If your charity works with humanitarian or wildlife causes, welfare, conservation or relief, the unfortunate reality is that at some point you’ll be faced with responding to a crisis or emergency. Time, of course, is crucial so it’s important to prepare in advance. Having a framework in place for your emergency response fundraising allows you to respond promptly and implement a proper emergency fundraising strategy.
“The first 24 – 48 hours of any emergency are crucial for media, communications and fundraising purposes.”
Templates, along with communication and planning are key to your emergency response fundraising. From the outset, define what your content will be, the people responsible and anyone required to sign off. The quicker this process is, the quicker you can begin fundraising. The most appropriate channels will vary depending on you as a charity, who your supporters are and the events that are unfolding.
Here’s an overview of some of the fundamental channels that may contribute to your emergency response fundraising and how you can prepare them in advance.
Use templates to produce your ads as quickly as possible. They should require minimal input – designs that you can quickly drop copy into and publish. They of course however need to be engaging and empower people to donate. It’s worth researching beforehand to identify the most effective ways to target your ads in the context of emergency fundraising.
Perhaps the emergency makes national or international headlines. Regardless, people will search for more information and for ways they can help you. Make sure that your charity’s ads appear front and centre as they do so. Make use of copy templates to write, approve and serve your ads as quickly as possible. Conduct some keyword research in advance. What are they key terms around your possible emergencies? What have people searched for in the past? Which keywords do you already know to be effective? You’re competing for support so make sure your ads are engaging.
Consider a bank of pre-approved tweets or copy templates to use in various scenarios. If you’re sharing any rich media content then, as with your display ads, use pre-made templates to ensure quick production and consistency. Monitor the trending topics and push your own hashtags. Social media is instant and reactive so keep your audience in the loop, up to date and get your appeals seen.
Email can be applied on numerous fronts. Use it to fundraise amongst your existing supporters, especially if the emergency impacts their cause. Think about who your emails might go to and whether you need to segment or suppress in anyway. Perhaps setup an emergency appeal list or segment. Additionally, integrate email with your other communications. Create automated journeys to thank people as they donate and keep them informed. Put new donors through a welcome journey as they join your charity and begin to nurture those relationships. Consider how many touchpoints are in your journeys; appeal, resend, reminder, thank you, update? As before, make sure you have emergency templates for your emails and copy templates to aid quick production and sign off.
With your different channels at work, you should be directing traffic towards specific landing pages. Drive donations by explaining how you’re responding, what’s already been done and then what the money will help to achieve. Keep distractions on the page to a minimum and make your calls to action clear and actionable. Streamline the donation process to make is as easy as possible. Landing pages can help you manage any emergency donations alongside your other fundraising activities and to monitor activity, triggering and tracking any subsequent email journeys.
Your Emergency Response Fundraising
Get in touch if you’d like our help with your emergency response fundraising. As you can see from the examples, we’ve worked with charities such as Amnesty International UK, British Red Cross and World Vision on emergency response materials. We can help you prepare for and launch prompt and effective fundraising appeals, mobilising your supporters and raising funds in an emergency.