min read

You’ve worked hard gathering a team, building your campaign and marketing the launch. Now, you can just sit back and let the funding roll in, right?

Wrong. One of the biggest mistakes that campaign creators make is thinking people will automatically give once the initiative is live and accepting donations. Even if you have a beautiful online fundraising page filled with compelling content, you are still responsible for keeping (and gaining more) momentum throughout the life cycle of the campaign. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is through marketing updates. 

Studies show that updates more than double the success of your fundraising campaigns

Ideally, you should be providing an update each week (in fact, studies show that campaign owners raise three times more money if they update supporters every five days). However, updates don’t have to be boring or labor-intensive! Just a few sentences and/or some visual content can be enough to keep supporters engaged with your story.

Remember, your donors are investing in you and your cause. They are taking a risk, not knowing 100% if the campaign will succeed. It’s up to you to not only assure them through updates but also keep them engaged in the cause so that they are more likely to help you by telling their friends, sharing updates on social media, etc.

The Benefits of Updates

Updates Keep Your Campaign Fresh
Don’t assume that potential donors are paying attention to how long a campaign has been live or how long it has left to run. A campaign without any updates is more likely at risk to feel abandoned and stale. Updates allow you to breathe new life into already-established content.

Updates Allow Communication Beyond The Ask
Building a relationship with the donor is just as important as raising funding for your cause. To avoid donors ignoring your messages because they assume you will be asking for money, break up the asks with notes of thanks and valuable information about the cause.

Updates Encourage Continued Giving
Keeping donors up-to-date helps them have a deeper investment and understanding of your initiative’s progress. This will come in handy if you announce a stretch goal or need a strong push to meet your goals. Your updates will let everyone know what’s going on, therefore they are more likely to act when needed.

Updates Build Trust with Transparency
Providing regular updates will help keep you honest about the status of your initiative, which in turn will help you gain trust with your audience. Trust is at the core of people wanting to support your cause and can make or break your long-term success. 

Updates Show You are Just as Invested as the Donor
This is in line with the importance of building a relationship. You want to show the donor that you are equally invested in making sure the campaign is a success – not that you’re expecting them to pull the weight to make it happen. Updates show your continued engagement in the initiative, which in turn helps potential donors feel like you are a partner in this journey and will make it happen once the funding goal has been reached.

Methods of Sending Updates

Updates can take many forms throughout the life cycle of your campaign. Using several methods will ensure that you can reach a wide audience when dispersing important campaign information:

Through Your Website Platform
Many platforms allow for updates both via email and on the campaign page itself.

Social Media
Linking social media posts that have updates about the campaign is a smart way to gain exposure to your cause. This also allows people to easily share information with their peers with no risk. 

If you want to send updates beyond the platform, utilizing your organization’s email software is another way to reach a wide audience.

Use any newsletters/blog posts/online news feed for your organization to post updates about your cause if allowed.

Word of Mouth
Even though you can’t easily link back to the campaign page, word of mouth is an exciting way to inform people what’s going on, because people will hear the energy in your voice and hopefully pass that positivity along when sharing what they learned. However, because it’s not concrete, it is recommended that you use one of the other update methods.

Similar to word of mouth, phone calls are an effective method for verbal communications and can be utilized when there is a need for personalized updates. For example, maybe phone call notifications are reserved for donors who give $1,000 or more to your cause. If you plan to use this method, be sure to plan carefully (one or two times during the life cycle of the campaign) so that you do not end up pestering the donor.

Anatomy of an Update

Regardless if an update is made before, during, or after a campaign, there are core pieces of information to include so potential supporters stay in the loop:

Express Thanks
This is crucial, especially if you already have donors supporting your cause. Express sincere gratitude for the support you have received thus far. If you haven’t received any support yet, still thank people for taking the time to learn about your initiative.

Share What’s Been Happening
Potential donors will want to feel like they are part of your team. Be 100% transparent by telling them what has been going on with the initiative. When providing an update, it’s especially important to share the impact being made (number of dollars, donors, social media shares, etc.) so that excitement around the campaign keeps momentum.

Share What’s Coming
What’s next for your campaign? Upping the goal if you reach it early? Spending some of the money to support the cause before the campaign has finished? Give your audience a teaser as to what might be next in the exciting world of your campaign. 

Clearly Explain How People Can Help
You don’t want to include an ask in each of your updates, but your should always have a call to action. Whether it’s asking people to forward your email to three friends who might be interested, share on social media, or another action, your audience should always know how they can help you. 

Help People Visualize the Cause
Video, images, and infographics can go a long way with helping your audience feel connected to your initiative. Don’t just tell them about what’s happening, help them see it!

Let People Know How They Can Keep in Touch
Always maintain an open-door policy with your donors and include ways they can get in contact with you if they have additional questions or want more information on how they can help.

Update Types

There are 7 main types of updates you can utilize during the life cycle of your campaign. Each one has a specific focus and can be intermingled so that you are providing thorough and comprehensive information to your supporters:

Social/Public Promotion
This update is a call to action for your supporters and asks for them to share your story through their various social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). These updates work best at the beginning of your story’s life cycle. 

Example: “We are feeling the love, but would very much appreciate more support for this important cause! We ask that you please share this story on your social media channels to help us gain more awareness.”

Progress Report
This update specifically tells supporters the status of the story, and what’s been accomplished thus far. The progress report works especially well at the midpoint of your story being live.

Example: “Our story is resonating with a lot of people! We have 123 donors who have collectively supported us with $5,365 dollars! Our next goal is to raise another $2,000 in the next five days.”

New Content
This update outlines any new ideas that have been discussed since the launch of the campaign and will keep up supporters up-to-date with the latest strategies.

Example: “While working hard to make this cause a reality, we came up with this awesome new idea that we would like to share with all of you!”

These updates make sure that deadlines are kept top-of-mind for supporters, and can often be the most important one when conveying urgency and a need for action.

Example: “Just three days until this our campaign is complete! We really need your help with a final push to the finish line so that our dreams become a reality.”

Provide Answers
This update provides feedback to common questions you may be receiving about your story or to be proactive in giving updated information. 

Example: “We wanted to let everyone know that these are the fasted ways you can reach our team to provide feedback on our story!”

New Reward/Match/Challenge
This update provides information on any new incentives provided for your cause and works best toward the end of your story’s life cycle to help with the final push. 

Example: “Great news! Thanks to the generous culture of our community, we have a new $1,000 matching gift! Please help us unlock this potential with your support!”

This update is all about your supporters! Provide a feel-good note of thanks to show how much they meant to the success of your cause.

Example: “You are the reason we are celebrating right now! Thank you for all of the much-needed support to make this dream come true.”

Happy Updating!

Katie Haystead

Katie Haystead

Senior Vice President, Partnerships

With over a decade of experience working with K12 schools and higher education institutions’ fundraising efforts, Katie Haystead now oversees the partnerships team at Community Funded. Her passion for partner success and satisfaction aligns with Community Funded’s priorities and Katie’s unique background is well suited to manage the day to day operations of our partnerships team as well as new market acquisition.

Prior to joining the team at Community Funded, Katie served many roles within the Fundraising Division at Ruffalo Noel Levitz. Her experience ranges from working onsite and remotely with clients executing phonathon programs, developing annual giving strategies, onsite consultations and also developing multichannel strategies allowing for strong synergy between annual giving channels and creating strong major and planned gift pipelines.

Katie is based in Metro Detroit and is a graduate of Central Michigan University, where she worked for the phonathon for 3 years while working towards her History Major.

Kim Jennings

Kim Jennings

Senior Generosity Strategist, Generis

Kim Jennings, CFRE is a skilled fundraising leader who believes in the power of Christian education to raise up thoughtful, strong, committed leaders who can make our world a better place for all.

Kim Jennings

Todd Turner

Director of Digital Strategies, Generis

In addition to his 11 years overseeing Chuck Swindoll’s Insight Living Ministries communications department, Todd Turner has worked as a digital strategist for faith based organizations across the globe..

Kim Jennings

Jennifer Perrow

Senior Generosity Strategist, Generis

Jennifer is a skilled fundraising and communications professional who helps ministries articulate vision, communicate mission, and raise abundant funds to advance Kingdom priorities.