Today, I took part in a fundraising seminar for NGOs. This was the second work-related (fundraising) seminar in short time, so I’m really getting “educated”… Well, there’s still a long way to become a professional. But the subject is a very interesting, even if the NGO I work with doesn’t do fundraising and I work in communications, not in making people feel the urge to donate.
One of today’s sessions was very interesting. The lecture was given by Riikka Kämppi, the lady who lead the presidential campaign for Pekka Haavisto, of whom I wrote earlier in Is It Possible to Have a Gay President in Finland? In the end it wasn’t, as he got second, but the electoral campaign was an authentic success story.
Kämppi told us that they started the campaign in a desperate situation. The Green Party, Vihreät, had lost in the parliamentary elections, Haavisto’s support was at 3% (compared to the most popular one, the current president Sauli Niinistö, whose support was about 60%).
However, right from the start the goal of the campaign was to win – too much modesty is rubbish. Only that the campaign budget was 100 000€, so I guess many thought the idea was totally crazy.
Kämppi shared some valuable advice with us – and they are valid for many kinds of projects. Here some of them…
- Be completely honest about your goals, especially internally. For example, everyone inside the Green Party saw the campaign Powerpoints and knew exactly about the campaign’s goals.
- If your own means are scarce, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Most people are willing and even desiring to do that, when asked in a right way.
- If you have little money, target it wisely and leave out all the less relevant things. Even if people get angry.
- Copy the best ideas from others – it’s perfectly fine.
- Let people participate using and creating different ways and channels. And let them do it NOW, as things go by fast, epecially in social media, and our memory is short.
- Wonderful ideas get spontaneously born among “your fans”. Social media played a key role in this campaign, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are very cheap and you can reach an amazing amount of people in short time. As the message spread, people started to make cookies, art work, signs in the snow or whatever with the significant number 2. They also donated a lot of money – the final budget was more than 700 000€!
This flashmob and video was independently created by supporters of Pekka Haavisto. Amazing! Finlandia is kind of a national anthem of Finland, a very meaningful song.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid of conflicts! Kämppi told us that now, when she introduces an idea to people and everyone agrees, she thinks the idea must be too lame. If something makes people strongly oppose, there’s probably something good there. 🙂