Skip to main content

It’s a classic tale:

A non-profit needs to raise more money, reach more donors, and create more impact. So they follow what they’ve done before. Last-minute pushes. Major donor dinners. More emails. Cold calls. Things that should work.

But then crickets. People don’t engage. The needle doesn’t move.

This is definitely frustrating. Too many non-profit leaders get trapped in a cycle of trying to raise more money instead of focusing on their mission. The hamster wheel of donor development gets exhausting.

Over the years, we’ve seen thriving non-profits follow a different playbook. It’s the playbook used by political campaigns. Think about it: political campaigns are often high-stakes, high-dollar engagements with a lot on the line. And since we have elections every year at the local, state, and national level, there’s a long history to follow of winning candidates.

We’ve helped hundreds of campaigns at the local, state, and national level do this. Whether it’s a local race or a high-stakes national campaign, we’ve seen what works over and over again.

If you want to find new donors, it’s time to be different. Here are the five ways your non-profit can be more successful in the next year:

1. Change your mindset. Success in a campaign requires thinking differently. It means operating like a high-stakes political campaign, not a marketing or typical donor campaign. This small but powerful shift sets the foundation for everything else. The mindset shift is to go from broad to targeted. Instead of trying to convince people of your cause, you only engage with people already aligned with what you do.

2. Find the right data. Data is easy. There are tons of data sources out there, which makes it easy to waste time on useless, dated information. The path to success involves the right data. You don’t need everything. Political campaigns use databases with billions of data points combined into a simple database. Instead of seeing random numbers, you can get a clear picture of who someone is and what they care about.

3. Build a list of the right people. All of the data points are combined to give you a clear look at who you should engage. No more guessing. No more hoping for an algorithm to show your content to random people. Instead, you can target exactly those most aligned with your organization. This is a proven secret of politics: you don’t need everybody. You need the right people. As a non-profit, you should know who is most likely to care about your cause.

4. Test and measure. Wouldn’t it be great if campaigns were “Set it and forget it”? Life would be much easier. Unfortunately, this isn’t reality. Political campaigns realize this reality. They see the campaign messaging as a constant laboratory. They test, measure, refine, relaunch, and do it again. See your messaging as a living document. The more you test, the better your results.

5. Engage people in a variety of ways. When it’s election season, think of all the ways you hear from campaigns:

  • Mail
  • Phone
  • Text
  • Email
  • Television
  • Digital ads

And so much more. This is intentional. People need to hear the same message multiple times before they understand. Because campaigns have databases of voter information, they know all the ways to contact voters. By communicating across a range of channels to a target audience, campaigns call the right people to action.

Winning isn’t easy, but it’s simple. In the end, the path to victory is simple:

  1. Find the right people.
  2. Use the right words.
  3. Engage in the right ways.

That’s it. That’s how everything from small-town mayoral races to nationally-covered races are won. The backbone, though, is data. Because when you have the right information in place, you eliminate uncertainty and see a clear path to win.

Accelerate your campaign’s success with one of our experts. Schedule a free 30-minute strategy call to see how you can leverage better data so you win.

Schedule a Call: