Big Give Christmas campaign – now is the time to start planning

16 May 2024

By Emma Goulds

If you are like me and thinking about Christmas in Autumn makes you groan, the idea of doing any planning for it this side of the Summer might not be very appealing.

But if you are contemplating digital fundraising as a way of diversifying your income, now might be precisely the time to start, as applications for the Big Give Christmas campaign opened on 13th May…

There are lots of really helpful resources on the Big Give website and YouTube Channel that are worth reading. Having walked through the process a few times, here are my top tips on how to maximise your campaign.

Stage 1 - Initial application, deadline 5th July

  • The application form itself is fairly straightforward to complete. However, if your fundraising comfort zone is bid writing, you might want to engage the support of a volunteer or team member with marketing skills, as the text you write in the application will appear on your campaign page itself.
  • Take time to plan your messaging and campaign focus with your team before applying. You can read case studies of previous successful campaigns from similar charities in the research section of the website.

Stage 2 - Secure pledges, Deadline 30th August

  • Your pledge donors will be part of your match funding pot – you may also secure ‘Champion funds’ via the Big Give’s partners.
  • Relationally, approaching a few of your key donors is a good place to start. You may also decide to ask people to commit to being ‘lead donors’ and give on particular days during the campaign week.

Preparing for campaign week

  • To maximise the amount you raise in the campaign week, you will need a whole-organisation approach – for one week everyone is a fundraiser!
  • Identify key communication ‘allies’ who are willing to send on the campaign to their networks. This might be staff, volunteers, family, friends or church networks.
  • Brainstorm together your audience – think more broadly than your usual communication pools and include the wider networks for your team.
  • Prepare newsletter, social media and text communications ready to be sent out in the run-up and during the campaign week, focused on storytelling. Video content can be really effective. Make sure grant funders are segmented from your mailout list so you don’t inadvertently spam them!

Campaign week

  • Be ready to communicate daily with emails and social media – messages with the donate link via text or WhatsApp can be really effective.
  • Keep in contact with your lead donors to encourage them to give during the week.
  • If you are able to, host speaking events during the campaign where you can ask people to give on the night.
  • Thank promptly and personally each day.
  • Be prepared to communicate over the weekend – many people choose to give then rather than when they are busy at work during the week.

The experience of the Big Give in itself can be an opportunity to strengthen your digital communications, raise your profile and generate a new pool of supporters, who might over time become regular givers if you nurture those relationships well. Over a few years your capacity to raise money this way (and inch up the target) is likely to increase.

But you can leave the tinsel until December!

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