These days, almost everything has gone digital—even fundraising. Hosting your fundraising campaign online is beneficial not only for the existing donors in your community, but also for reaching new donors. An online campaign can expand your reach beyond your community, acting as an innovative way to engage supporters from across the country and even the world.
To get started, you’ll need a compelling fundraising campaign idea that aligns with your nonprofit’s goals and meets your unique audience’s interests and motivations. Not sure where to begin? Explore our roundup of the top online fundraising ideas guaranteed to spur donations and help you achieve your fundraising goals:
Host a combination of these campaigns or use them as inspiration to plan a unique online fundraiser at any point of the year. Let’s dive in!
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a fun and engaging way to get your supporters directly involved in the fundraising process. During a peer-to-peer fundraiser, you’ll hand over the fundraising reins to your most loyal supporters, empowering them to create their own fundraising pages. By tapping their personal networks to help meet their fundraising goals, your supporters will effectively introduce you to brand new donors, boosting your donor acquisition rate.
To maximize the success of your online fundraising campaign, the OneCause guide to peer-to-peer fundraising best practices recommends leveraging these best practices:
- Recruit supporters to help: Market your peer-to-peer campaign online using channels like your website, social media, and email to help promote this opportunity and pique your existing supporters’ interest. You can also reach out to well-connected supporters, like board members and major donors, to serve as ambassadors and lend a helping hand in fundraising.
- Provide training and instructions: Consider hosting an online training session to go over peer-to-peer fundraising best practices and how to create a personal fundraising page. You can also consolidate these instructions in a digital guidebook that can be accessed at any time. Make sure you have a point-person to field any supporter questions and walk them through best practices if they need additional advice.
- Pair your campaign with exciting events: Consider hosting your peer-to-peer fundraiser alongside an event to increase engagement, such as a walk-a-thon, an online silent auction, or a livestreamed panel with members of your team who can discuss your cause in detail.
Once your fundraiser concludes, remember to thank all of your peer-to-peer fundraisers who helped make it happen. A handwritten thank-you note or shout-out on social media can go a long way in helping your supporters feel appreciated and eager to champion your cause again in the future.
Matching Gift Campaign
According to 360MatchPro’s guide to corporate philanthropy, a matching gift campaign allows your nonprofit to double the impact of donors’ gifts with the help of corporate support. In a matching gift campaign, corporate donors will match gifts during a certain period of time. For example, if a donor gave $100 to your nonprofit, a corporate sponsor might match this at a 1:1 ratio, resulting in $200 for your nonprofit.
To get started with matching gifts, follow these steps:
- Research companies with similar values and interests: Research local businesses and ask your board members and staff for references of companies who may be interested. Even if they say no to providing a matching gift, they may be a valuable resource to tap into for future fundraisers, such as sponsorship opportunities or silent auction item procurement.
- Create a corporate sponsorship proposal: Create a letter that pitches a partnership, outlines what type of support you’re seeking (such as matching at a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio), and when you hope to host a matching gift campaign. You’ll also need to explain how the gift matching will help bring your nonprofit closer to reaching its goals and how your corporate partner will benefit from this arrangement. For instance, you might promote their company in your marketing materials to help expand their reach in exchange for financial support.
- Follow up and express appreciation: At the end of your matching gift campaign, let your corporate partner know how much you raised and how the funds will be used to further your mission. Expressing gratitude can help you secure their support again in the future.
Make sure to promote your matching gift campaign widely and well in advance so supporters know when it’s happening and how they can get involved.
A text-to-give campaign is one of the easiest ways to raise money online. It enables donors to give donations at any time on their own devices. Supporters simply submit donations right from their phones, making the donation process inherently convenient, simple, and rewarding.
You can use text-to-give donation channels for everyday fundraising, not just during an event. Using it is easy—all your supporters need is a specific keyword and the short- or long-code that they’ll text (which should be provided by your text-to-give solution). This will automatically take mobile donors to your nonprofit’s donation page.
Be sure to find a good software solution that can support virtual transactions and customizations specific to your nonprofit. Specifically, look for a text-to-give solution that offers features like:
- Gamification tools to inspire giving, including a scoreboard
- Automated email receipts
- Flexible payment options
- Donor data collection and automated reports
On top of having the right fundraising technology, you also need to make sure you’re doing everything possible to build up your contact list. Promote your text-to-give campaign widely to encourage all your supporters to opt-in. A multichannel marketing plan can help you put your text-to-give campaign at the forefront of supporters’ minds, so consider generating content related to text-to-give on your social media, website, and email newsletters.
If you’re looking for a campaign that will make a big impact without asking your donors to empty their wallets, a crowdfunding campaign might be right for you. A crowdfunding campaign raises smaller amounts of revenue from a large pool of donors—think $5 per person. If you ask a group of 100 donors to give that much, you will walk away with a hefty donation, and your donors won’t feel fatigued.
Most crowdfunding campaigns happen online, so you’ll need to establish a strong digital presence for your fundraiser. Consider creating a fundraising microsite with the following elements:
- Embedded donation form with a simple donation process and limited prompts
- Your nonprofit’s branding
- Storytelling that explains how the donations will be used, including emotionally compelling visuals
- Social sharing features so supporters can promote your microsite among their personal networks
After your crowdfunding campaign wraps up, be sure to show your appreciation to all of your participating donors and share how the donations will be used. By cultivating relationships with these donors, you can increase the likelihood that they’ll continue to come back and donate to your organization again and again!
As you think through which fundraising idea makes the most sense for your organization, consider your audience and what will excite them the most to give. Then, channel that idea into a well-designed online campaign that will help you spread awareness and bring in more funds.
Before you dive into your new campaign, make sure you’re working with the best fundraising technology so you can run your online campaign seamlessly. An all-in-one fundraising platform will provide your nonprofit with everything you need to succeed, whether you’re hosting an in-person, online, or hybrid campaign. Happy fundraising!