Most people would be completely daunted by the prospect at running in their first marathon, but for me, I knew I already had all the skills I would need to succeed. You see running a marathon is much like embarking on a new fundraising campaign –success is determined by your efforts in planning and preparation.
Before you embark on your next campaign, you need to make sure you fundraising fit and prepared to tackle the challenge with the same optimism, focus and drive needed to run a marathon.
Set a Realistic Goal
It is not enough to simply identify your goal – you must also ensure it realistic and achievable. For an organisation with limited fundraising experience or a small donor base, raising $1million dollars is as unlikely as someone who has never run before making it to the finish line. It is great to have a vision and dream big, however you may need to tackle your ultimate goal in stages, setting a number of interim goals along the way. In order to assess your fundraising “fitness” level you need to look at;
- What is your current giving like?
- Do you have a good supporter database?
- Have you launched a fundraising campaign before?
- What is the current market like?
- Do you have access to new donor markets?
Find Your Motivation
While I had always thought about running a full marathon, the right time did not present itself until I lost a friend to cervical cancer. Losing her was the motivation I needed to take a leap and sign up to run the marathon in her honour. Strong motivations are also important to consider when timing your fundraising campaign. These motivations will not only help drive your campaign, they will help engage your staff and supporters and focus your efforts. Once you find your motivation, things start falling quickly into place and you will find it easier to formulate a plan and prepare to achieve your goals.
You can’t just turn up on race day and expect to finish the marathon, you need to prepare, to train, have strategies for injury prevention, correct fuelling with the right nutrition, strength training etc. Preparing your body as best you can to ensure you not only can reach your goal but you can keep moving afterwards. Likewise with a fundraising campaign, you have to prepare as best you can to maximise your potential.
- How well do you know your supporter database?
- Do you have strong campaign leadership potential?
- Does it fit in with your strategic plan?
- Are you well placed to develop a strong marketing campaign?
- Do you have sufficient resourcing etc.
Assemble a Support Team
While I run the marathon alone, there are many people who contribute to my success. Just as I need the support of my family and friends, my trainer and physiotherapist, your campaign will need support from various groups each contributing in their own way. In focussing on their financial goals, many organisations neglect the fact that a successful fundraising campaign also requires advocates or ambassadors to spread the word, engaged and knowledgeable staff to keep things on track and a strong leadership team actively involved in the campaign.
Hire in Expertise
Top athletes know that hiring a trainer is an investment in their future success. Engaging an agency, like OKP, is much like having a trainer. We provide motivation, expert assessment of your performance and the knowledge of what it takes to win against tough competition.
Know That it’s Not Over at the Finish Line
While I usually look forward to some serious relaxation once I cross that finish line, I know it won’t be long until I move on to my next challenge. Therefore it is important that I take the time to thank everyone that has helped me along the way and that I asses my performance and learn from any mistakes as a base for future goals. Once you have reached the conclusion of your campaign take some time to celebrate your achievements but also make sure you show gratitude for your supporters, build on your success and continue to grow. Then set yourself a new goal and remember every achievement is a stepping stone to greater success.