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What are micro campaigns, and why should your food bank use them?

Your food bank likely already has a robust communication plan for the year, with campaigns built around specific donor segments or key seasons well under way.  

But, as food bankers, you’re also well aware that the year comes with both fundraising lulls and last-minute giving needs. 

That’s where micro campaigns come in.  

Micro campaigns don’t necessarily have to be a part of your communication plan, but they’re an important tool to have in your toolbox when a lull in the giving season or an urgent need inevitably comes around.  

In this blog, I’m going to share some answers to a few commonly asked questions I’ve received when talking about micro campaigns with my food bank clients.  

What is a micro campaign?  

A micro campaign is a short, time-bound campaign that lasts no more than a few days to a week. They have much narrower messaging that homes in on a particular program or goal. 

For example, you might ask for donations to replace a walk-in freezer that has suddenly broken, causing tons of food to spoil. 

The best thing about micro campaigns is that they are easy to put together, and, when done effectively, give donors an urgent reason to support your food bank. 

Why should food banks use micro campaigns? 

While more traditional omnichannel campaigns are still critical for all food banks, adding micro campaigns to your annual calendar can help by:  

  • Filling in gaps during slower fundraising seasons 
  • Giving donors a more urgent reason to donate 
  • Breaking up the noise of standard fundraising asks 
  • Introducing opportunities to give to specific programs or initiatives 

What channels are best for micro campaigns?  

Because micro campaigns have such a short time frame, we recommend focusing on digital channels to get your messages to donors. We have seen success running messaging across lightboxes, homepage banners, organic social, email, SMS and even boosted posts. 

You don’t have to create a million assets to run across every digital channel you have a presence on, but the best practice is to spread the campaign across a few key channels to reach as many donors as possible. 

How can I ensure they’re successful?  

For starters, I recommend limiting your food bank to 2-3 micro campaigns per year—they start to lose their effectiveness if you’re asking for something urgent month after month. 

Next, give them a couple of days to perform. While single giving days are great, we’ve seen the best success with micro campaigns that stretch out for several days. This is because the organization has plenty of time for promotion and education while still playing off the urgent ask. 

Finally, don't be afraid to step outside the box when it comes to your messaging. While meal-based asks are always strong, we’ve seen a lot of success with micro campaigns that move away from a meal offer and instead focus on supporting a specific program or need your food bank has.  

Micro campaigns are a great opportunity to get digital-first asks in front of your donors and differentiate the message they’re used to seeing month after month. If you’re struggling to come up with an idea for your first micro campaign, start by talking to team members across your organization—you never know what program or initiative could use a little extra support! 

Click here to see three examples of how food banks are incorporating micro campaigns into their strategies. 

Additional Resources

Jessica Suddleson

As a digital strategist at RKD Group, Jessica provides plans, schedules, budgets and projections for everything that goes into digital fundraising. A curious and strategic thinker with experience in client services, brand planning and integrated campaign development, Jessica is passionate about bringing new ideas to life and helping nonprofit brands tell their stories.

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