With so many different nonprofit organizations, fundraising can take many shapes and forms. Sometimes it takes the form of fundraising products; sometimes it’s a fundraising event; or perhaps, it’s simply a fundraising campaign.
No matter how your organization chooses to fundraise, you may be overlooking some of the best ideas and strategies that can help you raise more – and, further engage your supporters.
In this post, we cover our top six fundraising ideas for all the shapes that fundraising may take.
Let’s take a look at the breakdown:
- Turn classic product fundraisers into crowdfunding giants
- Increase excitement with flash email campaigns
- Simplify your online donation forms
- Diversify your social media strategy
- Capitalize on corporate giving
- Create high-quality content for fundraising events
These ideas aren’t just about raising more money; they’re designed to help you build donor loyalty, so your supporters keep coming back to your organization.
Classic fundraising products are classics for a reason; they’re effective, universally appealing, and they sell. Think T-shirts, snacks, and sweets, or brick fundraisers. Each of these products is well-known in the fundraising world. Don’t reinvent the wheel, as they say.
Peer-to-peer fundraising allows supporters to sell products directly to their networks of friends and family. Peer-to-peer fundraising lets supporters make natural appeals to potential donors who already know and trust them.
Likewise, team fundraising generally occurs when your nonprofit uses a custom product platform.
Let’s take a look at an example:
If your nonprofit is hosting a walkathon or fun run, you can encourage individual fundraisers to band together into teams. Each team can then create a T-shirt fundraiser, for example. They can design a custom T-shirt that represents their team, sell the shirts to their supportive networks, and then wear them during the event.
For comprehensive information on using team fundraising at events like walkathons, you can check out this Booster resource.
Now, let’s take a look at some strategies to facilitate peer-to-peer and team fundraising:
- Set individual goals. If each fundraising team or individual supporter has a fundraising goal, then they’ll know exactly how much money they need to raise. Goals aren’t just motivation; they provide context so supporters know how much they’re expected to invest in your cause.
- Provide toolkits to your supporters. Since supporters will be reaching out to their networks via their own communication strategies, it’s important that your cause doesn’t get lost in the mix. Provide your teams with toolkits that contain necessary background information on your fundraising campaign, suggested copy for emails and social media posts, and images and videos your supporters can share with their appeals.
- Gamify fundraising. One of the best assets of peer-to-peer fundraising is the opportunity to create competition between your supporters. You can turn fundraising into a game by creating leaderboards that show your top fundraising teams, or by providing badges when supporters reach certain milestones.
The bottom line: You can update classic product fundraisers to give them a wider audience and appeal by integrating them with peer-to-peer and team fundraising.
A flash email campaign is an effective means of creating urgency and excitement during your fundraising campaign. Here’s the gist of this idea: Your nonprofit sends a series of emails in a short period of time.
A flash email campaign keeps your nonprofit’s fundraiser at the front of your supporters’ minds. It also emphasizes the urgency of your campaign, and can result in a flood of last-minute donations, as supporters strive to achieve your fundraising goal. That’s why flash campaigns usually take place toward the end of your fundraising campaign, up to the last day.
You may send several emails over the course of a few days; your intervals will vary depending on the scope of your nonprofit, your campaign, and your donors’ communication preferences. In each and every email, it’s important that you personalize your campaign for your donors.
“Personalization drives response. In head-to-head tests, personalized emails consistently outperform non-personalized communications,” according to this other Abila resource.
In addition to personalization, you’ll want to:
- Clearly state discrepancies. What’s your goal? How much have you raised? How many funds do you need now?
- Be direct. What does your supporter need to do to make up the discrepancy between the goal and the current amount of funds you have?
- Link your supporters to your donation form. Provide a big, clear button that your supporters can click to make a donation.
Each email should build on the one before it, showing how you’re progressing toward your goal. You should thank donors for their support, while still acknowledging what needs to be done. For example: “With your generous support, we’ve reached the $8,000 mark. We still need $2,000 to bring computers to Highland Middle School.”
Of course, you can also take a more soft-spoken approach to a flash campaign, depending on your fundraising campaign. A planned giving email campaign, for example, would likely need more careful and considered language.
The bottom line: Flash email campaigns allow you to build urgency for your campaign and fill in any fundraising gaps near the end of your campaign.
One of the most basic components of fundraising is the online donation form. After all, your donors will have to go through the donation process before your nonprofit can receive their funds. That’s why it’s vital that your donation forms are simple, intuitive, and convenient, as advised by the Lexington Humane Society.
A confusing or long donation form can deter donors from giving. For your fundraising campaign to raise the most money possible, your donation forms need to encourage donations.
To optimize your donation forms, you can follow these strategies:
- Keep the form to one page. Only require necessary information so donors aren’t clicking through multiple pages. The shorter the process, the more likely donors will be to complete it.
- Brand your form. Donors should be able to instantly recognize the donation form as a part of your nonprofit’s website. Otherwise, they may be concerned about giving their financial information to an unfamiliar form.
- Optimize forms for mobile devices. Giving should be incorporated into your donors’ lives. A convenient, mobile-accessible donation page allows donors to give on their own schedules, through their preferred channels.
The bottom line: Donation forms are integral to the fundraising process, and they’re the final appeal to your donors before they decide to submit their donation. Optimizing these forms to create the best possible giving experience can ensure your donors follow through with the process and come back for more.
Your nonprofit is likely using social media mainstays, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If not, you can learn about the latest updates here to get started. Social media is a tool for both advertising your fundraising campaign and connecting with your supporters and donors. Since each social media platform is different, you’ll need to take a unique approach to each to reach your donors in the most meaningful ways.
Here are some tips for using social media to your advantage:
- Implement donation forms into your nonprofit’s Facebook page. Facebook offers a feature where nonprofits can integrate a “Donate Now” button onto their pages, which takes donors to the nonprofit’s donation form. In your posts, you can direct supporters to this convenient giving option.
- Tweet power words. Since Twitter limits your text to 140 characters, every word matters. Use Twitter to spread calls to action, or to provide attention-grabbing snippets about your campaign (for example, “Why does Lindsay walk 10 miles every day?”) that direct supporters to your fundraising page and cause (“Lindsay walks to get clean water for her family”).
- Post diverse content. Varying your posts between platforms is important, but so is varying your content on the same platform. Videos, infographics, and pictures are just the tip of the fundraising iceberg. You can use all of these tools to reach your donors in different ways.
The bottom line: Social media is an opportunity to communicate with your donors and spread unique content. Use each platform’s advantages to create the most organic and eye-catching appeals for your fundraising campaign.
One of the best ways to maximize your fundraising is by knowing how corporate giving can help your campaign. Corporate gifts can increase your fundraising revenue, support your general fundraising efforts with in-kind donations, and help you leverage your donors’ business affiliations. But first, your donors have to know about the corporate giving opportunities available to them.
During your fundraising campaign, you’ll want to promote:
- Matching gifts. When an employee gives to your organization, their company may opt to double the employee’s donation. Some companies may even triple the donation!
- Fundraising matches. In peer-to-peer fundraising, companies may opt to match the amount of money an individual fundraiser or team has raised.
- In-kind donations. Companies can donate products, venues, or grand prizes that can boost your fundraising campaign.
These types of corporate giving are highly relevant to fundraising, but if your donors aren’t informed about these possibilities, then they won’t seek them out. Corporate giving can motivate supporters to give more. After all, if they realize the impact of their donation can be doubled, even tripled in some cases, then they may be more willing to increase their own donations to create the greatest possible impact.
Furthermore, corporate giving can allow you to better understand your donors. As you research corporate giving opportunities in your area and present them to your donors, you’ll inevitably learn more about their business affiliations.
By gaining insight into these business affiliations, you can personalize your fundraising strategy to your donors. After all, you may be able to leverage supporters with strong business connections.
A local business, for example, could donate a venue for your next fundraising event; a loyal donor could be the “in” you need to ask! And, at the same time, you’ll gain more insight into your donor’s working life.
For information on the top matching gifts companies your organization should be aware of, you can take a look at this 360MatchPro guide.
The bottom line: Corporate giving is a resource that can further engage your supporters and increase your donations. Knowing what kind of businesses your supporters are connected to can help you diversify your fundraising assets.
Fundraising events are the perfect opportunity to engage with your donors face-to-face and bring in additional fundraising revenue. When it comes to planning fundraising events, your event committee is probably focused on creating an amazing event experience that will retain donors. Part of that event experience will be how your organization chooses to bring giving into the spotlight.
Creating high-quality content that will wow your donors not only fosters a special event experience they’ll never forget; it also allows you to put giving at the forefront of everyone’s mind. What kind of content can you create to engage your donors during events?
Let’s take a look at some examples:
- Videos. Showing a video on a projector or screen is one of the best ways to draw your donors into your mission. An emotionally compelling video that shows the recipients of your nonprofit’s aid telling their stories can move donors to give at your event and beyond. You can premiere a high-quality video at the event, and then post it online later. Your attendees will likely be eager to share!
- Pamphlets or booklets. A short, physical pamphlet that showcases your nonprofit’s mission is a great giveaway item donors can take home to remember your organization. Like the video, this content should focus on the recipients of your nonprofit’s aid, and how supporters can help.
- Speeches. A well-delivered, relatively short speech can allow a person with a connection to your nonprofit to express how meaningful giving has been to them. This unique kind of event experience can orient your attendees toward giving. Prime prospects for your speech can be major donors, long-time volunteers, or, better yet, recipients of your aid.
The bottom line: Content isn’t just for your communications; you can use content during your fundraising events to create a unique experience your donors remember, motivating them to stay engaged and give.
Have you overlooked these top fundraising ideas? Give them a try to boost your fundraising campaigns, or learn more ideas by clicking here.
About the Author
Kerri Moore is the Director of Marketing at Booster, Created by CustomInk. She and her team help create content aimed at maximizing organizers’ fundraising potential and furthering their mission to raise awareness for the cause or passion that means the most to them.