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  • Writer's picturePriyanka Maheshwari

Planning a Creative Fundraising Campaign

In the noise of fundraising emails, social media campaigns and events out there through the year, it is challenging to cut through the noise to create a fundraising campaign that captures your audience’s attention.

This article will detail steps on how to create a well-planned campaign throughout the year, particularly with fundraising events. These events could include big galas or even smaller seminars, networking events or tours depending on the NGO’s budgets and goals.

Fundraising Campaign Planning Tips

1. Yearly Calendar:

It is important to carve out some time to consider your fundraising calendar for the entire year to have an organized, coherent and consistent message going out to your audience. Set out SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely) goals that you would like to achieve with your events, and use them to create your event calendar. Consider the seasons, holidays, special days related to your cause and take a step back to consider if there are any major gaps in the year. Consider one event as your signature, while the rest as supporting events. Don’t forget to target your existing donors to thank them and update them on any advancements.

2. Historical Calendar:

Before getting started, consider your previous year’s calendar to see how it looked like in terms of events. Consider factors like did most events take place around the same time period? Were there any major gaps in the calendar that was missed out? Did your events lead up to a larger coherent message, or were majority stand-alone campaigns?

Consider the goals that you had set out at the beginning of the year, and note what was achieved, what was not and what the reasons behind both could be. Overall, the questions that you need to answer should be:

- Are you giving your donors enough opportunities to be engaged with your cause?

- Are there any gaps in your strategy that could be filled?

- Is your overall message being communicated effectively?

3. Brand Language:

While there are endless opportunities to communicate with your donors, it is important to have a coherent brand language. Some events, while engaging, may not be aligned with your overall brand communication and organizational value.

Look at events, dates and activities that coincide with your NGO mission. For instance, if yours is a health-based non-profit, then consider an event around the marathon rather than a pie-eating contest.

4. Incorporate fun:

While some causes are serious in nature, the element of fun is always the best way to engage the community. Show your audience that they can combine giving to the cause they love with an entertaining afternoon. This is always a great way to attract a new audience who may have stayed away previously and connect them to the cause on a more personal level. If your NGO is supporting refugees, you could always host a fun picnic to help the community at large understand their stories through activities and conversation.

5. Consider your audience:

If you have not already, create a client persona for your targeted audience. Note their demographics, goals, needs, pain points, activities and media consumed. This will help be your guideline for every event planned going forward. If your audience is your family, then you know you can plan children friendly events, while networking events would work for young professionals.

6. Creative Planning:

While planning your event, consider broad event topics as a starting brainstorming point. All of these event categories would not work for each organization, so pick and choose the categories. that would fit with your messaging strategy.

Here are some examples of events within some categories:

- Sports: 5K runs, hikes, sporting activities for your beneficiaries and donors

- Holidays: Mother’s Day, Chinese New Year

- Special dates related to the organization’s cause: Movember, Human Rights Day

- Family-friendly events: Easter Egg Hunt, Beach BBQ

- Food-related events: Picnics, Farmer’s Markets

- High-end events: Galas, Fashion Shows

- Seasons: Summer Beach Day, Winter Hot Pot Dinner

- Arts and Culture: Film show, Arts show

- Gatherings: Book Drive, House Party

- Contests: Food Eating Contests, Treasure Hunt, Sporting Events

- Informational: Seminars, Networking Events, Centre Tours


Your fundraising calendar should be a fun time for your staff, volunteers, community and donors. Start with a brainstorming session with a larger list of activities that you found interesting and cut it down according to brand and organizational values, calendar dates, budget and marketing goals. Now its time to turn your calendar into action and start creating some value.

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