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Electrifying Results: Fundraising Insights to Move the Needle for Your Nonprofit

Campaign Lessons from Disaster Fundraising

Unfortunately, the last few months have seen a string of natural disasters affecting the U.S., Mexico and Caribbean islands. The positive side of these disasters is the outpouring of support, and usually fundraising dollars, that follows to help those who are suffering. While your nonprofit may not receive the national attention hurricanes and earthquakes garner, the campaigns to support those affected provide some important reminders on what can make your campaign successful.

  1. Leadership is key. Perhaps the biggest fundraising story out of the recent disasters was the success of JJ Watt’s campaign to raise relief funds for Houston. Watt had all the traits you want in a campaign leader, including:
    • Being well-respected. Watt is viewed as one of the best players in the NFL and is free from scandal.
    • Watt’s “celebrity” status gives him access to a group of high-capacity donors. He also has millions of followers on social media.
    • Passion and communication. Watt was consistently posting videos to say thank you to all those who supported the campaign and why it was important.
    • Skin in the game. He made a large gift of his own, setting the bar for others to follow.
  2. Success begets success. People want to be part of a winner, and the more people that got involved with Watt’s campaign, the more positive momentum was created. Once the ball gets rolling, no one wants to be one of the few who don’t support a cause. Watt’s campaign raised over $37 million…with an initial goal of $200,000.
  3. Crowdfunding is a powerful tool, and not just for small gifts. Somewhat overlooked in Watt’s campaign is the fact that he wasn’t steering people to give to an established organization, but rather a crowdfunding campaign he set up. These campaigns can be a powerful tool to provide updates to specific groups, like a workplace or professional association, on fundraising progress. A successful crowdfunding campaign requires items one and two on this list as well.
  4. Credibility is important. Many charities were featured in the press as suggested organizations to direct funds to, and oftentimes those were the highest-rated charities from watchdog sites. Recent disasters also renewed the debate about the Red Cross and how effective they are in using donor funds. A thank you is no longer enough—donors want follow-up and need to hear how their gift is being put to work in an effective way.

Although there may be some adjustments, these fundamentals can set your campaign up for success, no matter the cause.

Shocking Statistic:  JJ Watt’s crowdfunding campaign raised over $37 million from 209,417 donors, and was shared over a half million times on Facebook.

AMPERAGE Fundraising Advisers is a full-service fundraising company whose mission is to move the needle for our clients. For more information on Amperage Fundraising Advisers or to make a recommendation for a future blog post, contact us today!