You have just been alerted that there is an emergency and you need to act fast. What do you do? How do you go about it? At Redstone Marketing we’ve seen this go both ways. Your organisation starts to frenzy and you drive your donors away or you bolster together your community who will pull through when the going gets tough.
We know which scenario we’d rather.
Tone is everything
Our clients know that tone reflects your brand and branding comes down to perception. When you’re faced with an emergency how do you want to be perceived?
Even though the alarm bells may be ringing, let’s take a breath and put some practical actions in place so we can come across, sensitive, compassionate and yet reassuringly proactive.
Even though your organisation’s immediate goal is donations, you’ll need to come from a place of understanding. Who knows? Your donors may be affected by this emergency also.
Be mindful of your messaging. Let’s leave the pushy verbs where they belong and instead use language that cultivates community, appreciation and camaraderie. Everyone likes to be a hero, and deep down many people love to know that they are needed and that they are part of something bigger. When we focus on this part of the human psyche we are more likely to gather troops that will help out the cause.
How to respond to an emergency with a strong fundraising campaign
Being responsive and flexible with your marketing in an emergency will set you apart from the rest.
The quicker you can turn around a campaign that offers a solution showing the difference that your organisation will make, the better. This shows your donors that you are on top of the situation. This builds trust and confidence with your donors. Better yet, it puts your organisation at the forefront of potential donors, leaving them with a great first impression.
Having a plan in place that you can customise easily will give you one less headache when it comes to responding to an emergency. At Redstone Marketing, we recommend the following:
- A landing page template that you can skin and customise at any given time
- An email sequence for that landing page, locked and loaded – ready to go
- An email blast to all those on your mailing list, with the donation link
- A social media post template that you can customise
Having a bank of material ready at your fingertips will cut down on your reaction time and allow you to spend more time where it matters – on the ground, in the program, creating change.
How soon can you send out an emergency appeal?
Don’t wait. It is often the case of first in, best dressed and as you can imagine, your caring, generous supporters are going to be bombarded with materials from other organisations.
Have a plan in place where you can assure yourselves that you are getting donations all year round, building trust and fostering loyalty. Having a program that involves monthly donations can reduce the stress of an emergency when it strikes. Instead, organisations should be fundraising, sharing their message and building their community more perpetually. This encourages consistency with your donors. The donors that give consistently inherit advocate characteristics, meaning they will be by your side when an emergency emerges.
Speak to your donors about the importance of what you do, the transformation that occurs from their donations and how their contributions are extremely worthwhile. They are making a difference. Do this day in and day out and you will create a relationship that is strong enough that when it comes to the time and you need to ask them if they could donate more in a particular season, they will be right on board. Why? Because they know what you stand for, and they see the change.
To sum it up, harness the human factor in your organisation, get on their level, and always move through your work with compassion as this will resonate with your donors effectively.