Is It Time for A Fundraising Reboot?

Remaking popular television programs and movie franchises is nothing new. As we’ve seen with West Side Story, Batman, Queer Eye and almost every Disney film ever made, when something works the first time, there’s a good chance it’s going to perform well again.

The same can be said for direct response fundraising. If a particular campaign works, consider using it again — but with a new twist. While you might worry that donors will remember a specific story or call to action, it’s important to remember that only a small percentage of recipients actually opens their mail or emails. That means there are still many donors who have yet to come across your campaign.

The truth is, we are the ones who feel the need to “shake it up” because we get bored. Donors aren’t comparing this year-end appeal to the one they received last year. They’re responding based on two simple criteria: is there a strong and heartfelt case for support? And, do they feel their gift is making an impact?

Even if a donor has already received the message, they’ll likely give to it again! After all, they were inspired to give to it before. As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Here are a few suggestions for how to reboot your fundraising campaigns.

You Don’t Have to Reinvent the Wheel

Did the year-end email series you sent out last year work well? Then no need to overhaul this year’s. If you sent four emails last year, add a fifth — since you can increase revenue by adding an additional contact. You can tweak the copy in each message to update it. But don’t feel you absolutely need a wholesale rewrite unless there is something you must change (for example, you had a match last year and don’t have one this year).

That said, do take the time to consider if there are any new strategies you could incorporate this year. Take what you learned in previous years and build on what works — don’t revamp it. For example, if a lightbox worked last year, consider testing a full page takeover next year.

Sometimes Genius Is Evolutionary — Not Revolutionary

Take the time to look at what you’ve done in the past. What worked well? What didn’t? What have you tested? Is there something there that you can build on? Sometimes a winning Appeal can be versioned into Acquisition, and vice versa. Or a campaign from the past can be reused — with a few fresh takes.

The bottom line is this, creative thinking is incredibly important in direct response fundraising. Take the time to brainstorm and you’ll uncover new “old” ways to engage your donors and increase revenue.

The entertainment industry has made millions off remakes — so why can’t you?