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How to Save a Good Online Fundraising Campaign Gone South

In the beginning, things were great! Your campaign was chugging along, but now it has sadly flatlined. You don’t know what to do to turn your campaign around and bring it back to life. You don’t want to give up, but you’re also not sure what to do next.

I’m here to tell you, that’s okay!! You’re not alone and it’s not over yet! 

motivational speaker

You can bring this campaign back to life! Sorry if I sound like a motivational speaker, but I’m hoping this article can help you learn how to turn your campaign around and give you ways to approach online fundraising differently in the future! 

If I had to guess, you probably had a lot of activity to your campaign after you initially announced it. Right?

I’ve seen a lot of campaigns that look like this:

Campaign Pace 1

However you want to aim for this:

Campaign Pace 2

There are many things you could do with your communications to turn your campaign around. Whether you have 3 weeks or 3 days left in your campaign, using this comprehensive strategy can make a difference.

Here are 5 things your campaign messaging should aim to be:


The most powerful ask is a peer ask. You couldn’t ask for a better scenario if your supporters are spreading the word and sharing your campaign to their networks. But they won’t do anything if you’re not asking them to do something specific.


  • Send an email to your supporters and board members that not only asks them to give, but asks them to forward the email to 1 friend/family member.
  • On Twitter, ASK for retweets.
  • On Facebook, ASK for shares.


Keep your messaging short, sweet and to the point. Especially emails. The last thing you should do in your messaging is tout your services in a long-winded email. Your supporters and potential supporters need to be able to quickly understand how they can help fix  and become the heroes of your mission!


Ask yourself if your messaging quickly answers these questions in 1 short paragraph (Courtesy of Stephen Pidgeon international AFP Conference 2016):  

  • What’s the problem?
  • Why should I care about it?
  • What’s this charity doing about this problem?
  • What can I do as a donor?
  • Why do I need to do it now?
  • What happens if I don’t give?
  • What is their proof of success?


Many nonprofits get caught up talking about themselves and their services. It’s not that you or your services aren’t important, but the people you serve and your donors are more important. So shine the spotlight on them. After all, people like giving to people!


  • Feature a story of a beneficiary’s and be sure to use a photo or create a short 1-2 minute video that features a donor. Then share these to social media.  Did you know Twitter posts that have photos get 18x more engagement and video generates 4x more engagement?? 
  • Use a clear call to action like, “Help Make More Stories Like (beneficiary’s) Possible!”, instead of just “Donate Now” or “Make a Gift”.
  • Use less “we’s” in your communications and more “you’s”. After all, people don’t give to you they give through you!


You can’t expect your campaign to gain traction if you’re not being frequent with your communications. Email your supporters just to give them an update on the campaign. For social posting, try using a scheduling tool like buffer or hootsuite, so you’re working smarter not harder.

Having a schedule you stick with throughout the duration of your campaign can really keep the momentum of your campaign going strong!


  • Email: Send emails on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday between the hours of 11am and 1pm. Avoid sending supporters emails on Monday morning. You want to reach people when their inboxes aren’t full!
  • Twitter: Schedule at least 1 tweet per day (but really tweet as much as you can!) during the morning, lunchtime, end of the day and before bed.
  • Facebook: Schedule posts at least once per week and at a maximum of 3x per day.


Being targeted with your messaging might be one of the most difficult, yet rewarding strategies. Why? If you’re segmenting your donors by demographics (age, events they’ve attended, size of last gift, communication preferences, etc.) and tailoring your messaging based on that – you’re more likely to receive a gift! You’ll also know more about your donors’ behavior and their preferences.


  • Send supporters who have attended a particular event an email that mentions something like this:  “Your donation helps make events like (Event Name) possible.

So, if you’re feeling discouraged about a big fundraising campaign that you put so much of your time and effort into, try following the above tips and I’m certain you’ll see a positive change!