You spend days, weeks, months planning a fundraising campaign; you’ve set the target of how much you’re needing to raise, you know how you’re going to do it.
But, then it all turns to custard, the campaign doesn’t have the impact you’d hope for – you fall short of your target, what now.
You still need to be able to deliver whatever it was you’d set a fundraising target for – but how do you go about this without appearing as a failure.
There’s a few schools of thought on what to do; you could go back to those who gave and tell them that you’d missed the target so now won’t be going ahead with what the funds were for – offering them their money back*. Or, you could move the date by which the funds are needed.
Whatever you decide on doing, make the decision and stick to it.
Whenever you’re fundraising it’s important to have targets, you won’t get anywhere with anything without them. Targets have to be achievable, maybe you missed the total needed because you gave yourself too shorter time to raise the money; maybe the amount you set was to high.
Either way, be honest with your supporters – tell them that you missed the target, that you’re over the moon with the support that has come and that you’re not going to shelve your plans but will be going after the additional funding needed.
Asking again for funds from those who have already given can be difficult, it can be one of those things that can make you feel needier than you are; so do this with caution. Simply let people know where you’re at with the campaign, what you’re going to be doing – and ask if they could help you get more support.
Peer-to-peer asks can have a huge impact, Mrs Brown may like to talk to her friends, family about your campaign and how you didn’t reach the amount needed – this could result in more donations coming in.
Where big donors have committed, perhaps give them a call and talk to them about your campaign, others could be updated through letter and/or email.
Whatever you do, don’t hide the fact you’ve not reached your goal, don’t simply allocate the funds raised to something else – it’s not why people gave, they gave for the reason you asked.
Have you missed a fundraising target during a set campaign period, what did you do, what was the impact on donors, did you eventually meet it?
*Offering donors their money back may sound crazy, but from experience very few if any will want it back, they’re committed to your cause, they want to see you succeed – some donors will if they’re able offer you a few more dollars.