At Angel Oak Creative, our sweet spot is campaigns. We love helping nonprofits build and manage marketing strategies that propel their fundraising efforts forward. Though campaigns can take many shapes and sizes, all roads still lead to communications. And challenges will present themselves along the way. So, let’s explore a few…
1. Annual Campaign
In most cases, an annual campaign is a fundraising effort repeated each year to support a nonprofit’s operating expenses. Because it’s replicated annually, the biggest communications challenge you’ll face is keeping it fresh in the eyes of supporters. One way to accomplish this is through storytelling since stories tend to be the most effective way to move and engage audiences. Identifying emotionally engaging stories throughout the year will help make an annual campaign feel new and unique. Our work with Hope Reins and their Kairos Kids campaign is a good example of the importance of telling compelling stories to engage donors in an annual campaign. You can learn more about our approach and efforts here.
2. Capital Campaign
A capital campaign is a very concentrated fundraising effort with a specific goal and timeframe. Many capital campaigns raise funds for improvements on facilities like buildings, playing fields or the purchase of property. One of the biggest challenges with this type of campaign is creating a creative brand and compelling message to convey the purpose and impact of the initiative. One of our most recent capital campaign efforts was New Life Camp’s initiative to raise $6 million. Together, we developed CAMP ON, a campaign that raised $3 million in its first phase to rebuild the camp’s facilities. Check out our case study.
3. End-of-Year Campaign
From a quantity perspective, Angel Oak Creative is most often engaged to help with end-of-year appeals. As its name implies, this type of campaign is a focused fundraising push at the end of the year. Depending on the study, anywhere between 29%-35% of all giving occurs in December (with the last three days accounting for 11%). Couple this with the fact that 50% of nonprofits receive a majority of their annual donations in the last three months, and you can see why most invest in marketing for this kind of campaign. We’re in an attention economy, so the biggest challenge with an end-of-year appeal is breaking through the noise. In 2017, we worked with Edenton Street United Methodist Church to help them create a comprehensive strategy for their campus-wide end-of-year stewardship campaign to secure more than $2 million in donations and pledges. From the branding to the execution, Angel Oak worked with ESUMC to create a campaign that captured the heart of its congregation. Find out how we helped make it happen here.
It’s obvious every type of campaign presents its own marketing challenges. And every challenge can be turned into an opportunity to move prospective donors to action. From a strong plan, to an engaging brand, to effective execution, it takes an integrated and strategic approach to achieve the greatest success.
It’s an equation that works: fundraising + marketing = successful campaigns.
We’d love to help you and your organization take your campaigns to the next level. And we’ve just scratched the surface with these three examples. Another one of our favorites is a lapsed donor campaign. More to come on that in another blog. We’re here for you. Let us know how we can help.
– David Chatham, Strategic Marketing Consultant