Shoe Drive Fundraising: A Mini Guide for Schools and Clubs

Improve your fundraising plan with these 6 tips.

6 Simple Fundraising Plan Tips [With Free Templates!]

Your nonprofit’s fundraising plan is the backbone of your success as an organization.

Without a solid fundraising plan in place, there would be nothing to guide your fundraising efforts and no way to tell if your nonprofit is on track to meet your goals.

Before implementing any change in fundraising strategy, you need to have an official fundraising plan in place. To get you started, here are 6 simple tips to consider:

  1. Gain fundraising plan input from key stakeholders.
  2. Develop goals (and challenges)!
  3. Set a fundraising plan timeline.
  4. Determine your fundraising methods.
  5. Build corporate partnerships into your fundraising plan.
  6. Tailor your case for support.

Bonus! Once your fundraising plan is in place, you should periodically assess your strategy. Check out Double the Donation’s ultimate fundraising strategy assessment to stay ahead of the curve!

Ready to get started on your fundraising plan? Let us break these tips down into a bit more detail.

You can improve your fundraising plan by gaining input from key stakeholders.

1. Gain fundraising plan input from key stakeholders.

Stakeholders are an important part of your nonprofit’s team. Not only do they help fund your organization’s philanthropy, but they typically have final say over big-picture fundraising decisions.

Since a fundraising plan outlines a nonprofit’s key activities, it is important to get support from these board members and other key stakeholders.

There are a couple of ways you can gain input from your stakeholders:

  • Experiential input. You can ask stakeholders directly about what fundraising strategies have worked well for your nonprofit in the past. Inquire about past fundraising activities, strengths and weaknesses. Take their feedback into consideration and be sure to demonstrate to them how you address their input.
  • Consultant interviews. You might find it helpful to bring in a fundraising consultant. They can conduct stakeholder interviews to determine what is most important to your board and how to get everyone on the same page when designing your fundraising plan.

Remember: Your nonprofit’s board members are just as passionate about your organization’s mission as you are. Do not think of their approval as a bureaucratic hurdle to overcome, but rather an important step towards improving your fundraising plan.

You can improve your fundraising plan by developing goals and challenges.

2. Develop goals (and challenges)!

When designing your fundraising plan, your final product should reflect your nonprofit’s primary goals above all else.

It is easy to fall into the trap of vaguely fundraising without an endpoint in sight, but to stay on track your nonprofit needs to actively work toward a defined set of central goals.

Before designing your fundraising plan, your nonprofit needs to sit down and agree upon what goals to prioritize across all levels of your organization. Your goals should be:

  • Specific, actionable, and measurable. Do not just decide to increase fundraising revenue, or plan to retain more donors. Set numeric benchmarks and timelines, and decide how you will tackle these goals.
  • Evaluated against metrics. You cannot accurately assess your progress towards achieving a goal without having metrics in place to track your success. Diligently monitor consistent metrics so you can see how well you are improving and when you need to make changes to your fundraising plan.

(Bonus tip! Be sure to collect valuable data when carrying out your fundraising plan to help evaluate these metrics and shape your future fundraising plans. Check out Fundly’s guide to nonprofit CRMs for an idea of how your nonprofit can maximize the power of your donor database to improve your fundraising strategy.)

Additionally, one way to help your nonprofit stay on track is to identify upfront what potential challenges or obstacles you will face in the process of achieving your goals.

Some obstacles you might encounter could be:

  • Seasonal fundraising dry spells
  • Low donor retention
  • Failure to obtain major gifts
  • Poor fundraising event attendance
  • Inadequate online engagement

For example, an animal shelter that wants to increase donor retention by X% over the summer months might identify the challenge of supporters being less engaged during this season since they may be traveling or caring for children on summer vacation. To reach their goal, they’ll need to recognize this challenge and develop strategies to overcome it.

Remember: Use your nonprofit’s history to guide you in identifying roadblocks and deciding on goals. Every nonprofit has its unique strengths and weaknesses and when designing a fundraising plan, it is important to know going in what is reasonable to expect from your organization.

You can improve your fundraising plan by setting a fundraising plan timeline.

3. Set a fundraising plan timeline.

Staying on top of your goals also means staying on top of your fundraising plan’s timeline.

Fundraising plans typically plot out a 3-5 year timeline for your nonprofit, with the first year being very detailed and the following years becoming less defined.

Your fundraising plan’s timeline should be developed into an annual fundraising calendar that details the year’s worth of activities for your organization.

Set a fundraising plan timeline.

When developing your timeline, keep a few things in mind:

  • Milestones. Structure your timeline around a set of core milestones. These will both guide your progress and help you regularly assess your fundraising strategy.
  • Accountability. Your timeline (and subsequently, your fundraising calendar) should clearly identify what departments are responsible for individual fundraising activities. This will help keep the different arms of your nonprofit on track and help your departments prioritize tasks throughout the year.
  • Accessibility. Your timeline and calendar should be easily accessible to all members of your team, regardless of their department or role. Every team member should be aware of what other departments are up to; this way, they will have a better sense of the big picture of your organization and how your core fundraising goals are being achieved.

Not sure where to start when designing your fundraising plan timeline? Consider enlisting the help of a fundraising consulting firm. If you need a recommendation, DonorSearch has got you covered with their list of the top 11 fundraising consulting firms in the field!

Remember: During the design process, your fundraising timeline should be as specific as possible and you should hold yourself to the timeline as much as you can. However, if you find you are not progressing as quickly as you had planned, identify the roadblock and always give yourself room to edit the timeline if necessary.

You can improve your fundraising plan by determining your fundraising methods.

4. Determine your fundraising methods.

A common thread among these tips has been specificity and when plotting out your fundraising plan, it is doubly important to specifically determine your fundraising methods.

It is not sufficient to simply say you will raise $XXX by such-and-such date. You need to plan out how you will raise that money and from whom you will solicit donations.

Fundraising is not a one size fits all process, and you should curate your fundraising methods with your prospects in mind. For example, consider these fundraising methods and how they serve prospects:

  • Online donation pages. If your donors cannot all come to you, meet them where they are. Online donation is simply convenient; for nonprofits interested in prospects in varying geographical locations, utilizing optimized online donation tools is a must.
  • P2P fundraising. For nonprofits seeking to grow their network of donors, P2P fundraising is a great way to engage constituents online and leverage the power of their social network to help your organization reach a broader audience.
  • Text-to-give. Mobile giving is a fundraising style that has been growing in popularity over the last several years. Like online donation pages, text-to-give fundraising makes it convenient for donors to give. Additionally, because donors are not tied to a desktop, they may consider donating more frequently.
  • Fundraising events. A strategic fundraising event help you engage donors and bring in major donations, too! Just make sure you plan out your fundraiser well in advance so you have plenty of time to consider important elements, such as the type of event, when and where to host it, and what technology you’ll need to pull it off.

Remember: You should consult your nonprofit’s existing data when determining which prospects to pursue and which fundraising methods best serve your prospect pool. Consider past data and metrics when determining fundraising methods, as well as what has worked for other nonprofits of a similar donor makeup and mission as yours.

You can improve your fundraising plan by building corporate partnerships into your fundraising plan.

5. Build corporate partnerships into your fundraising plan.

Corporate partnerships can be important sources of revenue and support for nonprofits.

When designing your fundraising plan, develop a strategy that will help you achieve corporate partnership so that you do not bypass such a valuable asset.

If you already are partnered with a corporation, consider these ways to leverage that relationship during the fundraising plan design process:

  • Event sponsorship. Your corporate partner could agree to sponsor a fundraising event for your nonprofit. With their name and notoriety attached, prospects may be more inclined to participate in your fundraiser.
  • Challenge grants. Your corporate partner might be amenable to offering your nonprofit a challenge grant. With a challenge grant, your organization and your partner agree upon a specific fundraising goal. If the goal is met, they might match the amount of funding raised or commit to donating an agreed-upon sum.
  • Matching gifts. One of the simplest ways to incorporate corporate philanthropy into your fundraising strategy is to seek out a matching gift tool. In a matching gifts program, a corporation agrees to match the donations of their employees either to a certain percentage of the donation or to a consistent maximum value. With a tool like this one offered by Double the Donation, donors can quickly determine whether their donation might be matched by their employer.

Take a look at DTD’s matching gift tool in action! The donor simply types the name of their company into the tool, and then DTD searches their database to see if they are matching gift-eligible.

Partnering with a corporation for a matching gifts program is an effective way to boost fundraising efforts.

Remember: Every nonprofit has unique needs and that extends to any relationship you have with corporate sponsors. You do not have to go after a partnership with a multi-million dollar company if that does not suit the scope of your organization. Partnering with small local businesses can get the job done, especially for regionally-focused nonprofits.

You can improve your fundraising plan by tailoring your case for support.

6. Tailor your case for support.

Your case for support underpins the success of your nonprofit, but it is often taken for granted when designing fundraising strategy.

Organizations and hospitals often create cases for support when they launch a capital campaign. These documents outline every detail of the campaign from how the funds will be used to the ways supporters can contribute.

Moreover, the case for support acts as an effective promotional tool to help educate potential donors on the importance of your cause. The content in your case for support can easily be posted on your website or published in a brochure.

While they’re common practice for capital campaigns, organizations should create a case for support as a part of any fundraising strategy.

Donors will not give to your organization unless you have a compelling case for support, so you need to take the time to thoughtfully develop your case.

Your case for support should answer these important questions:

  • What is our mission?
  • Why should donors give to this cause?
  • Why should they give to our organization in particular?
  • How much should donors give?
  • What specifically will our nonprofit do to achieve our mission?

At all levels of engagement, your nonprofit should actively communicate with donors the ways that your fundraising strategy addresses your case for support. The more compelling your case, the more likely it is that donors will give to your organization.

Remember: Your case for support should govern your fundraising strategy. Just as you should choose fundraising methods that target your prospects, you should similarly design your fundraising plan with your case for support as a foundation.

Your fundraising plan is the single most important tool in your arsenal when enacting a new fundraising strategy. Get closer to achieving your nonprofit’s fundraising goals by designing a detailed fundraising plan today!

Additional Resources

  • Conduct a Fundraising Feasibility Study: 6 Steps to Success. Capital campaigns can help your nonprofit reach larger goals as part of an effective fundraising plan. But first, you need to conduct a capital campaign feasibility study before your campaign can begin. With our step-by-step guide, your feasibility study is sure to give you the information you need to succeed!
  • Top 5 GoFundMe Alternatives. After developing a fundraising plan, your nonprofit may decide to pursue crowdfunding as a way to meet your fundraising goals. You might initially consider GoFundMe as a crowdfunding host, but don’t make your choice so quickly. There are many other crowdfunding sites just like GoFundMe (but better)! Check out our guide for some awesome alternatives.
  • 14 Charity Auction Tools. Similarly, your nonprofit might choose to hold a charity auction as a fundraising event. Not only are auctions great ways to raise funding, but they’re also useful events to strengthen your donor relations. Be sure to consult our guide to the 14 best charity auction tools that are perfect for nonprofits of any size!
Comparing crowdfunding websites can help you narrow down your options and choose the best platform for your needs.

Comparing Crowdfunding Websites: 4 Sites Rated and Reviewed

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!


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.

Bonus: One convenient way to give online is via text-to-donate software. Visit MobileCause to learn more about giving on the go with text-to-donate tools!

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 software 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!

Unique Fundraising Ideas

The Cookbook Fundraiser: A Recipe for Success

At Double the Donation we specialize in providing matching gift tools to help nonprofits raise more money from corporate philanthropy programs. Our friends at Causera published this great post on Bake Sale Fundraisers [June 2015 update – Link to original article no longer working] that we wanted to share.

The Cookbook Fundraiser: A Recipe for Success

A creative, fun, and potentially high grossing fundraiser is the cookbook fundraiser. Popular among schools, churches, and nonprofits, this fundraiser is both challenging and rewarding. With the cookbook fundraiser it is important to begin the process with a vision of the finished product. Establish a dedicated team of volunteers and a detailed timeline of due dates, and your cookbook will come along more quickly and efficiently, and ultimately leads to greater returns for your cause. It is duly important to set clear and firm goals for your organization. Hold frequent meetings with your team and ask questions about your objectives.

Question Time

How long of a cookbook do you want to create? How many recipes will you include?

  • Longer cookbooks will cost more to print, but they allow for more recipes. The greater number of recipes that your book contains allows for a more premium product, a larger number of built-in buyers, and a bigger network to sell to.

How will you go about sourcing these recipes?

  • Do you have enough contributors for the cookbook? Who will provide the recipes? For schools and churches, parents and parishioners are a great resource for recipes. If your book is short on recipes, take to the internet or branch out to the greater community for more input.

How many cookbooks can you sell?

  • If you and your team are doubtful about the number of cookbooks that can be sold, then this fundraiser may not be as effective for your cause. Try asking parents, and around your school or church, to gauge interest in purchasing the cookbook.

How much money do you need to raise and is this congruent with how many cookbooks that you can sell?

  • Setting the fundraising goal is crucial. The money you make is directly dependent on how many willing buyers you have.

What resources will you use to create the cookbook?

  • Is this going to be an at home project with one person collecting recipes, creating the book, and printing and binding the pages alone?
  • Will you use an online software to create a professional book? With professional books, you often have to pay in advance to have the books printed. This means that your organization will have to pay upfront costs and the leftover books are a loss.

Who will be the editor?

  • Will one person run the entire project or are multiple people spearheading the work? Figure out what works best for your group and delegate jobs! Having multiple volunteers proofread is a great way to catch errors and typos before going to print.

These are all important questions that you should ask yourself and your team before beginning the groundwork on the cookbook. Detailed answers can save your group time, valuable resources, and may help you determine if the cookbook fundraiser is the most effective way to raise money for your cause.

Tips for Success

After working out the logistics of the project, its time to begin. A great way to spark interest and get recipes is through marketing. Personally asking for volunteers to contribute recipes, taking to social media and advertising that the cookbook is in need of contributions, setting up a website, making phone calls, and sending text messages and emails are all great ways to drum up interest in the fundraiser and receive recipes.

Set up a simple recipe card, both in print and online, with clear instructions – spaces for a unique title, ingredients needed, cooking instructions and times, pictures etc. –  for contributors to fill out. A recipe card takes the guesswork out of the project and creates a standard for the recipes. Every recipe will have the same format, which makes proofreading and organizing easier for the editor(s).

If your cookbook receives too many submissions, that’s no problem! An easy fundraiser can be created out of a seemingly difficult problem. By setting up a “Recipe Cook Off,” where contributors cook their dishes and votes are taken on which recipes get featured in the book. At the cook off you will be able to market the cookbook, raise funds, and finalize the submissions.

Once all of the pieces are collected for the cookbook, it is time to assemble the final version of the book. Having different of types of foods and a solid distribution of appetizers, main dishes, desserts, etc. are important. As well, a central theme, cover, binding, dividers, colored ink, title page, appreciation page, pictures, table of context and index are all important things to include in your book.

After organizing the final copy, find an effective way to print the cookbook that keeps costs low. Will your editors print the books at a local copy shop, or will they use an online service to create a more professional looking book?

The pricing and terms for each online service varies. It is important to note that you may have to pay upfront costs to print the books. Although costly, these interactive cookbook services will help you make a quality finished product with the aide and ease of technology.


Just as there are numerous ways to create your book, there are an equal amount of ways to sell it. Pre-selling the book is a great way to get a more accurate count on how many books you will actually sell and it can help pay away the upfront costs associated with some of the professional services. You can hold pre sales throughout the process of creating your cookbook and even at the “Recipe Cook Off.” Moreover, reaching out to local businesses to buy advertisements in the book is an excellent way to drive down the upfront cost of the book so that all sales that follow are purely profit.

Using your initial team of volunteers as a sales force is an effective way of utilizing your existing help to turn all of your hard work into dollars. Friends, family members, and the greater community will love buying a book that holds the recipes of their friends and loved ones.

Using social media, technology, and the community to your advantage is an important tool when selling the book. Websites that allow you to sell the book online, getting local newspapers and radio stations to promote it, and announcing over social media that “The cookbooks have arrived!” can make the difference between a few and hundreds of books sold.

Your Finished Cookbook and a Successful Fundraiser

Creating a fundraising cookbook is a process that may take a significant amount of time, effort, patience, and resources from those involved. Although the initial work is tedious, the finished project is one that can be enjoyed far past the sale of the book and the spent proceeds.

If you surround yourself with a loyal and hardworking team, arm yourself with a detailed timeline, and source the best means to print and sell your book you will have finished your cookbook and a successful fundraiser.

Unique Fundraising Ideas

Bake Sale Fundraisers: A New Take on an Old Classic

At Double the Donation we specialize in providing matching gift tools to help nonprofits raise more money from corporate philanthropy programs. Our friends at Causera published this great post on Bake Sale Fundraisers [June 2015 update – Link to original article no longer working] that we wanted to share.

Bake Sale Fundraisers: A New Take on an Old Classic

Almost every man, woman, and child has had some sort of experience with a bake sale. There are a lot of things about modern bake sales that are perennial, while new takes on this old favorite can make your goods appealing to even more people.

New Takes On Old Favorites

Traditional chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies and crisp-rice-and-marshmallow treats are always good sellers. But you can make even more customers happy if you get creative. Sugar-free and gluten-free selections are more popular than ever, and you can substitute apple sauce for the butter in many recipes to save on fat. You can even use egg substitute to lower cholesterol. More people are eating healthier these days, so healthy selections will widen your customer base. It’s also a good idea to specifically label all recipes and items that contain, or that may contain, nuts or other ingredients that may cause allergic reactions in some people.

What To Sell, How Much To Charge

There are a lot of websites out there offering bake sale recipe ideas. A good rule of thumb is to figure out how much all the ingredients cost to make the baked goods, and then charge double. You will find this is still a bargain. It’s a good idea to keep things in increments of 25 cents to make making change easier. Make sure to make a sign-up list to keep track of what everyone is bringing to the bake sale, so you can avoid lop-sided offerings like all cookies and no cake. You can also ask area stores to donate raw ingredients for the event, and make sure you thank them by posting their names at your sales table and sending thank-you letters. Take sample goodies to area newspapers and radio stations with a news release and flyer about your event to help get the word out.

8 Tips For Great Bake Sales

1. Identify Yourself – Post a large sign or banner identifying your organization and what you will use the funds for. This kind of fundraiser is a great way to fund new supporters, so make sure you have take-away information on your organization – at least a card with your name, mission, phone and email – so you can send your info home with anyone who seems interested in volunteering or supporting your cause.

2. Make A Menu Poster – Create a poster or use a remarkable board to list your menu items and prices. This helps promote the goodies to passers-by and saves on time individually pricing each item.

3. Include Recipes With The Goodies – Make a cute recipe card and attach it to each item, so people can re-create your bakes masterpiece at home. This reinforces your charity’s name and contact information and also adds value for your customers.

4. Offer Samples – Set out a plate of small samples of your goods. Sometimes all it takes is a taste of one of your delicious treats and you’ve turned a lookie-loo into a customer.

5. Sell Sides – Offer drinks like milk and coffee, hot chocolate or cider or consider selling salty snacks like peanuts or chips along with traditional baked goods to add to the income.

6. Put Out A Donation Jar – Add a loose-change donation jar to your table. You might be surprised how many people will donate their change, or just make a donation without buying anything, when they see that ubiquitous donation jar. Make sure it’s clear so people can see their donations in action.

7. Sell Raffle Tickets – Sell raffle tickets and give away prizes of your fanciest baked goods, or other items donated by supporters and area businesses. Make sure to post simple drawing rules and drawing times (if winner must be present) or get contact information so you can get the prizes to your winners.

8. Sell A Recipe Book – Make up a simple recipe book, or a collection of all the recipe cards from your items tied together with ribbon, and sell these as an added fundraiser. Remember to shamelessly promote your organization in this publication, and to thank the buyers for their donation to your cause.

Unique Fundraising Ideas

Penny Wars & Change Wars: The Short-and-Sweet Guide

At Double the Donation we specialize in providing matching gift tools to help nonprofits raise more money from corporate philanthropy programs. Our friends at Causera published this great post on Change Wars [June 2015 update – Link to original article no longer working] that we wanted to share.

Fun Fundraising: Change Wars

Fundraising can be stressful, and let’s face it who wants to put effort into a fundraiser that returns little revenue and requires exorbitant amounts of time. A proven fundraiser that schools and organizations alike have used successfully is the Change Drive.

There are countless variations for this type of fundraisers, but here is the perfect Change Drive Fundraiser to bring your school, church group, sports team, or nonprofit extra dollars without the time burden. Moreover, a change war is fun! This fundraiser draws upon the competitive nature of its participants driving up the revenue for your cause!

Change Wars Fundraising Ideas

Executing a Change War

As with any fundraiser, you should first brainstorm to see if this is the best fundraiser for your cause. If you cannot execute the fundraiser properly to extract the maximum amount of donations, the fundraiser may not be worth your valuable time. Fortunately, the change war is an easy fundraiser that both beginner fundraisers and seasoned veterans can accomplish with relatively little effort. After brainstorming, you should meet with your team of volunteers and plan out the full details of the fundraiser!

  1. Set a time frame: Your change war can run as long or a short as you want it to! Make it a quick competition of 5 days or a month. You can even set your change war to run the course of a season. For schools, try running the change war for the fall until Holiday Break or from the beginning of school until Halloween. For church groups, try matching the fundraiser with your liturgical calendar like the lenten season.
  2. Set a goal: For your Change War you must set a goal. The goal will encourage competition and it will promote donations as you inch closer to the set amount. Moreover, everyone “wins” when the goal is broken!
  3. Create clear and concise rules: Make sure that everyone understands your rules and that they are easy to follow.

Here are sample rules we have set up here for a sample school Change War:

  1. The time frame of this Change War will be one calendar month and the winning class will get a party or special privilege for winning.
  2. Each class will have decorate a water jug for the fundraiser with their class name on it, this jug will be located in the library and will hold the donations.
  3. For the first two weeks of the Change War, classes should donate as much money as they can into their class jug. These donations can be any type of coins – pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, etc. – and dollars.
    1. Every day, or every few days, an adult will collect the jugs and count the money inside. The money should be placed in an envelope or larger collection bin with designations for each class so the money does not get misplaced.
    2. At the end of each week, announce the total amounts and which class is in the lead.
    3. Below the jugs in the library, a poster will be created to show students the running totals of which class is in the lead – it should be updated weekly following the announcement.
  4. Donating: For the last two weeks of the Change War, the competition will switch to a reverse generosity competition. Classes want as little money in their jugs as possible and should put all donations into other the jugs of other classes.
    1. The amounts totalled in each classes jug will be “deducted” from their total amount raised. Note that the money is still going towards the overall cause!
    2. The reverse generosity encourages more friendly competition and classes will fully immerse themselves in the fundraiser.
    3. The same procedure that follows step C applies to step D.
  5. Count the total amount of change and dollars collected for the entire month and wrap the coins, or have a bank count it for you, and send or deposit the check for cause!

Raise Money with a Change War

Tips for Greater Success

As noted in a previous post, storytelling is an important tool to solicit donations. Tell a story and make it the central theme for this Change War.

  • Why are you raising the money?
  • What will the money be used for?
  • Why should students and parents donate?

If you can answer these questions and create a compelling argument, the donations will follow and you will have a successful fundraiser.

This is a fun fundraiser so keep it that way! Encourage the friendly competition between classes and remind them that they are donating to a great cause. Be sure to keep the price of the prize low so the great majority of the proceeds go towards the initial intent of the fundraiser.

Ask parents if their companies have corporate matching programs as these could double the proceeds raised by your organization!

Add a Twist to your Change Wars

Add a Twist

Here is a great way to get parents involved and take your Change War to the next level. However, this will take extra effort and technology. If your organization is able to accept online donations, this fundraiser has the potential to raise far more money.

Online donations allow parents to participate beyond giving their children change and dollars. Parents will be able to join in on the fun and the competition that their children experience while partaking in the fundraiser. With the ability to process credit and debit cards the potential for donations is endless.

Penny Wars Recap


The Change War is a simple and effective fundraiser to engage your organization and get the donation dollars flowing in. Brainstorm your fundraiser in full detail before beginning. Additionally, you should meet frequently with your core team of volunteers to make sure that everything is progressing as detailed in the brainstorming plans. Do not forget to set clear rules for the competition. If you are following our plan, the reverse generosity may confuse some participants so explain that thoroughly.

For greater success, implement the tools of storytelling and corporate matching and for a fundraising surprise integrate online services to greater engage parents. At the end of your Change War, you will have made fond memories, completed a fun fundraiser, and hopefully reached your goal in donations!