AGRM Preview: Micro-campaigns — how to raise $100,000 online in 4 weeks

Following is a preview of a presentation that will be given at the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM) 2017 Convention, on June 2nd at 11:15 a.m. Learn more about the AGRM convention here, and if you are attending, stop by the session!

Every rescue mission, every nonprofit, has low points in its fundraising calendar. At the same time, every rescue mission, every nonprofit, has wonderful and important work that it does that historically is difficult to fundraise for.

If you’ve ever wondered: A) how you can bolster fundraising outside of the holiday seasons, and B) how you can raise money for non-meal related efforts, you’re going to want to tune in.

On Friday, June 2nd, at the AGRM Conference, Hillary Grigel of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission and I will be sharing a strategy we’ve seen work very well to address these two issues and raise significant amounts of money.

That strategy is called a micro-campaign.

In short, a micro campaign is a brief, intense, digital-centric campaign to raise money for a very specific need by a very urgent deadline. It feels like a community groundswell — we’ve all got to band together in order to address this urgent/timely need. And it’s bolstered by several strategies we’ll share at the conference.

We’ll discuss the particulars of the strategy at the seminar, but for this preview, I’ll focus on the offer.

Ideal offers for great micro-campaigns can look very different, but all of them share a few things in common:

The ideal offer is specific and novel
The ideal offer needs to be understandable and very concrete to donors. We’ll share a few examples from Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, including a brand-new dental clinic that will serve children for the first time, or a partnership to launch a new youth services shelter.

It’s also important that the need feels novel, like a special need. Note that I say “novel,” not “new.” The offer doesn’t always have to be a new program or a new need, as long as it can be presented as novel. For example, an existing program that has to step up in the face of a new challenge or need. Or a changing population that requires you to change your approach. The basic idea is “a need has arisen and we all need to step up to address it!”

The ideal offer is timely and pressing
The whole micro-campaign is based on a need that must be met soon. Typically, in no less than 3 weeks, nor more than 6 weeks. The campaign builds to a climax at the deadline. Having no deadline, or a soft deadline, will kill the energy you are building up to. The best kind of offer deadline is one where if you can’t raise the funds, you can’t do the program to the extent that is needed. But even if you intend to continue with the program in the face of a lack of funding, you still need a natural deadline to build towards.

The deadline needs to be timely and make sense to the donor. For example, a summer program for children that starts the day kids let out for school, or the date your expanded services need to open up, and so on.

The ideal offer requires donors to step up
Last, the ideal offer requires donors to step up. This may sound obvious, but so many times the implied message is “we’d like your help, but if push comes to shove, we’re going to do this no matter what and we don’t necessarily need you.”

If you want to be successful, you must position the need as clearly requiring the donor community to step up. The need is so great and the timing is so pressing — the only way we are going to be able to effectively address the problem is by all stepping up.

These are just a few of the lessons we’ll share at the AGRM Convention next week. If you are there, be sure to stop by! Just look for the session on Friday, June 2nd at 11:15 a.m.