Your nonprofit is unique—there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to fundraising for your organization. There’s no end to the different types of fundraisers your nonprofit can run and choosing between them can be difficult sometimes. It’s vital to establish a few things before you start planning or putting together strategies.
First, it’s important to identify your intentions for hosting a fundraiser to help guide you as you select a campaign type. Are you trying to raise money for a specific project your nonprofit is working on? Is this an emergency fundraiser for disaster relief? Then, set your goals for how quickly you want to raise money and how fast you need it. For instance, if you’re organizing an emergency fundraiser and need funds immediately, you might not have the time to put together an auction gala to raise money.
You can also look to your donor base for clues as to what kinds of fundraisers you should be planning. If you’re a large organization with supporters spread across a wide geographical area, you might have more luck with virtual and online fundraising strategies. However, if you’re a smaller nonprofit with many local supporters, you may want to stick with in-person activities.
Deciding what kinds of fundraisers work best for your organization can be a challenge. If you’re not sure what your options are, here are some different types of fundraisers you can choose from.
Direct mail campaigns are a classic fundraising method for nonprofits everywhere, but online fundraising campaigns have become the norm. When you’re simply collecting online donations, you can reach a wide audience and virtually anyone can donate. However, in an oversaturated market, your online fundraising campaign needs to be unique, engaging and targeted to find success. A well-designed online donation form is the key to collecting donations for your organization, and you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for people to find and donate to your organization.
From 5K runs to online talent shows, peer-to-peer fundraising is an engaging and effective way to raise money for your nonprofit’s mission. Peer-to-peer fundraising is one of the best ways to gain exposure for your organization because you’ll be leveraging the power of your supporters’ networks to raise money.
They’ll be fundraising for you, setting up a personal fundraising page, and reaching out to their friends and family across social media networks and through word-of-mouth to raise money for your mission.
This kind of fundraising can be somewhat labor-intensive to plan, and donors may need some guidance to learn how to effectively participate in your fundraiser, but the reach your organization will gain is well worth the effort.
As the fundraising world shifted to a nearly completely online format early on in the pandemic, many nonprofits found that peer-to-peer fundraisers worked well in virtual or in-person environments, giving donors a new level of flexibility in how they choose to show support. The kind of flexibility that comes from peer-to-peer fundraising has granted nonprofit organizations the opportunity to expand their reach beyond their existing donor base and become more innovative with their fundraising ideas.
Email marketing has long been a popular fundraising method for nonprofits due to how cost-effective and efficient it is. Rather than spending time stuffing envelopes, with a single click, you can reach hundreds of potential donors immediately.
That’s not to say that email marketing is a breeze. In a world where everyone is receiving hundreds of emails in their inbox every day, you need a strong, creative email marketing strategy to stand out so your message won’t get buried. However, the great thing about email marketing is that it’s cost-effective compared to other fundraising methods, and it has a strong return on investment, bringing in 40 dollars for every one dollar spent.
Making time to sit down and donate can be difficult with a packed schedule. Between work and family, donating isn’t always at the top of your supporters’ to-do lists. That’s why it’s important to make it as easy as possible for your supporters to donate to your organization with a text fundraising campaign.
While this can be a pricey fundraising option for your nonprofit, don’t count this fundraising option out. When it comes down to it, text fundraising is one of the most convenient ways for your supporters to donate. All they have to do is text a short code to receive a link to your mobile-friendly online donation form, or simply bill their donation to their mobile carrier.
Corporate partnerships and sponsorships
Partnerships and sponsorships are a great way to raise large amounts of money very quickly. Leverage your network and reach out to businesses or certain individuals to see if they would be willing to partner with your nonprofit and provide some extra support.
Partnerships and sponsorships can be difficult to obtain sometimes and there might be a lot of paperwork to fill out and red tape to cut through. However, there are many benefits to obtaining a partnership, including increasing your brand awareness.
Whether you’re looking to host a quick matching gift drive or nurture a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship, a partnership or sponsorship can help you raise very impressive sums of money so you can take on major projects you may not otherwise be able to pursue.
It’s no secret that fundraising can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. Figuring out what combination of fundraising methods work best for your organization to create your ideal fundraising strategy will take time and quite a bit of trial and error. However, once you’ve established a solid fundraising model, planning your fundraising campaigns will feel second nature.
A crowdfunding campaign works like a ripple effect. First, you’ll create an online donation page explaining your cause and what gifts will be used for. Then, you’ll encourage your supporters to share the page with their networks, spreading awareness and garnering more donations. Those secondhand viewers will then share the page with their networks, and so on. With the right promotion from your supporters, you can dramatically increase your reach and convert viewers into contributors.
Here are some best practices to keep in mind when organizing your crowdfunding campaign:
- Keep your ask amounts low. While it can be tempting to ask for as much as the donor can give, crowdfunding campaigns thrive off of a large amount of small donations. In fact, the average donation to a crowdfunding campaign is only $66, compared to a $120 average gift to other campaigns. Reminding prospective donors that any amount counts eliminates the barrier to participation that many fundraisers struggle with.
- Use crowdfunding campaign software. There are many digital platforms available that specialize in crowdfunding campaigns. Research the options available and pick the one that’s in your price range, aligns with your needs, and allows you to process donations online. This will help you create a streamlined donation procedure for your supporters.
- Leverage the blurb section to tell a story. Most crowdfunding sites allow you to describe your campaign and make a call to action for your supporters. Tell a compelling story in this blurb that helps your audience connect with you and the people impacted by your initiatives. Remember to stress the urgency of your cause by using strong action verbs and avoiding jargon.
This versatile fundraising idea works well as both a standalone campaign and as a way to supplement a larger fundraiser. With some hard work and passion, crowdfunding can empower your supporters to expand your community and change your cause for good.
Need more guidance on your fundraising journey? Check out these resources to help you plan your next fundraising campaign.
About the Author:
Tiara is a writer by trade and a passionate supporter of nonprofits by nature. When she’s not typing away at her keyboard for hours, you can find her dancing (if you can call it that) at concerts, drinking copious amounts of English Breakfast Tea, and daydreaming about traveling the world.