3 Things You Didn't Know About Volunteer Grants

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Volunteer Grants

Did you know that one volunteer hour equates to about $23 for your organization? Of course, this may vary by state or location, but volunteer hours have a significant impact on the nonprofits they serve.

Did you also know that those volunteer hours can have a large financial benefit to your organization if they come from corporate volunteers?

Corporations can give donations based on the number of hours their organization contributes. Think about how this could impact your cause!

It’s no surprise that corporate grants and donations elevate your mission. Developing relationships and partnerships with corporations can have unlimited benefits for your cause. However, there are a few things that you may not know about corporate giving.

Corporate Giving is on the Rise

Corporations donated $18.45 billion for an increase of 3.9% in 2015. The revolution of corporate responsibility is steadily growing. Clearly, corporations want to make a difference in their communities.

Millennials want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, too. The Millennial Impact Report states that millennials want to work for a corporation that is making a difference in their community and the world.

By 2020, millennials will make up about 50% of the workforce. By incorporating philanthropy into corporate culture, businesses become more attractive to this generation.

Corporations must make philanthropy a priority in order to stay competitive in today’s market, which will only increase the popularity of volunteer grants and programs.

It is also important that your nonprofit stays at the forefront of this trend. Making sure your supporters are aware of these opportunities could be extremely beneficial for the growth of your organization.

In order to continue the growth of corporate giving and volunteer grants your nonprofit needs to have an open stream of communication with your supporters.

Here are a few ways your nonprofit can spread the word about volunteer grants:

  • Communicate all benefits of volunteer grants to supporters. By communicating the benefits of corporate grant programs, you can rest assured that your volunteers are aware of the opportunities. This will encourage them to reach out to their employers to see if they can participate in one as well.
  • Be available for questions. Your volunteers are bound to have questions. You need to clearly communicate contact information on your website and via social media. If volunteers cannot get their questions answered, they will likely go somewhere else to volunteer.
  • Reach out to local businesses and corporations for partnership opportunities. You won’t know if a business would be interested in a partnership if you don’t reach out to them. You never know what relationships will come from being persistent!
  • Promote volunteer grants on social media, emails, newsletters, and marketing efforts. Educating your supporters about grant programs will also encourage them to reach out to their employers. They want to help your organization in any way they can, and this is the perfect opportunity to do so!
  • Celebrate your current corporate sponsors and volunteers. Showing appreciation for your current volunteers and corporate sponsors will encourage them to continue to give to your organization. Everyone likes to feel appreciated.

2015 Was America’s Most Generous Year Yet

When there is an increase in charitable donations, it is a direct reflection of the state of the economy. More donations equate to better economic conditions. If the state of the economy is doing well, then corporations are likely to be doing well too.

In order to capitalize on the opportunities created by a strong economy, you must make your nonprofit visible to your community.

When corporate volunteers are aware of your brand, they’re more likely to come to your organization when they’re ready to donate their time.

Here are a few ways to make your nonprofit stand out to corporations and encourage volunteer grant programs:

  • Cultivate brand ambassadors. By having your current volunteers promote your cause, you will attract more volunteers and corporate supporters. The more people you have talking about your mission and wearing your logo, the greater buzz your organization will create.
  • Strengthen your leadership team. Encouraging strong leadership within your organization can also encourage more corporate grants and volunteers. Corporations want to be involved and support an organization that has structure. There are many ways to show your supporters how strong your leadership team is.
  • Engage supporters. Engaging supporters is key to cultivating corporate volunteers. You can do this via social media, emails, newsletters, and your overall marketing efforts.
  • Encourage corporate volunteers. By building relationships with your corporate volunteers, they will be inspired to continue to volunteer for your organization. The stronger relationships you build, the more loyalty and trust you will develop.
  • Research team volunteer grants. Group volunteer grants provide an opportunity for your nonprofit to reach out to corporations that have known grant programs. Corporations want to be involved in the community, and this is the perfect way for your nonprofit to create that partnership.

Corporate Giving Consists of 5% of Total Charitable Donations

What does this mean for the nonprofit community? There is a lot of room for growth with volunteer grants!

5% is a small amount in comparison to the amount individuals donate, so now is a great time for your nonprofit and the community to reach out to corporations and build partnerships.

Research companies that provide volunteer programs and grants. You can start by reviewing the top matching gift companies. These companies will give you a great starting point. Consider reaching out to begin building relationships with them.

Your organization can also promote the value to corporate responsibility. The more corporations are open to giving to nonprofits, the more social good nonprofits can do. Corporations have a lot of power and financial resources that can be extremely beneficial to your nonprofit.

In order for your nonprofit to grow and be sustainable, you need resources. Spreading the word about social responsibility will benefit everyone in the long run. These partnerships can truly make a difference in every community.

Communicating the impact social responsibility and volunteer grants can have on nonprofits can contribute to the social good movement.

Make it a priority for your nonprofit to market and communicate the benefits of corporate grants. This will help continue the growth of corporate donations and grants. Don’t miss out on this opportunity!


Ashley Chorpenning is VolunteerHub’s Marketing Communications Specialist.

Measuring your company's social impact

How to Measure Your Company’s Social Impact

Which statement has more impact?

“We donated $300 to a charity who feeds the hungry.”
“We fed a single mother’s family of four children for a week.”

Data and numbers have more meaning when they tell a story. But with hundreds or thousands of employees at your company, it becomes infinitely more difficult to pinpoint the overall social impact.

This post will provide strategies on how to measure your company’s impact with these tips:

  • The Importance of Measuring and Sharing Impact
  • Starting Simple to Determine Your Impact Area of Focus
  • Calculating Your Impact
  • Communicating Your Social Impact

It’s important to understand that you don’t need to change the world overnight.

You can begin by simply looking at one program or activity. Understanding what occurs and then tracking and analyzing that data can lead to a better understanding of how your company is positively impacting the world.

Learn how you can measure social impact.

The Importance of Measuring and Sharing Impact

Hopefully you agree that tangible results have more meaning than raw numbers, as in the example above.

But I’ll also explain three other reasons why measuring and sharing your social impact is important:

  • Impact demonstrates that a company is living up to its values and drives a more positive company image.
  • Impact increases employee engagement.
  • Impact can highlight a company’s contribution to greater civic engagement programs such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and IMPACT 2030.

Many companies have values but don’t always show with concrete results how they are living up to this mission.

Providing impact results can back up the social responsibility value claims your company makes. This has the added advantage of boosting public perceptions of a company.

Managers go to great lengths to motivate employees, reduce turnover, and increase employees general work ethic and morale. Yet it’s proven that employees engage more with an employer who practices social responsibility.

79% of people prefer to work for a socially conscious company.

Communicating or publishing impact successes can do wonders to boost employee morale which has major impacts on the bottom line.

Sharing impact also illustrates the company’s collaboration with and contribution to larger movements. One organizational effort in particular, IMPACT 2030, which I’ll discuss in a later section, is a great way to get involved in the larger sustainable community.

Most company goals already align with the SDGs — it’s just a matter of discovering yours. It also offers an opportunity to connect with customers or vendors who also share the same goals.

Measuring social impact for nonprofits is about starting slow.

Starting Simple to Determine Your Impact Area of Focus

Before calculating your impact, it’s important to define or determine the social mission. Consider both your company’s and your employees’ social goals to define one specific impact area to focus on at a time.

What does your company already say it cares about? Is community engagement, making a difference in local communities or caring for others or the planet part of your company’s values or culture? Does your company focus on a specific cause or have a history of rallying around one event or non-profit organization?

You could also consider which nonprofits or organizations you already support. Perhaps you could choose your impact measurement based on which non-profit received the most funds from your company. It could be as simple as that.

While the company mission is the guiding rudder, the culture of the employees are the oars that keep the boat rowing.

Where are they donating their money, time, and resources? Use the causes of your employees to appeal to what matters to the people who define your company and culture.

By looking at both your company’s mission and the culture, you’ll find one area of focus to help you calculate and share your impact.

Learn how your organization should measure social impact.

Calculating Your Impact

Next comes the numbers. This section will explain best practices for measuring company effort, as well as give examples for how to determine what kind of real world impact results from the company’s CSR efforts.

Check on a nonprofit organization’s website or reach out to them directly to find out how they calculate dollars into tangible impact.

Nonprofits give estimates to help you total up these numbers. For example, Smile Train estimates they create one “new smile,” or cleft palate surgery, for every $X donated. This makes calculations simple.

But what about other organizations who might focus on more abstract or less measurable goals, like medical research?

This become more difficult to measure. We always recommend reaching out to an organization to develop relationships and work together to determine impact numbers in this case.

If you work with a select charity aligned with a broader company goal, then get those charities engaged to help you measure the specific impact of volunteering or dollars on your combined goals – for example, number of students mentored, increase in test score year over year for same group, or amount of water cleaned.

Your CSR provider should have tools to better track and report on your company’s impact numbers. Here are some additional tips on using CSR software to your advantage: 

  • Consider adding a question to the admin panel that gathers impact data for all volunteer events.
  • Consider adding a post event survey to gather additional quantitative data, like number of students mentored, read to, or tutored.

A part of social impact is communicating with your donors.

Communicating Your Social Impact

By being creative in the way you communicate your company’s impact, you can receive the benefits outlined above. You should communicate this both internally and externally.

Here are some ideas:

Internally:

  • Include digital signage on your CSR platform.
  • Create a voting campaign to recognize and maybe even reward employees or teams contributing the most to a specific goal. The reward can be a corporate donation or cause card.
  • Include the numbers, stories, and recognition in executive all-hands meetings or communications.

Externally:

  • Generate an engaging end-of-year report (Dell does a great job of this).
  • Create a social impact page on your website.
  • Write a press release/blog.
  • Create branding or stories for conferences, sales meetings, and on the wall at the office.

Conclusion

None of this is possible if you aren’t tracking the efforts of your company and its employees and if you haven’t first considered the impact the activities or dollars create.

Whatever your company size, it’s critical to measure the good that you do.

So whether you’re tracking giving, volunteering, and grants in an excel spreadsheet, or using a powerful CSR software platform, the point remains. Having a CSR tool that makes sense for your company size is critical.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to:

  • Prove you’re acting on your sustainable values.
  • Build employee morale with engagement.
  • Contribute to larger social forces.

For inspiration, check out Double the Donation’s list of 10 Companies Doing Corporate Philanthropy Right.



Blaine McGaffiganBlaine McGaffigan is a Content Marketing Specialist who brings over 5 years of digital marketing experience to YourCause. He strives for creativity in all projects, and believes a unique and sincere voice is critical for engagement. In his free time, you can find him kayaking the river, taking photographs, and reading comics.

Simply put, YourCause, LLC is a technology company connecting corporations and their employees with the causes they care most about. Our SaaS-based CSRconnect Platform is a fully hosted and managed solution used to engage employees in volunteering, giving, and sustainability initiatives, along with helping grants administrators manage corporate and foundation philanthropic programs. We currently support over 4.2 million employees in 160+ countries at more than 140 Fortune 1000 companies. Since inception, we’ve processed nearly $1.5B to charities and tracked over 23M volunteer hours – that’s 2,625 years! The companies partnering with us are joining the YourCause Global Good Network, representing some of the most committed corporate citizens and dedicated nonprofits around the world.

How to Use Crowdfunding to Engage the “Middle” Segment of Donors

America's Charities 2017 Snapshot survey is the first ever look into corporate giving trends from the donors themselves.

Do Matching Gifts Inspire Employee Giving?

Are employees more motivated to donate to nonprofits if their employer is willing to match their gift?

Thousands of companies across the United States offer this incentive to employees through “matching gift programs.” In fact, two-thirds of employers surveyed in America’s Charities’ 2015 Snapshot Report indicate they match employee payroll contributions. That’s a 62% increase since 2006. Yet, $6-$10 billion of corporate matching gift money goes unclaimed each year.

Why the gap? That is one thing America’s Charities is trying to figure out with the Snapshot 2017 survey – and that’s where you come in!

America’s Charities’ Snapshot Series reports on trends, attitudes and perceptions in employee workplace giving. Having explored these trends from the perspective of employers (Snapshot 2015 and Snapshot 2013) and nonprofits (Snapshot 2014), Snapshot 2017 will offer a first-ever look at trends in employee giving from the perspective of donors. Our researchers are surveying employee donors to learn about what they value, how they make decisions about giving, and how giving through the workplace impacts their overall charitable endeavors.

America's Charities 2017 Snapshot survey is the first ever look into corporate giving trends from the donors themselves.

Consisting of just 10 multiple choice questions, here’s how you can participate in the Snapshot 2017 survey:

Donors:

This is your chance to share your giving preferences and what role you expect employers to play in supporting your ability to give time, talent, and/or money to nonprofits and causes inside and outside the workplace. Click the following link to take the survey now http://impact.ac/2ljOkdy. Your feedback will be used to help employers and nonprofits shape the future of workplace giving, volunteering, and other corporate philanthropic initiatives. Responses will be confidential and anonymous and shared later this year in America’s Charities’ Snapshot 2017 report.

Employers:

This survey is an opportunity to gain a better understanding of what your employees value and expect through employee giving, matching gifts, volunteering and other corporate giving initiatives. You can share this link with your employees http://impact.ac/2ljOkdy or, upon your request, we will give you a unique survey URL to distribute to your employees, so you’ll have your organization’s full dataset to benchmark against the larger field’s response, which will be available this fall.

Nonprofits:

This survey can be used as a listening tool to help you gain a better understanding of what your donors value about giving and volunteering programs. You can share this link with your donors http://impact.ac/2ljOkdy or, upon your request, we will give you a unique survey URL to distribute to your donors, so you’ll have your organization’s full dataset to benchmark against the larger field’s response, which will be available this fall. For your convenience, we’ve created a promotional toolkit to assist with your donor communications, complete with content for social media, donor emails and your website.

Interested in a unique survey URL or have a question about the survey?

Please email Lindsay Nichols, America’s Charities VP, Marketing and Communications, at lnichols@charities.org. She can provide your with a unique survey link and answer your Snapshot 2017 survey questions.

Boost Membership Engagement in 7 Steps

Boost Membership Engagement in 7 Steps

If you want to grow and maintain your membership program, you’ll likely spend a large chunk of your time planning and executing some sort of membership engagement plan.

Unfortunately, because “membership engagement” is such a broad concept, it’s tough to get your strategy right on the first try (or even after many tries!).

Lucky for you, we’ve made tackling the membership engagement issue a little less tricky. Here, we’ll provide you with 7 simple steps for increasing your organization’s membership engagement.

Here’s a preview of the subjects we’ll cover:

  1. Define membership engagement.
  2. Understand your members.
  3. Communicate consistently.
  4. Establish online engagement spaces.
  5. Prioritize community-building.
  6. Streamline the member renewal experience.
  7. Track your membership engagement efforts.

Pretty soon, you’ll be a master of membership engagement (and you’ll have the member retention rates to show for it)!

Still in the planning phase of your new membership organization? Read our guide to starting a nonprofit membership program first!

Define Membership Engagement

1. Define membership engagement.

Before you can begin engaging your members in an effective way, you’ll need to figure out exactly what you hope to accomplish.

Membership engagement can take many forms, and if your team isn’t all on the same page with your expectations, you’ll find it much harder to accomplish anything.

So, take a few minutes to review your current engagement level and determine a few tangible goals for the future. Perhaps you want to:

  • Increase attendance at membership events.
  • Boost volunteer involvement.
  • Encourage more participation in online communities.

Your engagement marker might be totally different than another organization’s, and that’s okay! Be sure that your goals reflect the needs and interests of your members and your organization, and you’ll be able to reach new heights sooner than you think.

Start your member stewardship strategy on the right foot with membership software that offers robust member profiles. The more your organization or association knows about its members, the more targeted your stewardship strategies can be!

Understand Your Members

2. Understand your members.

How can you cater to your members’ personalities if you’re not well acquainted with them? The short answer: you can’t.

That’s why it’s extremely important for you to get to know your members on a personal level. If you don’t, your engagement strategies run the risk of being generic and unappealing to your constituents.

It might seem like a daunting task to get to know each one of your many members on a one-on-one basis, but fortunately, your organization likely already has a tool on hand to make it much easier.

That tool? Your membership management software, of course!

With powerful membership management software (also known as association management software), you’ll be able to manage member data more effectively and leverage it to its full potential.

Not only will software help you stay organized, but it’s the only way you can get a full picture of your members’ participation and giving history in one centralized location.

With a knowledge of members’ interests, preferences, past involvement, and giving habits, you’ll be able to plan engagement opportunities that actually make sense for them—without any of the hassle of manual data management! 

Bonus: Still searching for the right association management software for your organization? Check out our list of the best tools before you start shopping around!

Communicate Consistently

3. Communicate consistently.

Your members joined your organization or association because they’re personally invested in your efforts.

As your most devoted supporters, they deserve to be kept in the loop on your organization’s projects and your community’s trends and hot topics. 

To that end, you should be regularly communicating with your members in any (or all!) of the following ways:

  • Email newsletters.
  • Participation acknowledgements.
  • In-person forums and events.
  • Social media updates.
  • Personal outreach.

By staying active in your members’ lives through regular communication efforts, you’ll remind them of their interest in your organization and encourage them to participate themselves.  

As important as it is for your organization to get the word out about important updates, it’s equally important that your members have a place to communicate, too!

Make sure your members know that your team is always accessible should they want to voice concerns, ask questions, or provide feedback. You can also send out surveys asking for targeted feedback on a regular basis, or host events dedicated to member-leadership interaction.

Establish Online Engagement Spaces

4. Establish online engagement spaces.

If you want to connect with your donors in real-time, it’s essential that you meet them where they already are. One of the easiest ways to do that is by taking advantage of the many different forms of digital communication.

There are two main online spaces you’ll want to focus on when maximizing membership engagement:

  1. Your organization’s website.
  2. Social media pages.

Let’s talk through each one individually.

Website

Often, your software will be able to generate custom member-specific webpages and constituent portals to incorporate with your organization’s website.

Not only do you want your website to be informative for any and all visitors, but you also want it to provide an engaging experience designed specifically for your members.

When building (or editing) your site, make sure you’ve got all the following bases covered:

  • A user-friendly member portal.
  • Well-branded design that reflects your organization.
  • Online giving capabilities.
  • Member self-management tools (e.g., member profiles, renewal options, event sign-up).
  • A prominently displayed application page.

Most importantly, make sure your website is a source of all your organization’s most important information, from upcoming event details to relevant news in your community.

Bonus: Your membership site should be the hub of your organization, so don’t forget to use it to drive recruitment, too. Optimize your online application form for minimum donor abandonment with our guide to crafting the perfect donor application form.

Social Media

Almost every organization has a Facebook or Twitter account set up these days, but simply using social media is very different than actually using it well.

The first step to engaging members on social media is finding out which sites appeal to them (and which just don’t catch their attention).

Consider your organization’s demographic. Is your roster full of suit-and-tie professionals? You might thrive by setting up an organizational LinkedIn page. Is your group teeming with crafty moms and DIY fanatics? You might find your home on a Pinterest board.

If you’re still lost, turn to your member management software. Since some platforms have social matching features, you might be able to scour your database to find out which social media networks your members are actively using.

Once you’ve found your ideal environment, keep the following in mind:

  • Know the limitations of your platform. What works for Twitter just won’t transfer to Facebook, so understand the constraints of each site before you start posting.
  • Keep it visual. On almost every social media channel, visual elements are absolutely key. Keep your posts eye-catching by adding photos, videos, and graphics wherever you can.
  • Diversify! While your main audience might love Instagram, you might be able to cater to another group through Google Plus. Find out your members’ preferences and try to meet them in as many places as you can.

Effective social media engagement is more challenging than you might think, but the payoff is definitely worth the effort!

Prioritize Community-Building

5. Prioritize community-building.

Membership programs are unique in that they can create a thriving community based around shared goals, interests, and values.

Think about it: when an individual chooses to donate to or volunteer for a nonprofit, they might meet like-minded individuals at community service events or fundraisers, but more often than not, their involvement is a solo activity.

But when they sign up for the nonprofit’s membership program, they’re immediately met with a collective of others with similar passions!

Make sure your members are aware of the vibrant community within your membership program, and do your part to foster community-building whenever you can. 

Design online and in-person opportunities that facilitate member-to-member engagement, from starting a discussion in an online forum to hosting a member mixer filled with interactive activities for your guests. Get creative with it!

When your members are engaged with one another, they’ll be more connected to your organization overall (and they’ll be much more likely to participate in member activities when they know they have friendly faces to join them!). 

Optimize the Member Renewal Experience

6. Streamline the renewal experience.

So far, we’ve been discussing how to keep your members engaged throughout their membership. However, there is another aspect of membership engagement that we can’t ignore: the member renewal process!

No matter how involved your members are, if they don’t sign up for another year, you’ve got some membership engagement problems to address. 

To make sure your members are excited to come back to your organization year after year, you should ensure that the renewal process is as simple and straightforward as possible. Consider implementing one (or more) of the following strategies:

  • Automated renewal. Some software providers allow you to set up automated renewal reminders or even provide members with the option of recurring membership fee payments. Never let a member lapse due to forgetfulness again!
  • Optimize your application process. Whether they’re applying for the first time or renewing for another year, your members should have no issue completing their application form. Optimize their experience by creating a form that’s user-friendly and easily accessible.
  • Encourage additional giving. Give your members options for adding extra donations on top of their membership dues by using your membership management software’s built-in donation tools (or integrating with another online giving tool). Plus, give them the option to upgrade their membership level during the renewal process.

Bonus: Need some guidance before you send your next round of member renewal letters? Take a look at Fundly’s handy guide!

Track Your Membership Engagement Efforts

7. Track your membership engagement efforts.

As you implement different member engagement strategies within your organization, some efforts will inevitably see better results than others.

To make sure you’re moving forward (and that mistakes don’t repeat themselves), you’ll need to be able to track and analyze your engagement in a meaningful way. 

Thankfully, membership management software can make such a task much more doable. In fact, depending on your platform, you may be able to:

  • Create custom reports. Find and assess the data you need by building your own reports using any information in your database. Then, easily share them with your team or constituents as needed.
  • Quickly view fiscal data. Don’t waste time wondering which members have paid their dues; instead, get a comprehensive view of your fiscal situation in as little as one click.
  • Evaluate event success. Assess event registration and attendance, view payment records, and compare overall success between multiple events to see which are worth revisiting next year.

When you use powerful membership management software to handle all your reporting needs, you’ll be able to easily gain insight into your engagement success and use that knowledge to prepare for the future.


Needless to say, developing a successful membership engagement strategy is a major undertaking for any organization. But with these tips in mind, you’ll be able to confidently navigate all of your future membership engagement endeavors!

For more ways to engage supporters through your membership program, take a look at these additional resources:

 

Fundraising has changed significantly thanks to modern technologies like mobile bidding, auction software, and online fundraising campaigns.

Fundraising Then and Now

Over the years, fundraising has improved dramatically by embracing technology improvements in every aspect of the fundraising process.

More and more nonprofits and individual fundraisers are taking advantage of the amazing tools and strategies now available to them, but there is still much room to grow.

In order to highlight the improvements that have been made over the years and to provide some helpful hints on how to incorporate new technology into your next fundraising effort, we’ve put together a comparison of fundraising of the past to fundraising now.

For this post, we’ll focus specifically on:

  1. General Fundraising Campaigns
  2. Silent Auctions and Raffles

Fundraising Then: General Fundraising Campaigns

In the past, fundraising campaigns supporting a nonprofit or annual fund focused heavily on direct mail, email, phone solicitation, and in-person asks. While these methods are still effective, they have inherent flaws that limit the potential of a fundraising campaign.

In general, we find that these outreach methods are significantly limited by their cost, reliance on resources, and the reach they can achieve:

  • High Cost. Methods like direct mail can quickly become expensive, considering the cost of postage, the physical cost of your mailer, and any design or creative work that goes into the production of a direct mail ask. Phone and in-person solicitation can have even bigger cost implications because they require having a volunteer or staff member making the calls or the direct asks, taking valuable resources that could be focused elsewhere.
  • Resource-Intensive. Traditional fundraising methods are often resource-intensive, meaning many people are needed to make the effort worthwhile. Having one person calling potential donors will never reach its tipping point. Instead, you will most likely need an entire team making calls in order to see donations increase. Again, this can be an effective method of fundraising, but it becomes costly as more and more resources are needed.
  • Limited Reach. One of the biggest flaws of these traditional outreach methods is the reach associated with each. While direct mailers can be sent to a large number of people, it is nothing compared to the large numbers that can be engaged with some of the methods we will discuss later in this post! Additionally, phone and in-person solicitation often will have higher conversion rates than mail, but are extremely limited in reach. As new fundraising technology is being embraced, a major benefit is the substantial increase in reach from the same or fewer resources.

As your cause or nonprofit embarks on its next fundraising campaign, keep in mind that the above methods still have a place in helping support your cause. Our recommendation is to continue using these methods (perhaps to a lesser extent), while beginning to shift your focus to some of the new methods we will discuss below.

Fundraising Now: General Fundraising Campaigns

As we learn from traditional fundraising methods and begin incorporating new technology into our fundraising campaigns, it is important to focus on the trade-off between cost, resources required, and reach generated. As we discussed above, traditional methods are often resource- and cost-intensive, with generally low reach.

Shifting to what fundraising looks like now, you’ll find multiple tools available that allow for exponential increase in reach with minimal costs and resources needed.

What does this mean for your fundraising campaign? A larger potential donor audience, lower costs, and higher overall proceeds!

Now, we will focus on three of our favorite fundraising tools for fundraising campaigns: online fundraising pages, peer-to-peer Campaigns, and text-to-give.

Online Fundraising Pages

Online fundraising pages have become extremely popular over the years and are used for many (if not most) existing fundraising campaigns.

An online fundraising page acts as a central location for your cause or nonprofit to tell its story and collect donations from supporters. There are a few factors that are crucial to the success of a fundraising page:

  • Be Personal. A personalized story is vital to the success of your campaign. When choosing an online fundraising service, be sure there is functionality to add your own description and story. As you create this story, make it as personal as possible in order to truly connect with your supporters and create a lasting relationship between your organization and your donors.
  • Use Visuals. A visual fundraising page will always perform better! When creating your page, be sure to include any images that are applicable. These could be photos of patients who have been affected by the funds your nonprofit has raised, or fun pictures from a recent volunteer or community event.

Once an online fundraising page is created, the benefits will immediately be visible. To start, these pages are not resource-intensive at all, often requiring only one person to set them up, with very reasonable costs.

Even more importantly, online fundraising pages have an endless reach. Based on the story you tell, your page could easily go viral and reach a significantly higher number of people than that of your traditional fundraising efforts.

As more and more people donate, they are able to share their experience via social media, increasing your campaign’s reach with each donation submitted!

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaigns

Another popular and effective fundraising strategy of late is the peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) fundraising involves leveraging your organization’s supporters in order to expand your mission’s reach, donor base, and proceeds. P2P fundraising is a multi-tiered approach where donors are asked to raise money in addition to donating.

P2P fundraising empowers an organization’s supporters to become its best fundraising advocates, harnessing the collective giving power of a much larger audience in the process. All of this comes as a result of motivating your initial supporters to become fundraising advocates, inspiring their own networks of friends and family.

As you might have gathered, a P2P campaign’s success is increased tenfold when it is used in conjunction with online fundraising technology. There are many peer-to-peer providers that equip fundraisers with online fundraising pages, social tools, and email campaigns to ensure the success of your campaign.

Staying on top of the most up-to-date technology is vital because of how rapidly P2P fundraising is evolving. Did you know that, for example, peer-to-peer lending allows people to receive loans even when they’re burdened with a bad credit score? As P2P models develop, people will become more familiar with P2P fundraising in their everyday lives (like with the aforementioned lending).

As such, they’ll be more comfortable using P2P software and advocating for your nonprofit, too!

Text-to-Give Campaigns

Just like the name sounds, text-to-give campaigns allow your supporters to donate to your cause via text message.

Donors simply text a keyword or phrase to a specified phone number with their desired donation amount, and are then sent a link to complete checkout. The simplicity of these campaigns makes it extremely easy for supporters to donate to your cause without stopping what they are doing. This leads to high participation and support for your cause!

Social Media and Email

All of the tools  we’ve mentioned can be effective in isolation, but their true power can be observed when combined with social media and email campaigns.

Once an online fundraising page or peer-to-peer campaign is live, social media and email promotion will help the program gain instant support and make it easy to seamlessly share the giving experience and story of your cause to the masses. The results will be a much higher reach, a larger donor base, and higher proceeds!

Fundraising Then: Silent Auctions & Raffles

Two more fundraising methods that have seen dramatic improvements over the last few years are the silent auction and raffle. Both of these methods have always been extremely popular and are a fun and engaging way to raise funds, most frequently during a special event.

However, the traditional versions of both silent auctions and raffles are somewhat inefficient and typically create more barriers for your donors to support your cause.

Silent Auctions

We can all agree that silent auctions can be very effective fundraising tools. Unfortunately, their traditional format limits engagement, reach, and funds raised. The main culprit here? Paper bid sheets!

Printed bid sheets create a major barrier for silent auctions, as they not only limit participation to those attending a physical event, but also to those present at the silent auction prize table.

This, of course, negatively impacts your overall reach and participation. Furthermore, because traditional silent auctions are physical in nature, their timing typically only runs during the course of a special event, meaning that your cause/nonprofit is missing out on an extended fundraising time period.

Raffles

Similar to paper bid sheets, raffles traditionally require paper tickets. We all know how annoying it is to fill out multiple tickets and then track the numbers on each while raffle winners are announced. This process is inefficient and limits participation just as traditional silent auctions do.

Additionally, both silent auctions and raffles typically involve long and arduous checkout processes to ensure that donors make their payments and receive the correct prize. A poor checkout experience can alienate donors and limit further support.

Fundraising Now: Silent Auctions & Raffles

Luckily, silent auctions and raffles have been drastically improved through the use of online and mobile technology. Mobile and online silent auctions and raffles utilize online bidding and ticket purchase, text messaging functionality, and credit card processing in order to make donating through a silent auction or raffle seamless.

Some of the major areas that technology has improved for silent auctions and raffles include:

  • Reach. Because silent auctions and raffles can now have their own online page and phone number for online and text message bidding and ticket purchase, your audience is limitless. Just as with online fundraising pages, your silent auctions and raffles can now reach anyone with a phone or internet connection! This means more bidders and higher proceeds.
  • Timing. Similarly, because your mobile silent auction or raffle will not be bound physically, you can open bidding and raffle ticket purchase prior to your physical event. This means you can give your supporters a longer window of time to support your cause and submit bids or buy tickets.
  • Engagement. Modernized mobile silent auctions and raffles have the opportunity to majorly increase donor engagement. No longer will your donors need to hold on to paper tickets or hover around a prize table. Instead, they will receive instant notifications if they have been outbid or won an item, whether they are at your event or not!

Luckily, there are many great charity auction tools available – we recommend finding one that balances functionality with cost in order to allow your program to raise as much as possible.

Conclusion

After reading this post, we hope that you’ve been able to realize the major changes that have taken place in the fundraising space due to the enhancement of technology. We encourage you to explore these new options in order to find the right balance for your next fundraising endeavor!


Thank you to Zach Hagopian for contributing this informative post! Zach is the co-founder and COO of Accelevents, a mobile fundraising platform that powers silent auctions and raffles through online and text-message bidding. An active member in the Boston fundraising scene, Zach focuses on improving traditional fundraising methods and increasing fundraiser proceeds through the use of the Accelevents platform and similar products.

 

Top 6 Capital Campaign Consulting Firms

7 Exceptional Capital Campaign Consulting Firms

Consider these matching gift software vendors to maximize the impact of donations to your nonprofit.

Matching Gift Software Vendors

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Become a Matching Gift Expert! Grab our Free Ultimate Guide to Matching Gifts.

Managing your match gift efforts can be a challenge given the complexity of typical programs. Thankfully there are software solutions from a range of vendors for both nonprofits and corporations.

We’ve compiled a list of the top options.

 


Matching Gift Software Options for Nonprofits

There are two leading matching gift products for nonprofits:

  1. Double the Donation’s Basic and Premium Plans
  2. 360MatchPro

Double the Donation (Designed for small and medium sized nonprofits)

Double the Donation is a matching gift software solution for small-to-medium-sized nonprofits.

Double the Donation provides tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from employee matching gift programs. Within our database of companies that match donations we track programs offered by companies in the US, Canada, and UK, many of which are managed by different corporate vendors.

Nonprofits can either:

  1. Build and host a custom matching gift page on Double the Donation’s website
  2. Embed Double the Donation’s matching gift plugin on their own websites

View demos of Double the Donation’s Basic and Premium options

360MatchPro (Designed for large nonprofits)

360MatchPro is a matching gift software solution designed for large nonprofit organizations.

360MatchPro is the complete end-to-end matching gift solution for large nonprofits and higher education institutions.

360MatchPro helps your nonprofit:

  1. Automate matching gift identification across your fundraising
  2. Drive matches to completion
  3. Get actionable insights

360MatchPro is the next evolution of advanced matching gift tools for nonprofits.

See how 360MatchPro can overhaul your large nonprofit’s matching gift fundraising.


Matching Gift Software Vendors for Corporations:

Is your company considering making the switch to an electronic matching gift system? Here are the leading software vendors which provide everything a company needs to outsource the employee matching gift administration process, volunteer grants, disaster relief, and broader employee giving programs:

Amerigives is matching gift software for corporate giving programs.

AmeriGives

AmeriGives manages matching gift programs for many major corporations including:

Founded over thirty-seven years ago, this company has long been recognized for providing outstanding customer support to both corporations and the nonprofits receiving matching gifts.

Learn more about AmeriGives.

Benevity is another matching gift software option for corporations.

Benevity

Benevity was founded in 2008 in Canada but has since developed a major presence with companies based in the United States as well. A few of Benevity’s clients include:

Learn more about Benevity.

Bright Funds offers a matching gift software solution for nonprofits and individuals.

Bright Funds

Bright Funds is an online charitable giving platform for individuals and companies that makes it easy to donate to highly effective charities working on the issues that matter most to you. Bright Funds uses foundation-level research to develop funds of high-impact nonprofits working in areas like: the environment, education, water, poverty, health, and human rights. Bright Funds donors build a portfolio of charitable “investments” by selecting the cause-based funds and individual nonprofits that reflect their passions.

Bright Funds is built on the model of a mutual fund: when you make a contribution to a fund, you are supporting a diverse group of highly effective nonprofits.

The company provides solutions to corporations interested in making it easy for employees to allocate their philanthropic dollars.

Learn more about Bright Funds.

CauseCast is a newer matching gift software program.

Causecast

Causecast is one of the newer, but most innovative players in the space. Causecast’s Community Impact Platform is designed to automate, and encourage Employee Engagement through corporate giving and volunteering programs.

The CIP platform both enables employees to participate with approved causes, all while giving administrators tools for campaign creation, and detailed custom reporting.

Learn more about Causecast.

Cybergrants has been a matching gift software provider for over 20 years.

Cybergrants

For over 20 years, CyberGrants has been a leader in the online grantmaking space. Over time, the company has recorded many firsts in the grant making space including:

  • Developing the first online application
  • Providing the first online grants administration tools
  • Creating the first online workplace giving and volunteering systems for corporations

Cybergrants merged with the JK Group (owners of the Consiva and Easymatch platforms) and manages employee giving programs for many global companies including:

Learn more about Cybergrants.

FrontStream is a matching gift software solution that works with both small and large nonprofits.

FrontStream

Frontstream, previously TRUiST, provides services including, funds processing and distribution, campaign management, volunteer solutions, corporate gift matching, international campaign expansion, and click and give forms for disaster response.

Some companies FrontStream works with include:

Frontstream works with nonprofits small to large reach their philanthropic goals and continues to grow their nonprofit support system each year.

Learn more about FrontStream.

YourCause is a matching gift software provider for corporations of all sizes.

YourCause

YourCause provides corporations of all sizes with the CSRconnect Employee Engagement Platform. CSRconnect is a customizable community tool that centralizes employee engagement in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programs including:

  • Individual credit card donations
  • Personal fundraising
  • Matching donations
  • Payroll deductions
  • Pledge campaigns
  • Disaster relief
  • Payment distribution

A few of YourCause’s well-known clients include:

Learn more about YourCause.


Matching Gift Services for Nonprofits and Fundraising Software Providers

We encourage you to check out Double the Donation’s employee matching gift service. We offer the following three ways to integrate matching gift information into a nonprofit’s website or fundraising software:

  1. Host nonprofit specific matching gift pages on Double the Donation’s servers
  2. Embed our matching gift database on a nonprofit’s website
  3. Use our matching gift API to integrate our raw matching gift data into a 3rd-party service

Learn more about our service or view additional information on the integration options.

Want to discover more ways to maximize the giving potential of donors? Check out these awesome matching gift and corporate giving resources to get you started:

How to Pick a Fundraising Consultant for Your Annual Fund

Note

Find out the true cost of consulting services. Grab our Fundraising Consultants Costs eBook.

If you’re looking for ways to amp up your annual fund, then you should consider hiring a nonprofit consultant. Fundraising consultants are professional advisers that can offer your nonprofit effective solutions to improve your annual fund.

Since there are so many different nonprofit consulting firms out there, the search may seem like a daunting task. However, with a few strategies, you can find the right adviser for your nonprofit.

Let’s take a look at six strategies you can use to start your search on the right foot.

  1. Set up clear and actionable goals.
  2. Determine what services you need.
  3. Find a firm with annual fund experience.
  4. Work with a consultant that can connect often.
  5. Consider the cost of a consultant.
  6. Narrow down your picks and request proposals.

If you’re looking for more strategies to improve your annual fund, check out this helpful guide.

How to pick a nonprofit consultant for your annual fund - Set up clear and actionable goals

1. Set up clear and actionable goals.

Before you can start searching for the right nonprofit consulting firm, you need to come up with your goals. Your goals can be anything from a timeline of when you want to have a nonprofit consultant hired to what you want to achieve once you hire someone. Create as many goals as you need to create a clear picture of what you want to gain. 

Goals are important because they not only help you see what you’re trying to achieve, but they also help your fundraising consultant figure out the best solution. If you can’t give your adviser a clear idea of what you want, he or she doesn’t know what direction to take.

Setting goals helps you point out the areas in your fundraising you need help with and gives your nonprofit consultant somewhere to start when coming up with solutions.

While improving your annual fund may be your overall goal, it’s not specific enough. If you want assistance that’s tailored to your nonprofit, you’ll need to be as detailed as possible.

To figure out your goals, you should start by determining where you need the most support. Your nonprofit may need help:

  • Honing in on what makes supporters give.
  • Creating a plan for your year-end fundraising.
  • Writing an impactful appeal.
  • Finding unique ways to interact with donors.

The important part is to figure out where you need the most help so that the professional can focus on those areas.

The takeaway: Goals set the groundwork for what you need. They give you more than just a way to measure success. Goals help your nonprofit consultant figure out what direction to take so that you can reach the best possible outcome.

How to pick a nonprofit consultant for your annual fund - Determine what services you need

2. Determine what services you need.

Now that you’ve got your goals, it’s time to assess how a nonprofit consulting firm can help you. By knowing what services you need, you can narrow down your choice to those that only offer what you need. In order to know what services you want, it’s important to know what a fundraising consultant can do.

That way, when you do hire someone, you can both start your project on the same page and with the same expectations.

In general, every firm offers slightly different services. We’ll cover some of the nonprofit consulting services you can expect to see among most firms:

  • Conduct research on your donors’ giving behaviors.
  • Create fundraising strategies.
  • Assist you with hiring nonprofit professionals.
  • Motivate and educate your staff on all things concerning fundraising.

In addition to the services mentioned above, many consulting firms specialize in a particular aspect of fundraising. For instance, digital fundraising consultants can design and develop customized fundraising solutions to meet your nonprofit’s needs.

Let’s say your organization is using Luminate, a fundraising tool created by Blackbaud; you might hire a digital consultant to customize your Luminate system to help track and market matching gifts to boost your annual fund.

Once you have a better idea of what a consultant firm can offer, you can start figuring out which services align best with your needs. You may need just one service or a combination of all that the firm has to offer.

The takeaway: The more you know about what a nonprofit consultant offers, the better idea you’ll have about whether or not you need their services.

How to pick a nonprofit consultant for your annual fund - Find a firm with annual fund experience

3. Find a firm with previous annual fund experience.

While a nonprofit consultant can’t guarantee you success, working with someone that has previous experience planning annual fund strategies gives you a higher chance of having positive results.

We’ll take a look at three things that your fundraising consultant should be knowledgeable in.

A. Matching gift programs.

As you are probably aware, matching gift programs can help you double your donations. Matched giving requires a lot of promotion and education in order to encourage donors to submit a request to their employer.

You want to hire a fundraising consultant that has prior experience working with the various matching gift programs.

If you choose a nonprofit consulting firm that already has knowledge on this subject, they can help you figure out how to best incorporate matching gifts into your appeals. They might even be able to suggest different services that can help make matching gift promotion easier.

B. Online donation software.

Optimizing your online donation forms is key if you want to encourage donors to participate in recurring giving and gift matching. Find a fundraising consultant that can suggest online donation form best practices.

Additionally, you want to find a firm that is familiar with donor abandonment and how to avoid it. The more your consultant knows about donors’ giving behaviors, the better he or she can guide you on how to make your forms better.

C. Unique ideas for communicating with supporters.

You should look for a nonprofit consultant who can offer you a new perspective on how to approach your annual fund.

For instance, if your nonprofit’s past annual fund communications have been largely through direct mail, in-person events, and phone calls, you could consider bringing someone on with a background in online marketing and fundraising to give your next campaign a new edge. The consultant could help coach you through a complete digital strategy from email to social media.

Essentially, you want to find a consultant who can help you both improve upon what you’re already doing and add new skills and approaches to your repertoire.

With new ideas, your consultant can help you discover different, unique ways to communicate with donors and build those long-lasting relationships. Ultimately, lasting relationships with your supporters will help motive them to give regularly.

The takeaway: When you find someone with the right skills and prior knowledge on annual funds, you don’t have to spend time explaining concepts and can start working on solutions right away.

How to pick a nonprofit consultant for your annual fund - Work with a consultant that can connect often

4. Work with a consultant who can connect often.

Communication is key to working successfully with a nonprofit consulting firm. Establishing communication from the beginning means that there will be less confusion later.

Connecting often with a consultant is important because your nonprofit can:

  • Get regular updates on your annual fund plan and strategies.
  • Communicate your concerns promptly so that the consultant can make changes early on.
  • Explain all your needs and what you hope to achieve.

Depending on your nonprofit consulting needs, you may want to choose a local consultant.

Finding a local fundraising consulting firm will help to ensure that you both are familiar with your nonprofit’s donor community and outreach.

This regional bond can help your nonprofit feel more comfortable with a fundraising consultant and spend more time developing in-depth strategies that target your local demographic’s needs and interests.

That being said, finding a firm that’s close by isn’t always feasible. Plus, remote nonprofit consultants present their own strengths that can be extremely beneficial.

Since remote consultants won’t have the luxury of dropping by your office at the drop of a hat, they’re more likely to stay on schedule (and ensure that your nonprofit does, too!). Additionally, remote consultants can bring a fresh perspective and a different frame of reference to the table.

If you’re considering nonprofit consulting firms that are further away, always make a note to ask them how they communicate with their clients. For instance, having the majority of interactions via email might not be the most ideal approach seeing as some messages might get misinterpreted or overlooked.

Instead, make the effort to have more direct communications with non-local firms through regular phone or video chat sessions.

It’s also a good idea to meet with your nonprofit consulting firm in person as often as you can, especially early in the process so that you can clearly explain all your needs and gain a solid understanding of what plan they have in place for your nonprofit.

The takeaway: Connecting regularly with your nonprofit consultant is important because it allows you to know immediately how things are going to be planned. Plus, you can voice your concerns as soon as they arise.

How to pick a nonprofit consultant for your annual fund - Consider the cost of a consultant

5. Consider how much a consultant will cost.

Not every nonprofit consulting firm will cost the same, and there are no set guidelines on how a consultant is paid. Some may charge by the hour or day while others may charge per project. Additionally, you might be charged food, travel, hotel fees, and other expenses. It all depends on the firm that you decided to work with.

As you consider the price of a nonprofit consultant, ask yourself what’s most important. Do you want: 

  • Someone that meshes well with your nonprofit’s culture?
  • A consultant with lots of experience handling similar nonprofits?
  • A firm that can offer creative and unique suggestions for your annual fund strategy?

Once you’ve figured out what is crucial for your nonprofit, you can start to narrow down your options. Perhaps paying a little extra for the skills and characteristics you need won’t seem like such a bad thing in the long run.

The takeaway: The cost of a fundraising consultant is inevitable; make sure that you get the best return on your investment. Consider what services or skills you want from your firm and then compare prices.

How to pick a nonprofit consultant for your annual fund - Narrow down your picks and request a proposal

6. Narrow down your selection and request a proposal.

Before you make your final choice, it’s a good idea to request a proposal or ask your top firms to pitch their suggestions. A proposal will give you a better idea of what each nonprofit consulting firm suggests you do to improve your annual fund. In other words, it will give you a taste of what to expect.

The proposal can be a formal, in-person presentation or a document that firms send to you with their suggestions. Either way, you should request the same type of proposal from all your top picks to be consistent.

When you request your pitches, give the nonprofit consultant some time to really come up with solutions. If you give them too little time, they’re likely going to send you general pitches that aren’t specific to your nonprofit’s needs. Give them at least 3 weeks to submit their solutions.

After every firm turns in their proposal or presents their pitch, take some time to consider every firms’ suggestions. As you take each one into consideration, make sure you ask the following questions:

  • Did the firm offer you solutions specific to your nonprofit’s goals?
  • Were they confident in their solutions?
  • Did they offer any statistics to back up their suggestions?

Of course, you can add to this list with other questions that are important to you.

Now it’s time to make your choice! Use all the information you’ve gained about each firm to help you decide which one is best for you.

The takeaway: Requesting a pitch is one way to get a better understanding of what each nonprofit consultant suggests your nonprofit do to improve your annual fund. Use this step as a way to narrow down your options and pick the best solution.


With these tips, you can start searching for the fundraising consulting firm that best fits your needs. Look for a firm that meshes well with your nonprofit’s culture and has prior experience working with similar organizations.

If you would like to learn more about hiring a fundraising consultant, check out these helpful resources: 

  1. 11 Top Fundraising ConsultantsNow that you’ve got tips to help you hire a fundraising consultant, it’s time to start your search. Check out this list of our top consultants.
  2. Top 10 Fundraising Consulting Firms As you begin looking, you might realize that not every consultant offers the same services. Check out these consulting firms to find one that meets all your organization’s needs.
  3. Nonprofit Fundraising IdeasLooking for more ways to boost your annual fund? Get our full list of fundraising ideas to help you raise even more funds this year!
  4. Nonprofit Tools and Best Practices. In addition to consultant tips, 501 Commons provides resources that every nonprofit organization can take advantage of. Check out what they have to say about choosing a consultant, plus more.
  5. Top Fundraising Consultants in Ohio and IndianaIf you think that hiring a local consultant is the best option for your nonprofit, check out our list of consultants located in the Midwest.
Check out these 11 online fundraising ideas to take your digital campaigns to the next level!

11 Online Fundraising Ideas: Raise Money in the Digital Age!

Note

Don’t forget to grab our Free Guide to the Top Fundraising Ideas.

We all know that online fundraising is quickly taking the nonprofit world by storm. More people than ever are making their charitable contributions via online avenues. That’s why we’ve compiled 11 of the best online fundraising ideas that can help your nonprofit raise more money in the digital age!

Here’s what we’ll be covering:

  1. Crowdfunding
  2. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
  3. Matching Gift Drive
  4. T-Shirt Fundraising
  5. Online Donation Forms
  6. Online Giving Days
  7. Text-to-Give Campaign
  8. Online Auctions
  9. Viral Fundraising Campaign
  10. Online Cashback Websites
  11. Donation for a Vote

Let’s take a look at each of these online fundraising ideas in more detail.

Crowdfunding is an online fundraising idea that uses social sharing to raise money and awareness.

Online Fundraising Idea 1: Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is proving to be one of the most popular ways for nonprofits and individuals alike to raise money for causes, projects, or events that they care about.

For those new to the term, crowdfunding essentially makes use of a nonprofit’s or individual’s existing network of supporters, friends, family members, coworkers, peers, and even acquaintances.

Nonprofits and individuals can set up crowdfunding pages and then share those pages on social media sites and via email.

A typical nonprofit crowdfunding page looks like this:

Fundly's crowdfunding pages make online fundraising quick and simple.

Most crowdfunding platforms allow nonprofits to:

  • Upload images and videos.
  • Write a detailed description.
  • Post updates and comments.
  • Share the campaign across social media sites and email.
  • Set up giving levels or tiers.
  • Send out automatic acknowledgements to donors.
  • Track metrics like number of donors, average donation amount, and total amount raised.

If you want to make the most of your nonprofit’s crowdfunding campaign, follow these best practices:

  1. Interact with your supporters: Your donors want to know how your online fundraising campaign is going! Keep them in the loop by posting updates and responding to their comments on your crowdfunding page.
  2. Post at least 4 photos or videos: Media gives your donors some context and allows them to see exactly what they’re donating to. Make sure that your photos look professional and highlight the people, animals, or communities that your nonprofit serves.
  3. Set up giving levels: Including donation tiers or giving levels on your campaign page allows donors to select the one that they prefer. To create an even bigger impact, you can list out the specific actions that your nonprofit can accomplish with each donation amount.

Main Takeaway: Crowdfunding is one of the best online fundraising ideas for nonprofits. Most crowdfunding platforms enable you to get up and running in just a few minutes, and you can start raising money from your supporters in no time!

Bonus: Start your crowdfunding campaign today!

Peer-to-peer fundraising is an online fundraising idea that uses supporters to fundraise on your behalf.

Online Fundraising Idea 2: Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a type of crowdfunding that many nonprofits pair with fundraising events like walkathons, marathons, and cycling events.

Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns typically follow this structure:

  1. A nonprofit sets a goal, determines a timeline, and plans a peer-to-peer event.
  2. The nonprofit reaches out to loyal supporters and asks them if they want to participate in the fundraiser.
  3. If supporters are willing to participate, they then set up their own online fundraising pages (with the nonprofit’s help). These individual pages link up to the nonprofit’s main peer-to-peer fundraising page.
  4. Individuals reach out to their networks to ask for donations on the nonprofit’s behalf.
  5. Supporters’ friends and family members make donations via the individual’s peer-to-peer fundraising page.
  6. The nonprofit collects the donations, acknowledges and thanks supporters and donors, and hosts the (typically active) event.

Here’s an example of an individual’s peer-to-peer fundraising page:

Create a peer-to-peer page as an online fundraising idea.

This individual peer-to-peer fundraising page is linked to the nonprofit’s primary fundraising page.

This peer-to-peer campaign follows a few best practices that we’re a huge fan of:

  1. They include several images: Both the nonprofit’s main page and the individual’s campaign page have images and videos that allow supporters to see exactly what their donations are going toward.
  2. They describe what the contributions will help accomplish: Each page highlights the need for homes and volunteer time in Austin. Both pages have giving tiers that describe what a donation amount will be able to buy. For example, $300 will buy a stove, while $500 will buy a roof.
  3. Each description is detailed: A good peer-to-peer campaign description is the key to encouraging people to donate to your cause. Without it, people won’t know why you’re raising money! This campaign has listed out the reasons for fundraising and lets people know why building homes in Austin is important.

Main Takeaway: Peer-to-peer fundraising is a type of online fundraising that enables your nonprofit to raise more money and acquire more donors. As your supporters reach out to their networks, your nonprofit can introduce more people to your cause and mission.

Bonus: Check out the top 15 peer-to-peer fundraising platforms for nonprofits!

Organizations can hold matching gift drives to double the impact of their supporters.

Online Fundraising Idea 3: Matching Gift Drive

Take online giving one step further by encouraging your donors to search for the matching gift programs for which they might be eligible. Companies of all sizes will often match (or more than match) their employees’ donations to nonprofit organizations!

There are even useful tools you can embed directly onto your websites or campaign emails. Here’s how the National Audobon Society incorporated a user-friendly search tools directly into their ways to give page:

Check out how the National Audobon Society incorporated matching gifts tools into their site.

For a fundraising campaign, create some buzz by asking a local company or major donor to match donations made on a particular day. Time sensitive drive campaigns work well because they create urgency, a good motivator for supporters. Plus, since each donation goes twice as far, donors will be more likely to participate.

Best of all, and unlike ongoing corporate matching gift programs that apply to eligible employees, matching gift drives don’t have restrictions on who can participate!

The key to a prosperous matching gift drive is promotion. Get the most people to participate by sending emails to your donors on the days leading up to the event. 

Social media is also an effective place to promote your online fundraiser. If your museum is running a matching gift drive, for example, you can publish posts on Facebook and Twitter that tell donors any tickets purchased or contributions made during your drive will be doubled by your sponsor.

Also, let donors know about the many ways they can contribute. Provide your donors convenient ways to give, such as:

  • Donation pages.
  • Text-to-give.
  • Mobile-responsive forms.
  • Crowdfunding pages.

The more fundraising options donors have, the more likely they are to make a donation.

Additionally, if you’re hosting a giving day, but only accept donations through a form on your website, this limits the number of people that can contribute to your cause. 

Always ensure that you have a variety of ways to collect donations before launching your matching gift drive.

Main Takeaway: Knowing that their gifts will double for a limited time is a great motivator for donors. Use that knowledge to your advantage and host a matching gift drive.

Bonus:  For matching gifts year-round, check out another example of how Mercy Corps helps their supporters determine if their employer matches donations on their branded matching gifts page from Double the Donation.

Another online fundraising idea is a t-shirt fundraiser.

Online Fundraising Idea 4: T-Shirt Fundraising

Another effective way for nonprofits to fundraise online is by selling t-shirts. Your nonprofit can deisgn t-shirts as merchandise for your organization and sell them online to your supporters.

T-shirt fundraisers are a fun, engaging way to raise money for your nonprofit because they allow supporters to show their love for your organization while still getting something back in return.

For supporters who many not be able to donate as much as they would like due to financial limitations, t-shirt fundraisers offer them the opportunity to contribute to your cause without breaking the bank.

Your nonprofit can get started by promoting t-shirt sales in conjunction with different fundraising campaigns. For example, you might sell holiday-themed t-shirts during year-end giving to capitalize on the seasonal spirit.

Even further, the t-shirts you sell can double as marketing materials for your nonprofit’s brand. When people see their friends wearing your organization’s shirts, they may get inspired to start contributing to your nonprofit.

T-shirt fundraising is a great way to raise money quickly.

When choosing an online host for your t-shirt fundraising initiative, select one that:

  • Offers plenty of t-shirt customization options.
  • Allows you to upload original designs for your shirts.
  • Gives you the freedom to set your own t-shirt prices.
  • Charges a low-overhead fee so you can keep more of your profits.
  • Gives you the ability to customize your nonprofit’s t-shirt sales page.

As your organization starts selling t-shirts, remember that customization is key! Supporters are more likely to buy your organization’s shirts if they feel the product (and sales process) reflects the brand they have come to know and love.

Bonus: Learn more about selling t-shirts to raise money for your nonprofit with Bonfire!


Organizations should accept donations through online fundraising forms.

Online Fundraising Idea 5: Online Donation Forms

One of the most traditional ways to raise money online is through the tried-and-true online donation form. In many cases, donation forms allow you to brand your page and create special fields to capture specific, related information.

Best of all, online donation forms can be mobile-friendly so even more of your supporters have access. 

Since there are many customization capabilities available, your organization can create a form that is completely unique to your brand.

Here is an example of what your online donation form could look like:

Optimized online donation forms are key to success in digital fundraising.

As you can see, the Water Project does a lot of great things with their donation form:

  • First, the donation form has preset giving buttons, making it easy for the donor to choose a gift amount.
  • Secondly, donors have the option to set recurring gifts.
  • Last, the option to share contributions on Facebook and Twitter is predominantly displayed.

All these features not only help boost your awareness and funds, but they also make the giving process convenient for your donors.

Of course, if your organization wants all of these features (and more!), you’ll have to chose an excellent fundraising software provider.

Look for a vendor that has a responsive technical support team and an easy-to-use interface; you shouldn’t have to be an expert in CSS and HTML to create a professional-looking form. With a simple donation form builder, your organization should be able to drag and drop the elements you want to use and customize them to fit your needs.

If you’re using a fully customizable platform, you’ll be able to create a form that is unique to your organization or recruit a technology consultant who can design a form catered to your needs.

When creating your online donation forms, be considerate of your donors’ time and keep your donations quick and simple.

Main Takeaway: Creating a convenient and beautifully designed donation page starts with finding the right software. Find a provider that offers the features that will make donating quick and easy.

A great fundraising idea for nonprofits is holding an online giving day.

Online Fundraising Idea 6: Online Giving Days

The most common online giving day is #GivingTuesday, a national day of charitable giving started a few years ago by the 92nd Street Y in New York.

While your nonprofit might already participate in #GivingTuesday, that doesn’t mean that you can’t organize your own online giving day for your supporters!

Just so we’re clear, an online giving day is a 24-hour period where a nonprofit tries to raise as much money as possible from its supporters.

An online giving day has to have a lot of digital promotion and advertising to make it effective. Reach out to your supporters:

  • With emails.
  • Over social media.
  • Via text message.
  • On your website.
  • With videos.

These digital outreach methods should contain information about your giving day such as the time, ways to donate, what the funds will go toward, and how supporters can get more involved.

Here’s an example of an animal nonprofit that promotes #GivingTuesday on Twitter:

Of course, Twitter has character limitations, so this tweet had to be short and sweet. Your other digital promotions for your giving day can go a bit more in-depth and include more specific information about your online fundraiser.

Whatever route you take, make sure that you explain what the funds are going toward and provide supporters with a link to your online donation page.

Main Takeaway: An online giving day can be an energetic and fast-paced way to raise money for your cause. Electrify your donor base with lots of digital promotions and encourage them to give as much as they can in just 24 hours!

Bonus: Take a look at these #GivingTuesday promotional resources.

Holding a text-to-give campaign is an excellent online fundraising idea.

Online Fundraising Idea 7: Text-to-Give Campaign

Text-to-give came on the scene as a digital fundraising method in 2010 when millions of dollars were donated to the American Red Cross to support victims of the Haiti earthquake.

Since then, text-to-give (or text-to-tithe for churches) has become a mainstream way to raise money for any organization or cause!

Today, text-to-give tends to work like this:

  1. A donor will text a keyword to a specific number that has been assigned to a nonprofit.
  2. The donor will receive a link as a text message.
  3. The link takes the donors to a mobile-responsive donation page where they can make a contribution.

It’s that easy!

When choosing a text-to-give tool, look for a provider that is PCI-compliant, which means the company follows strict rules to ensure a high level of security.

Ease of use and integration are also vital characteristics to look for in a text-to-give tool. You want the giving process to be quick and simple for donors as well as have a way to export data to your CRM.

Many nonprofits, schools, and churches use text-to-give technology as an online fundraising avenue throughout the year, but it’s also a popular donation method during fundraising events. One of your speakers can make a live appeal and ask people to give with their cellphones (all of your attendees will likely have their phones in their pockets or purses!).

Main Takeaway: Text-to-give is quickly becoming one of the most popular online fundraising ideas. Don’t get left behind by this fundraising trend!

Bonus: Check out the ultimate guide to text-to-give.

Online auctions are a great digital fundraising technique!

Online Fundraising Idea 8: Online Auctions

Online auctions are essentially digital silent auctions that are more cost-effective and are open to all your supporters, increasing fundraising potential even more.

For your digital venue, you can opt to use auction software or an online marketplace like eBay to host your online auction. 

Just like with any charity auction, you’ll need to procure items and experiences that excite your guests and encourage them to place bids.

Look for unique items that your guests won’t be able to find anywhere else. Look at the following suggestions to help you get started:

    • Sports memorabilia.
    • Backstage passes to a concert.
    • Tickets to an exclusive museum exhibit.
    • And so much more!

Generate excitement before your event by creating an auction catalog with images and a description of each item (or experience) and teach registered guests how to place bids to prepare them for the big day. Plus, with dedicated auction software (like OneCause) you can track the progress of your online auctions in real time:

Online charity auctions make it easy to engage your donors and raise funds.

Main Takeaway: Online auctions make it possible for supporters from all over the world to participate and are cost-effective so that you can raise the most money from your event.

Viral media campaigns are a very effective online fundraising idea.

Online Fundraising Idea 9: Viral Fundraising Campaign

You’ve likely heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but you may not know just how successful that particular viral fundraising campaign was.

In just a month and a half, the ALS Association was able to raise $115 million (and tons of awareness!) for ALS research by asking people to pour cold water on their heads.

Another example of a viral fundraising campaign is “Movember.” For this viral campaign, men grow out their facial hair during the month of November and make donations in support of men’s health.

These are just two of the many viral fundraising campaigns that nonprofits have started. Why not start your own?

Keep these tips in mind before trying to launch a viral fundraising campaign. And remember, it might take a few months or even more than a year for your campaign to go truly viral.

  1. Don’t ask for too much. You aren’t going to receive a ton of donations if you ask for $500 every time. Instead, ask people for small contributions like $5, $10, or $20. Once a campaign goes viral, all of those little donations will add up!
  2. Create a memorable hashtag. Hashtags help group your social media posts and make your nonprofit’s message easier to find on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Create a memorable and punchy hashtag. Use it in all of your social media posts and encourage your supporters to use it, as well!
  3. Get to the point. A viral campaign has to be focused and targeted. It’s not the time to explain every single detail of your nonprofit’s mission. Instead, boil down your vision to a few key points and use them interchangeably throughout the duration of your campaign.
  4. Make use of all of your digital channels. Post on Facebook. Tweet out a promotional message. Snap a picture and post it to Instagram. Start a Pinterest board. Send out emails. Use every digital communications channel at your disposal!

Main Takeaway: It might take time to get a viral fundraising campaign off the ground, but if you can do it, your nonprofit’s mission and vision will be made known to supporters across the country and even around the world!

Cashback websites are a great way to boost your online fundraising!

Online Fundraising Idea 10: Online Cashback Websites

Online cashback sites can be used by nonprofits as well as individuals who are looking to raise a little extra money while doing something that nearly everyone loves: shopping online!

Let’s break down how most online cashback websites work:

  1. Someone in your nonprofit needs to buy office supplies or something else online.
  2. The staff member begins their search for office supplies at an online cashback site.
  3. Once the items have been purchased, a percentage of the total amount is deposited into a cashback account.
  4. Your nonprofit can withdraw the cashback amount at regular intervals (typically monthly or quarterly).

Common cashback sites include:

In addition to these sites, Amazon, the largest online shopping marketplace, has created an affiliate program that enables nonprofits to receive a certain percentage of sales that originate on the nonprofit’s website.

With Amazon’s affiliate program, your nonprofit can place banners, images, and links on your website that will direct users to a page on Amazon’s site. If the user makes a purchase, your nonprofit gets a cut of the purchase from Amazon.

While cashback sites aren’t going to help your nonprofit break any fundraising records, they are an easy way to raise more money from online shopping. Signing up for most of these cashback sites is easy, and everyone in your nonprofit can participate!

Main Takeaway: Online cashback sites can supplement your existing fundraising efforts. If your staff does a lot of online shopping, sites like Ebates and Amazon can be an easy way to raise extra funds!

Donors love online voting campaigns!

Online Fundraising Idea 11: Donation for a Vote

The donation for a vote online fundraising idea gets your supporters engaged in a silly challenge in return for their contributions.

Here’s how this fundraiser works:

  1. Create a list of silly challenges that your staff or volunteers are willing to complete.
  2. Create a poll, asking your supporters to vote (with a donation) for the challenge they’d like to see your team complete.
  3. At the end of the poll, record your team completing whatever challenge received the most votes and post it on social media.

The challenges you pick should be interesting and if possible, related to your cause in some way.

In the video, thank your supporters for their contributions, and mention how the funds will be used to further your cause.

Supporters will get a kick out of seeing you do a silly task, and you’ll raise more money for your cause!

Not only will donors like seeing a hilarious video, but they’ll also appreciate that you want their opinion and input. Plus, supporters will encourage their peers to vote so they can see their favorite challenge win. 

Main Takeaway: Donation for a vote is a fun (and potentially viral) way to raise money for your cause. Makes sure to choose your challenges and continue to encourage your supporters to vote.


Once you start bringing in fresh funding, you’ll want to be sure you’re being fiscally responsible and financially accountable.

It’s easy to get lost in the exciting rush of new funds, but you need to be smart about how you handle it. These 7 financial strategies can help you do just that:

  1. Be prepared with better financial reports.
  2. Forget about spreadsheets.
  3. Get everyone involved.
  4. Stay focused with performance analytics.
  5. Strategize about growth.
  6. Use forecasting and budgets to set goals.
  7. Stay on top of report changes.

You can read more about those seven practices here. And as long as you follow them, you’ll be able to reap the rewards of following through on the 11 online fundraising ideas detailed above.

We hope that these 11 online fundraising ideas have inspired you to go out and try some different fundraising techniques.

For more ideas and tips, check out these helpful resources:

  • Beginner’s Guide to Online Fundraising. Need to get back to the basics when it comes to online fundraising? Visit MobileCause for an in-depth beginner’s guide to better understand this important subject.
  • 80+ Fundraising IdeasCouldn’t find what you were looking for with our online fundraising ideas? Check out our full list of ideas. You’re sure to find the perfect fundraiser for your cause!
  • Church Fundraising IdeasIf you’re looking for ways to raise money for churches and other faith-based organizations, we’ve got a list of ideas that will help you reach your goals.
  • School Fundraising IdeasSchools need to find family-friendly ways to raise money and engage their students. Check out this list of top ideas from Fundly to get started!
  • Top Online Donation Tools. If you want to start fundraising online, you’ll need software to accept donations. Use this list of top tools to find online donation software for your organization!