastic Give Local!

Before Give Local Arrives

According to Melissa, the weeks leading up to Give Local’s November 8 launch are the most important phase of your campaign. This is the time for your organization to learn, plan, and prepare so that you can focus your efforts on promotion and celebration while the campaign is live.

Plan ahead

Registration closes October 1, so it’s time to get registered today! Once you register your nonprofit to participate in Give Local, you become part of a network of organizations in the South Sound who are working together to raise funds and grow community philanthropy.

Once you’re registered, access our Give Local Toolkit. It’s full of promotional materials and resources that are designed to make it easy for you to promote the campaign across your communications platform. You’ll see logo files, color files, and documents to guide your marketing efforts, including an editable calendar to help you keep track of important dates.

It might look overwhelming at first, but much of your Give Local marketing content can be created ahead of time. Build social media posts and get them ready to go. Pre-write emails and blog posts. This is also the time to make sure your donor list is updated to avoid bounced emails. Getting everything ready (and scheduled, if possible) will allow you to focus on the November campaign once it’s here.

Don’t forget to prepare printed products, too. If you plan to send out postcards to past donors, for instance, design and print them early so you can send them out in plenty of time.

Also, be sure you finalize any matching fund donations and send information about matching partnerships to The Community Foundation prior to the campaign. You can talk with members of our staff for more details.

Attend workshops

Our Give Local workshops are free to attend and designed specifically for nonprofits who are participating in the campaign. Workshops can help you get a jump-start on understanding your campaign and plan your promotional content effectively. We’ve designed these workshops to apply specifically to Give Local, but these skills will be applicable year-round, to promote anything. Sign up for an upcoming workshop or view the materials or recordings of a workshop you missed HERE.

Prepare people for early giving

The purpose of early giving is to connect with key donors or constituents who can provide your organization’s Give Local campaign a boost right out of the gate. Reach out to key supporters, board members, or past donors with an invitation to give early. Once you find some early donors, connect them with resources so they can talk about their donation and ask if they’re open to public thanks on your social media channels.

When your current donors donate to Give Local at the very beginning of the campaign, it helps promote your fundraising by:

  • Casting them as a champion.
  • Giving them language to promote their support of your organization to their own networks.
  • Providing your organization with a testimonial from a donor you can use throughout the campaign.

During the campaign

Promote, promote, promote!

During Give Local, your top priority is to get the word out. It may feel like you’re posting too much, but remember that individuals will not see everything you post. Honestly, you could post the same thing every day and most followers will probably see it only once or twice. Blanket your social media with Give Local content, share Give Local stories in your newsletters, send postcards and emails, and mention it at events. There’s no such thing as too much.

Stay engaged

Your second priority is to keep interacting with people online. Over the two-week campaign, be sure you’re checking your notifications and engaging with every comment. Liking or replying to comments is a warm way to interact and helps people feel seen. If it feels like too much for one person, recruit other staff members to help monitor comments and engage with followers.

Make sure you’re keeping people in the loop. Posting simple 30-second video updates, for instance, will help keep the momentum going. Bring in a variety of staff members to help with these, such as your executive director or fundraising chair saying, “We’ve reached 50% of our fundraising goal!” These don’t have to be of high production value. Just record a quick video on your phone and post it.

If you have someone who’s willing, you can even go the extra mile and promise an action once your organization reaches your goal. In 2020, for instance, a local executive director promised to jump into Long Lake once their donations reached a certain threshold. This kind of engagement builds excitement, brings in more donations, and infuses the campaign with fun.

Promote matches

When you join the Give Local campaign, you also secure funds from our Bonus Fund. Thanks to a generous donor, each donation made during Give Local receives a proportional match—automatically!

Matching funds are a great incentive for individual donors, so be sure to promote the Bonus Fund as well as any other matching grants you’ve secured with your own partners. Reminder: let the Community Foundation know about your matching partnerships before the start of the campaign on November 8.

Thank donors

Throughout the campaign, publicly thank donors and sponsors on your social media platforms. Prompt thank-you posts affirm the donor or sponsor, which helps to build that important relationship. They also show the broader community that your organization values donors and their support.

Gratitude is good for everyone, and Give Local is the perfect time to let your gratitude shine!

After the campaign

Update your records

Once the campaign is over, go over your donor list and update your records. This is one of those tasks that’s easy to execute right after the campaign and much harder to remember to do later in the year. That said, it’s also a really easy task to put off. Put a note on your calendar to update addresses and other information so it’s in place for your next round of communications.

Hold a team meeting

Again: this is a task easy to do now, harder to do later, and awfully easy to put off. While the campaign is still fresh in your minds, have a Give Local team meeting to talk about the takeaways. What was successful? What wasn’t? What do you want to be sure you remember next year?

Save this list for next year’s planning meeting. (Bonus: get that meeting on the calendar now for next August or early September!) You’ll thank yourself for taking the time to jot down wish lists, impressions, and guidance from this year’s experience.

Send thank-you notes

Send personalized, private thank you notes to all of your donors and sponsors. In addition to public thanks, it’s important to recognize donors personally and directly. Send handwritten notes (loop in other staff or board members to help with this task—it can be a big job!). Or send emails directly from a staff member. The more personal you can be, the more you build trust.

Fill out the survey

About a week after the conclusion of the campaign, we’ll send out a survey to all Give Local participants. Set a date on your follow-up calendar and fill out the survey.

We anticipate that it will take about 10 minutes to fill it out. This step is incredibly important to ensure that the campaign is as effective as it can be for your organization and for all Give Local participants. The more smoothly the entire campaign runs, the more it raises awareness for donors across the board. Our goal is to improve Give Local each and every year. We’re so grateful for your feedback and help!

Throughout the Give Local campaign—before, during, and after—remember that Melissa is a resource for you! Give them a call or send an email if you have any questions at all.

They’re here to help you have the most successful Give Local campaign you can!

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