Creating a Winning Communications Plan – Blog 3

In the appeal plan you created in blog 2, you made clear what you wanted your appeal to achieve. Next in our micro-series of blogs from our Fundraising Innovation Manager, Brad French, is how to develop a communications plan to identify your audiences and how you will reach them to make this happen.

By this stage, you probably just want to post something about your appeal on Facebook and see what happens. However, as I seem to be saying at the start of each blog, rushing ahead may reduce the impact and success of your appeal!

Here’s a template for a communications plan that you can complete, or your organisation may have its own that you should follow.

Some top tips for planning your communications are below:

  • Soft Launch First

Before sharing far and wide, share your appeal with a selected audience of dedicated supporters. This helps to get the ball rolling and gives an extra level of scrutiny before an appeal is rolled out more widely.

This is particularly important for fundraising appeals where supporters can see whether others have already donated. Your selected group of dedicated supporters are likely to donate, which means that by the time the appeal is shared more widely, it will already have donations showing and progress will have been made towards the target. This makes people more likely to donate when you come to sharing your appeal more widely.

  • Make It as Easy as Possible to Donate

Imagine, you put all that effort into your appeal, a supporter is ready to donate but has to tell you their full name, full address, phone number, email address, card number… Some are just not going to go to all that effort to give their money away.

Look at systems to make donating as easy as possible; online appeal pages, text giving, Facebook and Instagram giving. If people can donate quickly and easily, then they’re more likely to donate.

  • Ensure Your Communications Will Reach Your Audiences

You’ve identified your key audiences, make sure that your communications will actually reach them. Next to each audience, suggest methods of communication that will reach that audience and ensure that these are incorporated into your communications plan.

Don’t forget about options such as phone calls and letters – just mentioning because I find that I automatically focus on email and social media and have to remind myself about other methods! 

  • Cut Your Cloth Accordingly

It’s better to do fewer things and do them well, than to do lots and do it badly. If you don’t have the capacity to manage loads of different social media platforms, then don’t. Pick the platforms that give you the best engagement and focus on them.

  • Plan Impact Related Updates 

Plan updates that you can share when you reach milestones in your fundraising. If you’re hoping to raise £1,000 to provide 500 breakfasts to local school children, then when you reach £200 you could share a post explaining that your supporters have donated enough to provide 100 breakfasts.

Accompany these updates with case studies including videos and photographs to ensure that the impact is tangible for your supporters.

You’re now ready to press the magic button and make your fundraising appeal live! In the next blog we’ll discuss what to do during and after your appeal.

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