Planning a Campaign

Peace Bird Necklace by Saomao

Peace Bird Necklace by Saomao ~ made from Khmer Rouge artillery casings…

Over here at PEPY in Cambodia, we have been wrapping up the planning stage of our Fundraising Campaign. The communications team has culled through the donor data, taken inventory of our email lists, done our research, updated our social media, chosen a fundraising platform, and are ready to roll out our new website & brand at the beginning of September. Most importantly, we have isolated our strongest supporters across the globe. They will be the roots of our network as we seek to reach a broader audience, make new friends and supporters.

The process of planning a successful crowd-funded campaign can be quite complicated, especially for a NGO, where resources are limited and the majority of the staff is unpaid volunteers. At all times we must focus on the primary objective: reaching new and old donors through channels that inspire them to engage, as well as make them feel comfortable. This requires deep insight into our existing and potential donors. What sort of engagement tools will work best to help them feel part of the campaign and greater organization? How can we get them excited about PEPY? How can we take event attendees, convert them into interested supporters, and connect with them year after year? Is the solution: QR Coded invitations or Facebook donation widgets? The possibilities are endless, but which ones are right for us?

At the same time we must account for a multitude of constraints: budget constraints, other scheduled obligations, large donor preferences, staff turnover or shortages, board member preferences, and technological limitations. All of these real-life challenges can get in the way of executing the perfect campaign. Fortunately we live in a time where most of these constraints can be addressed with creative solutions! Work can be crowd sourced at very low rates and there is a software solution for almost any business problem, at almost any budget. So really, the most important thing is that each constraint is recognized and addressed well before the campaign begins. Solutions exist! We just need to give ourselves enough time to find them.

Tamara taking an early morning stroll outside of Angkor Wat

Aside from the Campaign, everything is sailing along smoothly in Cambodia. My health has improved tremendously and I have made many new friends. Last week Tamara, my co-worker, friend, and fellow Notre Dame MBA, and I woke up early and biked out to Angkor Wat to do a photo shoot. That’s Tamara walking along the ancient stones from the Angkor empire. This week I walked around Siem Reap quite a bit, meditated at the Peace Café, and bought a peace bird necklace made from discarded artillery casings left over from the Khmer Rouge genocide. I also discovered several great restaurants. Anna introduced me to a great French restaurant, Boulangerie, that makes incredible, fresh salads. My new friend Heather took me to Il Forno, which serves pizza I can only compare to dinners I had in Rome. All and all it was a pretty restful and delicious week.

Next week I hope to work a bit more on some of the actual content for the campaign, including Campaign Videos – my favorite medium!

Post MBA Summer in Cambodia

Aloha, from sweet (and often sticky) South East Asia. This summer I am working with the communications team for an NGO headquartered  in Siem Reap, located in the Northwestern region of Cambodia near the famous Angkor Wat Temples (pictured above.) This small organization focuses on improving education in the nearby rural commune of Chanleas Dai.

The government’s Ministry of Education Youth and Sport mandates and regulates curriculum throughout Cambodia, so PEPY finds that it can be be most effective working outside, but in conjunction with, traditional government schools. This is primarily done through community based programs, as well as supplemental education programs. Through these programs PEPY provides Chanleas Dai children with creative learning, computer science, and leadership education.

My job this summer is to develop a digital fundraising strategy to gain new donors through social media, crowdfunding platforms, and PEPY’s website and blog. Through this process PEPY is developing a new logo, new website, changing many of it web platforms, and revamping all of its digital communications. Our goal is to drive a lot of new traffic to PEPY’s website, raise awareness, and overall donations. Ultimately, these donations will contribute to PEPY’s 2012-2013 annual budget and supplement donations raised through grant writing and existing donor relations.

So far I have developed a map of PEPY’s existing digital resources and have begun to isolate the areas where I can make the most improvement. For instance, did you know that the majority of web conversation around Non-Profits happens on Social Media platforms – but primarily Linked In and YouTube?

Next time I’ll write a little more about my personal experiences in Cambodia and Cambodian Education in general. For now, it is enough to say that South East Asia has always been one of my favorite parts of the world. It is one of the friendliest, most hospitable places I have ever been…