Maximize the blessings of Ramadan by preparing and organizing your fundraising campaign for your organization, in advance. Here are five steps to get you from start to completion.
Depending on the size and scope of your fundraising campaign, you will want to start this process in advance of the start of Ramadan. Consider the number of components you must manage to determine how many weeks in advance you should begin planning. Do you need to write, edit, print, sign, and mail a letter or postcard to your supporters? Do you need to script, practice, edit, and publish a video campaign? Do you have a theme and theme-related posts to write, edit, and approve? Do you have a community event that needs invitations, planning, catering, transportation, and other considerations? On average, we recommend at least three to four weeks of planning to support success.
Step 1: Set Your Goal
Have a clear and measurable goal in mind for your campaign. Do you want to reach a certain number of donors? Do you want to engage a set number of new donors? Do you want to raise a specific amount of money?
Your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. For a Ramadan campaign, the last one is already covered, Ramadan starts on Friday, April 1 and is estimated to end the evening of Saturday, April 30, 2022.
Perception is important. What have you achieved in past Ramadan campaigns? If you set your goal to $10,000 and raise $12,000 then your campaign will look and be successful. If you set your goal to $20,000 and raise $12,000, you will still have raised the same amount but the campaign does not look as successful. Make sure you set an achievable target and increase it along the way if you see that you are exceeding your goal.
If your goal is to reach new or lapsed donors then take the size of your network into account and how many individuals you can engage as ambassadors to encourage their networks to give to the organization. This work should include relationship building outside of the campaign by your staff and volunteers.
Step 2: Prepare the Campaign
Know your audience. Do you currently have a network of Muslim donors who prioritize giving during Ramadan? Are you trying to reach a new audience outside your current donor network? Are you trying to engage allies from the interfaith community through your campaign?
Segment your target audiences. If you intend to reach different communities you should create unique campaign materials for each donor group. For instance, you could send a request asking practicing Muslims to give their Zakat al-Fitr over the last 10 days of Ramadan. For interfaith allies, you may want to create an educational campaign about Ramadan to accompany a request for donations and why this is an important fundraising period for the Muslim community.
Create clear calls to action for your supporters. Many Muslims have identified a giving plan for their Zakat during Ramadan already. Make sure you know what you want from your donors. Are you asking for a one-time Zakat donation? Do you want them to pledge a recurring monthly or quarterly gift? Do you want them to invite their friends and family to your community event? Make sure you include your calls to action within your planning and communications.
Consider a two-fold message which 1. Helps you increase awareness and discovery of your work alongside 2. Driving consideration and action.
Prepare your pitch. This is where you get to tell your story and draw donors into an emotional connection with the organization. Remember, meaningful content speaking to Muslim values and themes is going to engage your audience. Do you want them to feel empowered? Inspired? Moved? Intrigued?
Step 3: Set up campaign channels
How does your community prefer to be contacted? Social media? WhatsApp? Videos? Emails? Snail mail? Crowdfunding? Community (in-person or virtual) event?
Using a variety of channels to engage potential donors numerous times. The Marketing Rule of 7 says a prospect needs to “hear” a message at least 7 times before they’ll take action. Not all communication channels are the same - a letter or postcard in a mailbox is more likely to be seen by your donor than a social media post they scroll by quickly. An email newsletter may also have a higher likelihood of being opened and read as long as you are not overwhelming donors' inboxes which might get you booted to junk mail or unsubscribed from.
If you are planning a crowdfunding campaign you will want to use various channels to share your campaign with your network. Launchgood has prepared a resource guide to help maximize your crowdfunding success. Their research shows that campaigns with videos raise twice as much as campaigns without videos. The most effective videos are under one minute long, and the first 10 seconds are the most critical. Use these 10 seconds to hook the viewer from the start. These videos can be used across your social media and email channels to maximize your outreach.
If you are planning an in-person or virtual community event promote it early and often, outside of your donation requests. Be clear about the goals of this event. Are you going to ask for donations? Will there be an entrance fee? Is it a way for you to engage with interfaith allies?
Take a look at our 2020 blogpost: Making the most of Dhul Hijjah and the best 10 days for fundraising examples.
Step 4: Run the campaign
Step 5: Thank your donors
When was the last time you received a great thank you? After Ramadan, do not forget to acknowledge your supporters for their investment into your organization, whether of time, money, or engagement. Here are some suggestions for gestures of gratitude to express how important supporters are to the organization.
A handwritten note: Even if it's just a quick thank you and update at the bottom of your standard donor acknowledgment letter, it's a meaningful gesture.
A public thank you: Honoring your supporters in a public way, such as a dedicated social media post, donor newsletter, donor spotlight, annual report, or a banner expresses recognition and appreciation.
An immediate email confirmation: For online donations, be sure to incorporate a nice thank you with the confirmation of the donation receipt. Consider adding a video featuring your team, participant, community partner, volunteer, or other community member expressing their gratitude for the support.
A personal visit: Time and resources may not allow for annual personal visits with your donors. However, if face-to-face isn't possible, Zoom calls can be another way to get one-on-one face time to express your gratitude and share program updates.
An appreciation party: Depending on your resources, you may decide to host donor, volunteer, partners, and other types of appreciation events together or separately. It can be a community iftar, open house, dinner, etc.
Thank-a-ton: Ask board members to make phone calls to donors to personally thank them for their donations. Whether scripted or spontaneous, a phone call expresses appreciation.
Bonus! Watch our Facebook Live about building a successful Ramadan campaign.