Webinar Recap: Leveraging Digital Fundraising in Times of Uncertainty

AAPC’s recent webinar addressed how to ensure the tone of your messaging is appropriate during these uncertain times, how to maintain relationships with your supporters without in-person interactions, and how to reach donors where they are through various mediums.

Our expert panel included: Tracy Dietz, CEO, DonorBureau; Bill Wong, Principal, Bill Wong LLC; Maggie Paulin, Senior Account Strategist, Campaign Solutions; Cheryl Hori, Founder and Chief Strategist, Pacific Campaign House; and Lindsay Jacobs, Executive Director, Majority Money

Check out the key lessons from the webinar below, and listen to the recording for even more expert insights.

This webinar has been archived for playback. AAPC members can click here to view all webinar archives.

Key Lessons from the Webinar: 

Messaging and Strategy

In these complicated times, it’s important to come from a place of sincerity in order to avoid sounding tone-deaf. Messaging is more important than ever.

  • Listen to your clients—unless you’re local right now, your client is going to know the local atmosphere around COVID-19 better than you. Candidates should be paying close attention to the tone and tenor of the local conversation. Let their comfort level guide your messaging, pacing, and modes.
  • Fundraising asks should be soft, and most of your communications should be about establishing yourself as a trusted leader with your audience.
  • At the top of the ticket, it appears that fundraising solicitations have remained partisan with strong asks. Down the ballot, it may be harder for more local candidates to have success with that type of language.

Relationship Building

Don’t stop checking-in with supporters—even if they can’t financially contribute to your campaign right now.

  • People are hungry for human connection they’d normally get through in-person interactions.
    • Set up time where they can connect with your candidate and other supporters. This could be a Facebook group or weekly call.
    • Candidates can also use this time to personally thank existing donors and check-in. A 5- minute phone call to check in on a donor or prospect’s well-being, updating them on the state of the campaign and offering help if they need it will deepen your relationship, regardless of how long you’ve known them.
  • When it feels appropriate to ask for money again, you’ll have done the legwork to make a seamless transition to raising dollars and making the hard ask.

Planning Ahead 

In addition, these check-ins can provide a golden opportunity to organize, augment, and refine your donor data. These check-in conversations can provide information like key dates, hobbies, spouse’s name, children’s names, and other donor background that can be folded into warmer contact talking points in the future.

Reaching Donors Where They Are 

With most people at home, it’s important to reach them where they are: digital devices. Everything you do digitally can be tracked and optimized – so you’ll know which tactics and messaging are working for your audience.

  • Campaigns are still raising money online — for some, they’re seeing bigger returns than usual.
  • SMS is seeing a huge bump in successful engagement and fundraising. Positive responses are double the average and fundraising is quadruple.
  • Continue to utilize emails. Many campaigns are seeing higher open rates and lower unsubscribe rates.
  • Other mediums are still important! Direct mail and phones should not be neglected at this time.

Access the full recording to hear additional tips from our panelists.