A topic that I know many of us struggle with is how to design and deliver campaigns that both influence decision makers and at the same time build the strength of our organisations and help us raise funds.
How do we, in other words, design and deliver influencing campaigns that the whole organisation benefits from?
Influencing campaigns need to engage those who have already chosen to fund the work of organisations like ours, as well as people who may not yet have discovered the organisation but who would welcome an opportunity to contribute financially. And of course our campaigns need to engage all those people who can help create the change needed, whether they are contributing financially or not, by putting pressure on corporations and politicians, by influencing their networks, by joining in planned activities or staging their own, or in any other way.
In my experience there are some elements that need to be present in an organisation to enable this to happen, and there are also some barriers that we need to manage or remove.
Some of the enablers are:
- An organisational leadership that has ambition for, and takes ownership of, integrating influencing campaigns with supporter engagement and income generation strategies
- A willingness to invest time and money in a new approach that removes siloed thinking – functional or geographical – and fosters integration, and a willingness to ‘fail forward’ as we won’t get everything right the first time
- A focus on embedding the change made
In my experience some of the barriers are:
- Lack of appetite and skills to implement a campaigning model that lends itself to supporter engagement and fundraising integration
- Over-reliance on one type of fundraising e.g. asks for bricks and mortar
- Lack of internal buy-in for the proposed change in approach
I believe that it is highly beneficial for an organisation to both campaign and fundraise in every market. Many organisations still have dedicated fundraising and non-fundraising offices respectively, leading to a situation where we in some markets do not have the benefit of insight gained from supporters, nor do we usually have the systems and processes in place to actively engage people in our campaigns, hence weakening our power to influence as well as of course raise funds.
I am honoured to be speaking at the International Fundraising Congress to be held in the Netherlands 15-18 October, for the first time this year. Together with my colleague Pascal de Smit I will be running a masterclass called ‘Integrated Campaigning Bootcamp: Boost your Influence and Income Together’.
During this masterclass we will explore:
- What is an influencing campaign and what do campaigners actually mean when they speak about campaigning? And how is this relevant to fundraising?
- Why is it important to integrate fundraising from the outset when we’re planning our influencing campaigns, and how do we best do this? We’ll be looking at some real life examples of what this looks like for different organisations and work out what’s effective and why.
- We’re also hoping to hear from participants about their experiences of how to successfully integrate influencing campaigns with supporter engagement and income generation – and hopefully all of us can learn from that!
I hope we’ll see you at our masterclass if you’re planning on coming to IFC.
Lena Aahlby is Global Director of Programmes at World Animal Protection and has extensive experience in campaigning for different causes.
Pascal de Smit is the Executive Director for World Animal Protection in the Netherlands and has a background in marketing and fundraising.