Lesson 2 How to write a comprehensive communication plan?

Any fundraising campaign plan should start by reading reports from previous cycles and taking advice from them. The same applies to a communications plan.
Ensure your audits include a study of:

  • Communication methods– Check for response rates and ROI on each method (email engagement, social media engagement, SMS etc.)
  • Staff satisfaction: How easy/difficult did they find communicating and following up with donors? Do they have ideas to improve communication?
  • Donor satisfaction: Undertake text surveys to get feedback on previous fundraising communication methods.
  • SWOT analysis: Study the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats you encountered in your previous fundraising communications plan.


While auditing previous reports simultaneously set the goals and objectives for the current cycle. Understanding the objectives for this cycle at this point will allow you to

  • Compare strategies and successes of past fundraisers
  • Make more informed decisions about what to carry forward and what to abandon.

No two donors are the same– they may differ in gift size, frequency of giving, or reasons for giving. Similarly, to tailor communications for each of them, you need different approaches. This is why your fundraising communications plan must have segmented lists of donors– so you can target each list independently with personalized messaging.

This is the stage where you pencil in what you want to communicate with potential donors and supporters. The messaging of your fundraising communication plan must resonate with your goals and target audience.

For instance, if your goal is to increase donor retention, your messaging must not talk about why one must give; instead, how their contributions helped and why they must continue giving.

Next, you decide on how you communicate your fundraiser to potential donors and supporters.
What you need to consider while finalizing your communications methods:

  • Do they enable easy personalization?Have they worked well for you in the past?
  • What resources are needed for your preferred communication methods? Do you currently have them? (e.g., finances, software for texting or calling, hardware, etc.)
  • Do donors currently appreciate these methods? (Research on your success rates and current giving trends)

Dedicate teams for each stage of your fundraising communications plan and give them specific targets to meet.

Assign the teams with the following steps:

  • Identify the required skill set for each stage and for each communication method.
  • Calculate the number of people required for each stage and to be responsible for each communication method. (e.g.,your team auditing past campaigns may need more volunteers than the one in-charge of setting goals and objectives) the fu)
  • Undertake training for all participating volunteers and staffers, especially first-timers.
  • Convey targets and deadlines.
  • Make provisions for regular updates, hiccup reporting, and progress charts.

The main difference between a soft launch and a hard launch is the level of preparation.

A soft launch is the short pre-campaign period when you contact your strongest supporters and biggest donors and ask them to contribute. This launch is typically done one to two weeks before you put your fundraising communication plan in action.
On the other hand, a hard launch denotes that everything is prepared and ready to go.

These initial donations build your campaign’s momentum and inspire first-time or small donors to contribute further.

The fundraiser communications can then go into a hard launch– when you open up the campaign to all your supporters.


What it entailsSoft LaunchHard Launch

•To build momentum for the fundraiser.

•To show special appreciation to the most loyal, biggest donors.

•To convey your message, goals, and motivation to current supporters.

•To recruit new donors.

TimelineOne to two weeks before the hard launch.Launch day.
Target audienceMajor donors, most loyal donors.Small donors, first-time donors, repeat donors, lapsed donors, and prospects.
Best performing communication methods

• Personal meetings

•Letters/ direct mail

•Personal phone calls

•Surveys and feedback

•Events/virtual events

Text blasts

– Email blasts

– Newsletters

P2P texting

– Phone calls

– Social media posts

– Direct messages on social media


•Gratitude and appreciation for previous contributions.

•Details of the current campaign (includes your target and deadline).

•Expectations from donors.

•Overview of campaign

•Impact prospects

•Methods of donation

•Fundraiser target and deadline.

Having measurable objectives at the beginning of your campaign enables you to track progress throughout the tenure. Depending on the results, you can continue with current strategies or update them.

Here are some metrics to track while the campaign is in progress:

  1. The number of new website visitors: Google analytics is an excellent tool to map how many people visited your website, where they came from and how many were new etc.
  2. Website traffic drivers: Where the visitors are coming from (email links, text links, Google searches, social media mentions, etc.)
  3. Email responses: Use your email marketing tool to track these metrics.
  4. Social media engagement: Track social media mentions, likes, shares, and comments to examine this campaign’s social media engagement levels.
  5. SMS opt-ins: Once you share your keyword and shortcode/long code, track the number of people who opt in.
  6. Text message responses: A text messaging tool like CallHub enables you to track the responses you receive.
  7. Phone call bad numbers/ no answers: If you have bad numbers, you need to find alternate ways to contact donors