How to Improve Your Supporter Engagement with Text Messaging

Every political and advocacy campaign is looking to get a communications edge. Staying in touch with (and top of mind for) your supporters is key to building a foundation for your campaign. With the prevalence of smartphones in nearly every pocket and purse, text messaging has emerged as a viable and cost effective way to communicate with your voters and advocates.

Your goal, as a campaign, is to build a network of people who are actively engaged with you via text and who look forward to receiving your messages. From building your database with text based sign up, to reaching a wide audience with broadcast texts, to creating personal connections with peer-to-peer texting — text messaging tools add value to supporter engagement efforts in multiple ways.

Here are some ways to use the tools to your benefit:

1. Peer-to-Peer Text Messaging

As a campaign progresses — identifying more supporters, recruiting volunteers, hosting events — it becomes almost impossible to engage individuals in one on one conversations. Peer-to-peer texting is built to address this problem of having personal conversations at scale. Campaigns sign up a team of volunteers who use the P2P platform to engage voters via text messages. It’s the text equivalent of phone banking, but instead of having one conversation at a time, a single volunteer can handle upwards of hundred personal conversations at once. These volunteers identify supporters, gauge voter sentiments, mobilize for events and carry out other voter engagement efforts with all data flowing back to the campaign database.

2. Opt-In Broadcast Text Networks

Another effective way for campaigns to utilize text messaging is by building a network of people who opt-in to receive regular broadcast messages. These messages can be similar to the messages the campaign sends out to its email opt-in (newsletter) list: links to campaign updates, reminders about upcoming events, and requests to take action. But text messages afford campaigns much higher visibility than with email and they come with an easier onboarding process. Campaigns simply publish a keyword and phone number (on social media, flyers, website, etc.) which supporters can use to opt-in to receive updates. Following the opt-in you can reach out with automatic texts that prompt supporters to take action on behalf of the campaign, like making a donation to the cause, volunteering, or sharing a message on social media.

3. Segmenting Your Text Network Using Tags

A campaign has multitudes of data coming in every day through outreach efforts. To make sense of this data and to tailor future outreach efforts based on it, there needs to be an effective way to segment incoming data. With peer-to-peer texting tools, you can tag people based on supporter levels, voter issues, event invite acceptance, and even set up new tags for any data set that you’d want to segment and filter later on. This helps you maintain relevance with your outreach, making sure that people receive communication that aligns with what they told you in previous conversations.

4. Texting and Election Day

One of the most exciting uses for text messaging applications is to mobilize voters on Election Day. If you are working with a political campaign or an advocacy group that is trying to motivate certain demographics to go to the polls, text messaging software allows you to send timely reminders to a wide audience about polling locations, poll timings, transportation facilities, and at the same time answer any queries that might arise from voters. While a GOTV strategy using calls can only accommodate one voter at a time, texting software make it seamless to handle large audiences which is pivotal to the success of a get out the vote strategy.

Bear in mind that in order to effectively use text messaging for GOTV efforts, you’ll need to make sure that Election Day is not the first time your text subscribers are hearing from your campaign. Communicate with them regularly through your broadcast list, and then when Election Day comes, they will be more likely to appreciate your reminder and respond positively by going out to vote.

Author Bio

Augustus Franklin is the founder and CEO of CallHub, a cloud communication company building voice and text outreach tools for political campaigns, advocacy groups, and nonprofits. He spends his days finding new ways to use technology to create meaningful engagement between organizations and people. When he isn’t working, he is either making toys with his kids or training for a marathon. Find him on Twitter @augfrank.

5 Must-Know Ways to Get More from Luminate Online Today

Luminate Online Marketing is a comprehensive online fundraising and marketing solution that can equip your nonprofit with the tools to better understand and engage supporters as well as enhance your online fundraising performance.

As you likely already know, Luminate can help organizations like yours do a lot. But when you know how to maximize your Luminate experience, you’ll be able to get even more out of this expansive platform—and you’ll have the fundraising results to show for it.

In this post, we’ll walk through 5 steps to get the most out of your Luminate Online platform:

  1. Start with a clear plan for using Luminate Online.
  2. Clean up and migrate your data effectively.
  3. Take advantage of Luminate add-ons.
  4. Customize your Luminate Online platform.
  5. Thoroughly train your staff on Luminate Online.

With our help, you’ll be a Luminate Online expert in no time!

1. Start with a clear plan for using Luminate Online.

Before you can get started with using Luminate, you need to know exactly what you want this software to do for your nonprofit.

Because Luminate is so multifaceted, your nonprofit must develop a plan for how the platform will support your goals specifically. This plan will not only give you a starting point for using Luminate, but it will also provide a clear direction for any customizations or integrations that you’ll require.

To devise your Luminate Online fundraising strategy, get together with your nonprofit team to answer the following questions:

  • What are our fundraising goals? In addition to an overarching monetary goal, your organization should also set secondary fundraising goals for each quarter, specific campaigns, or fundraising events.
  • What online fundraising tools will help us meet our goals? Do you need customizable online donation or event registration forms? What about more specific giving channels, such as eCommerce stores, peer-to-peer fundraising, or mobile giving? (Hint: you may need to integrate solutions to build your ideal platform.
  • What aspects of our current strategy have worked in the past? Which need to be revisited? Generate reports on your most recent campaigns to analyze where you’ve fallen short and where you’ve exceeded expectations. Then, determine which Luminate Online features you’ll use to enhance (or refocus) your existing fundraising strategy.

If you have a general idea of your fundraising goals but aren’t sure where or how Luminate can fit in, consider seeking the help of a specialized nonprofit technology consultant.

A consulting firm with experience helping nonprofits utilize Blackbaud products (particularly Luminate) can provide the insight you need to map out a strategic plan for your new software.

Plus, your nonprofit tech consultant can help bring that plan to fruition by helping you customize, develop, and implement Luminate to meet your unique needs.

2. Clean up and migrate your data effectively.

Data is at the core of nonprofit organizations.

Think about it: without accurate, complete sets of data, it’s almost impossible to understand your supporters and design engagement and fundraising strategies that respond to their lifestyles, preferences, and goals as a part of your organization.

With that in mind, your organization should take the Luminate Online data migration process very seriously.

As you transfer constituent information from your existing fundraising software or CRM to Luminate Online, you’ll inevitably run the risk of losing or damaging data. To mitigate that risk, there are a few considerations to keep in mind prior to the data migration process:

  • Work with a data migration specialist. Especially for larger organizations with massive stores of donor information, the data transfer process can be complex. By working with a nonprofit tech consultant who focuses on data migration, you’ll alleviate some of the stress associated with migrating data.
  • Clean your database beforehand. Transferring messy data (such as outdated information, duplicate profiles, or lapsed donor data) will only set you up for more work going forward. You should go through your data with a fine-toothed comb before migrating any profiles to your new Luminate system.
  • Establish data entry best practices. When multiple staff members are responsible for inputting data, there’s always a chance that their practices will differ, leading to a greater chance of inconsistencies and errors. Combat that by creating a well documented data entry standard and training staff on your current best practices.

When your data is neat and well organized, you’ll easily be able to use it to inform your fundraising strategies. And after all, what good is data that you can’t use?

3. Take advantage of Luminate add-ons.

Luminate Online is highly versatile on its own, but you still may find that you need more specialized online fundraising features than what the base product provides.

If that sounds like your nonprofit, you’re in luck! Luminate Online offers helpful add-ons to expand the core product and give organizations like yours exactly the tools they need for fundraising success.

If you’re a veteran Blackbaud user, you may already be familiar with these add-ons, but let’s recap what the tools can do:

  • Luminate Advocacy was designed for nonprofits with grassroots fundraising initiatives in mind. With this add-on, you’ll have access to tools such as the letter-to-the-editor generator, integrated vote data, and personalized action centers for your supporters.
  • TeamRaiser is Blackbaud’s powerful peer-to-peer fundraising platform. With tools to help you plan your peer-to-peer event, communicate with supporters, and personalize your fundraising pages, TeamRaiser can connect with Luminate or be used on its own.
  • Luminate Content Management System offers a fully integrated web design and content manager for nonprofits using Luminate. With Luminate CMS, you’ll be able to holistically manage your web presence alongside your other online fundraising efforts.

Because these add-ons were built to work seamlessly with the Luminate Online system, you won’t have to worry about cumbersome integrations or headache-inducing data migrations. The platforms will naturally sync up to your existing Luminate platform and extend its functionality without any extra work on your end.

Bonus: Like the rest of your Luminate system, you can customize your add-ons to develop a personalized fundraising experience. Learn how to get started with TeamRaiser configurations by reading this resource from DNL OmniMedia!

4. Customize your Luminate Online platform.

Established nonprofits need unique solutions to meet their digital fundraising and marketing needs. Enter Luminate Online!

One of the greatest perks of the Luminate platform is that it can be customized to meet your organization’s needs in a truly unique way. Essentially, there are two paths through which your nonprofit can adjust your software:

  • Configurations, i.e., developing a custom solution by making adjustments in the backend of Luminate Online.
  • Integrations, i.e., combining your Luminate Online system with other Blackbaud solutions or third-party platforms.

You’ll likely need to implement both types of customizations to develop the most well-rounded solution.

But before you get started shopping for new software to pair with Luminate or making changes in the software, you should make sure your nonprofit can answer these important questions about how you’ll handle the customization process:

  • What configurations or integrations will you implement? Common integrations include nonprofit CRMs and dedicated fundraising software, but you’ll need to assess your own organization’s specific needs to determine what customizations are most important to achieving your fundraising goals.
  • Who will take the lead on customizing Luminate? For both configurations and complex integrations, you’ll need the help of either a robust IT department or an experienced nonprofit tech consultant.
  • Can your budget accommodate the customizations? Not only will you need to purchase any external software you want to integrate with Luminate, but you’ll need to ensure you can afford a web developer or technology consultant to help manage the process.

Once you’ve adapted your software accordingly, your nonprofit will be left with a totally one-of-a-kind software solution that was built to meet your needs and help you achieve greater success than ever before.

5. Thoroughly train your staff on Luminate Online.

Some lightweight online fundraising solutions are easy to find your way around with little-to-no guidance; generally speaking, Luminate is not that software.

While Luminate Online is certainly user-friendly, your organization will almost definitely need some assistance when you implement the platform and begin to use it for the first time.

Look at it this way—with software that can do so much, wouldn’t you feel more comfortable knowing every member of your staff is well-versed in how to make the most of it?

Luckily, training doesn’t have to be a guessing game. There are a variety of resources at your nonprofit’s disposal to learn everything you need to know about using Luminate:

  • Blackbaud training. Blackbaud offers specific training courses to help nonprofits of all skill levels understand and implement their products. By subscribing to Blackbaud Learn, your organization can gain access to on-demand training videos and online classes.
  • Online community and support. For one-off questions or implementation help, you can crowdsource support through the Blackbaud community forums. Or, seek help from Blackbaud’s team of experts via their online support chat.
  • Nonprofit tech consultants. If you’re in need of comprehensive training to get up and running on Luminate, your nonprofit would likely benefit from working with a nonprofit tech consultant who can train your staff on any and all areas of the Luminate system.

Without some form of training and expert counsel, your nonprofit won’t know the extent to which Luminate can impact your fundraising strategy—and you won’t be able to reap all the benefits!

Luminate Online is a powerful tool for your nonprofit (if you know how to get the most out of it).

With these tips, your team should be well-prepared to implement Luminate and propel your organization to total success. Now it’s time to start fundraising like never before!

Author Bio

Carl co-founded DNL OmniMedia in 2006 and has grown the team to accommodate clients with on-going web development projects. Together, DNL OmniMedia has worked with over 100 organizations to assist them with accomplishing their online goals. As Managing Director of DNL OmniMedia, Carl works with nonprofits and their technology to foster fundraising, create awareness, cure disease, and solve social issues.

How Crowdfunding Builds Community Support

Crowdfunding has existed, in one form or another, long before the online phenomenon that we know and love today. One famous example is the campaign to build a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. Newspaper owner Joseph Pulitzer asked readers to mail in donations, raising more than $102,000—over 80% of that from donations of less than a dollar.

While the Statue of Liberty is a great example of how crowdfunding builds community support, it also hints at how difficult it was to run a crowdfunding campaign before the Internet—unless, of course, you happened to own a newspaper.

Today it’s much easier for people and communities to empower themselves by raising funds for worthy causes. Communities might be geographical, such as a neighborhood or city, or built around shared interests. Often, the rallying community forms a core group, inspiring people from all over the world to chip in and help turn a dream into a reality. Altruism is real and the desire to help others is universal.

Key statistics

  • Crowdfunding is a global phenomenon—Statista reports in 2016, people used crowdfunding to raise over 738.9 million worldwide.
  • In 2016, Statista found that more than 150,000 crowdfunding campaigns were created.
  • In the business world, crowdfunding is on track to becoming a larger overall source of funding than venture capital, according to Forbes.

Crowdfunding helps strengthen community bonds

Crowdfunding is about more than fundraising—it’s about people coming together around a shared cause in the same spirit that inspires neighbors to help neighbors. It’s a new tool applied to time-honored traditions.

It makes it easier than ever for people to get the most from their efforts, and to work together in new ways. With it, organizers can accomplish in hours what once took weeks. Your crowdfunding campaign page also becomes a space for your community to communicate and support each other as you work toward your shared goal.

Fundraising events can also help communities connect even more, as people talk to each other and get updates about the cause—and our platform makes it easy to accept donations at any event by using a mobile device.

Crowdfunding is a seedbed for grassroots movements

Someone might have an idea for a community improvement project. That person might set out to do it all on his or her own, or be unsure who his or her allies might be in the community. But by starting a crowdfunding campaign, they can generate a gravitational pull, drawing others in the community to their side.

Instead of trying to reach out to this or that person, launching a crowdfunding campaign is a way to begin a grassroots movement. Such movements are about harnessing and leveraging the power of individuals—growing numbers of them—to create change and serve the greater good. Crowdfunding has emerged as an important part of grassroots movements, helping them strengthen and empower communities.

Crowdfunding empowers children to make a difference

Supporting a crowdfunding campaign is an empowering experience for people of all ages. In particular, when a child sees someone in need and decides to help out, it helps him or her move from fear and despair toward empowerment and hope.

Engaging with the community through a crowdfunding campaign provides opportunities for young people to be and do their best. Kids really can bring about change and help provide support by crowdfunding community improvement projects and other worthy causes.

Inspirational examples of community support

1. Team Surfgimp-One Final Surf Trip for Jay
Jay was paralyzed at age 17. Sadly, his injuries will take a severe a toll on his health. To help him live life to the fullest Jay found a group of people to train him with special equipment so he could get back on a surfboard. Supporters from all over the world chipped in to help Jay recapture the joy and peace of surfing.

2. Hermosa Beach’s Waving Crossing Guard
When beloved Hermosa Beach crossing guard Oneil Francis found himself without his car after a hit-and-run accident, the community rallied to give him the money he needed for a new vehicle. Locals who knew Oneil as a crossing guard, and loved his signature sunny smile, chipped in. Others who’d never met Oneil read about his plight and joined the effort. Surpassing its goal of $1,500 in only eight days, the campaign was able to give a grateful Oneil $8,995 toward a new car.

3. The Shower of Hope
The Shower of Hope brings mobile shower units to the homeless. In raising over $35,000 from the public, the group was able to provide more than 1,000 showers in three cities during 2017. With communities continuing to step up and support this worthy cause, the organization looks to expand further in coming years.

4. A New Community Radio Station for Santa Cruz
Listeners came together to raise funds for a new radio station—one committed to delivering independent, ethical journalism to Santa Cruz, California. With the help of over 350 donors from Santa Cruz and around the world, the new station is on its way to becoming a reality. To date, organizers have raised more than $218,000 toward their $300,000 goal.

Empower your community

It’s easier than ever for people and communities to empower themselves and make good things happen—from supporting an individual member of the community who’s suffered a loss to providing special programs at schools and improving parks. In the aftermath of disaster, crowdfunding can also help communities remain resilient and resourceful.

As the Acquisition Marketing Lead at YouCaring, Paige Kutilek is keen on creating meaningful and thoughtful content that will have an impact. She’s a dedicated individual with a creative touch who is always eager to learn more. Lover of cats, avocados, and tea.

Shoe Drive Fundraising: A Mini Guide for Schools and Clubs

Read our Aptify review and discover a top alternative.

Aptify Review | Our Assessment and Software Comparison

An association management software purchase isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. Your nonprofit, organization, or association needs to find a solution that can provide smooth operations and a positive member experience.

One of the first ways to ensure that you’re getting the best software is to look for solutions that other associations like yours have found success with. In your search, chances are you’ve come across Aptify.

As a firmly established solution on the market, Aptify is a popular choice for association management! But before you make your decision, make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed choice.

In this post, we’re going to discuss:

  1. An Aptify review, complete with history and features.
  2. Common shortcomings of Aptify software.
  3. Our top pick for associations looking for an alternative.

Ready to get your facts straight? Let’s jump into it!

Read Double the Donation's Aptify software review.

Aptify Review

Founded in 1993, Aptify is one of the more established legacy AMS options on the market.

The solution’s main selling point is its flexibility. The way the software works is pretty simple, in theory: the entire system is built upon the Aptify Rad platform, which never changes. This platform allows your association to store and search member data, create reports, and sell merchandise online.

From there, associations can add on a total of 21 applications, including:

  • CRM
  • Accounting
  • Committees
  • Events
  • Subscriptions
  • eCommerce
  • Fundraising

Another key feature of the Aptify AMS is its permissions. Data housed in the system is available to all administrative users, for them to create reports and use to make informed decisions from as they wish.

As you can see, Aptify provides an immensely powerful software solution! But it’s a double-edged sword.

As is often the case with such wide-ranging legacy programs, Aptify’s extensive library of complex features can lead to some significant drawbacks for users. Keep reading to see if your organization or association would run into common problems that Aptify users face!

Read the shortcomings of Aptify software reviewed.

Shortcomings of Aptify Reviewed

Overwhelmingly, Aptify users discover that while they want to take advantage of the software’s flexibility, they aren’t able to. That’s because it’s difficult to navigate the software platform without extensive IT knowledge, which many nonprofit and association administrative teams don’t have.

This difficulty extends beyond the modules that come with the Aptify AMS platform. If you encounter a need that these pre-built modules can’t meet, you’ll need to consider third-party applications.

Aptify has launched a beta version of the Aptify Marketplace, where the team has put some of their point solutions up for download. Since it’s a beta platform, not all the kinks have been worked out, including kinks in the installation process. As such, your team will still need extensive technical expertise with SQL to install these extensions on your own.

Not sure you have the capabilities to customize the Aptify platform yourself in-house or the resources to outsource this complex process? Why not consider a solution that promises no coding necessary for out-of-the-box features or third-party extensions?

The top Aptify alternative is Fonteva.

Top Aptify Alternative: Fonteva

For ease of use and ease of customization, the top association management software solution on the market is Fonteva.

Fonteva is true-cloud association management software built entirely native in Salesforce, the word’s most popular, innovative, and secure cloud CRM. That means you can reach your member data anywhere, any time.

The software is highly user-friendly, with drag-and-drop reporting and configurations making it easy to customize the platform to your association’s needs through simple configuration — no knowledge of coding needed! 

Even if you discover that you need to meet a specific need with a third-party application, you don’t have to worry about messy coding and troubleshooting just to make the integration happen. Fonteva is built native in Salesforce, so any of the thousands of apps on the Salesforce AppExchange will integrate as easily as any other.

Still worried you might not be able to customize the platform exactly to your needs? Don’t worry! When you implement Fonteva, you can rest assured you have world-class support in your corner, including:

  • Online documentation, including free online training videos.
  • Onsite training and classroom training to fit your schedule.
  • Fonteva’s full in-house, on-call customer support team.
  • The online Fonteva Users Network success community (see screenshot below!).
  • Salesforce documentation, user support forums, and customer support.

Fonteva for Associations offers many channels of support that Aptify doesn't.

These resources give your association the support and confidence to get exactly what you need out of your association management software solution.

Every association’s needs will be different, so it’s worth taking the time to find the perfect solution for your association, organization, or nonprofit. The most popular solution isn’t always the best for everyone!

Thinking about other association management software vendors before making a purchasing decision? Check out these additional resources before going too much further:

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!
Read our MemberClicks review before making an association management software purchase.

MemberClicks Reviews | Our Rating and Alternative Solutions

The search for the perfect association management software solution is a major undertaking for your association. You want to ensure your team has plenty of features at your disposal, but you also need a sleek solution that won’t bog you down or blow your budget.

When reading MemberClicks reviews, you might think you’ve found your solution and stop looking. As one of the major players in the association management space, MemberClicks offers many associations the database, communications, and events features they need.

But did you know that there are plenty of incredible association management solutions out there that might serve your association better? 

Before you make an important software purchase, make sure you actually understand what your options are. In this post, we’ll review the following association management software solutions to help you decide which providers you should reach out to in your search:

  1. MemberClicks
  2. Fonteva for Associations
  3. Salsa
  4. Doubleknot

It might seem overwhelming right now, but choosing association management software becomes so much easier once you have a shortlist of vendors to consider. With these top providers, you can’t go wrong!

Let’s get into the reviews to guide you to the best fit for your association.


Read our MemberClicks review.

1. MemberClicks Review

MemberClicks was founded in 1998, making it one of the most established legacy AMS products still on the market. In its lifespan, the software has expanded, bringing on a diversity of features that serve as the software’s main selling point.

The associations that find the most success with MemberClicks are those with the smallest staff. This AMS provides everything a small association needs in one package, which is much easier to keep track of than a constellation of separate systems that might or might not integrate properly with one another.

The MemberClicks solution is also highly customizable. Associations using the software are able to include their branding on their website, email campaigns, applications, and events pages. Many MemberClicks members feel overwhelmed and confused at the beginning, but with time and support, they are able to adjust to the level of customization available:

Our MemberClicks review discusses the complexity of the software.

Top Software Features

MemberClicks provides small associations with:

  • A membership database
  • Renewal and application automation
  • Organizational memberships
  • Email marketing
  • Event registration
  • Member-facing website
  • Reporting, accounting and payment processing

Of course, this wealth of options comes with a downside.

A common complaint among MemberClicks customers is slow load time. With this many features packed into one locally hosted solution, it’s no wonder that MemberClicks can be clunky and slow down associations’ operations.


After our MemberClicks review, we recommend alternative Fonteva.

2. MemberClicks Alternative: Fonteva for Associations

In contrast, Fonteva for Associations is a lean, streamlined software solution that offers customization and breadth of features without slowing down essential business operations.

The speed can be attributed to true-cloud hosting. The Fonteva for Associations platform is built completely native in Salesforce, the world’s most popular cloud CRM. That’s why enterprise-level associations with members and chapters all over the world choose Fonteva instead of a locally hosted solution.

With Salesforce, your member data and operations are hosted in the cloud. That means:

  • There’s no limit on your storage space like there is with legacy AMS, no matter how many profiles or events you host at once.
  • Updates are pushed through the cloud without having to take your local servers offline and disrupt your operations.
  • Your information is safe, since Salesforce is the most secure cloud CMS in the world.

Besides, though Fonteva for Associations comes fully equipped with the most common modules needed by large associations, you have access to the Salesforce AppExchange with your Fonteva license. Instead of cluttering your core platform with point solutions, Fonteva gives you the opportunity to browse the AppExchange and Fonteva Marketplace to complete your software package. The Fonteva User’s Network can give you some ideas of what other users have done to customize the software to their needs:

After our MemberClicks review, we recommend alternative Fonteva.

Top Software Features

Fonteva for Associations offers enterprise-level associations access to:

  • True-cloud Salesforce hosting
  • Member-driven communities
  • Events management
  • eCommerce
  • Drag-and-drop reporting

The best part? You don’t need any technical coding knowledge to customize and implement any of these features.

But if you need to reach out for assistance, you can always take advantage of Fonteva’s world-class training and customer support team, as well as all the support materials Salesforce has to offer.


After our MemberClicks review, we recommend alternative Salsa.

3. MemberClicks Alternative: Salsa

Some specific member-based associations and organizations need specialized solutions that can meet their unique needs.

If you’re a nonprofit that works in the arts and culture space, your members are your donors. You need a solution that understands constituents in both categories at once, like Salsa.

Salsa CRM, a top nonprofit CRM, integrates seamlessly with Salsa Engage, a digital marketing, fundraising, and advocacy platform that brings your association, nonprofit, or organization closer to your members.

The most important advantage Salsa’s suite of products offers to nonprofits and associations is its integrated marketing features. Without close member communication, you can’t push your campaigns forward and build a strong, sustainable member community. Salsa makes it possible to always know where you stand with your campaigns:

After our MemberClicks review, we recommend alternative Salsa.

Top Software Features

With Salsa, you can take advantage of:

  • Member profiles
  • Donation tracking
  • Donor communications
  • Performance dashboards
  • Advocacy campaigns

Whether you’re supporting your members in fundraising, advocacy, or community engagement, Salsa makes it possible to track all your supporters’ activities in one database.

Instead of importing data after an event or major campaign, let the software do the work automatically so your records are ready to inform your next campaign — marketing campaign, fundraising campaign, advocacy campaign, or otherwise!


After our MemberClicks review, we recommend alternative Doubleknot.

4. MemberClicks Alternative: Doubleknot

Visitor-serving nonprofits run very different membership programs than trade associations and arts and cultural nonprofits. For museums, science centers, zoos, and aquariums, specific administrative software like Doubleknot can take care of the unique challenges faced.

One main difference between visitor-facing nonprofits like museums is the motivation behind membership. While nonprofit members may join to support a charitable cause and trade association members may join for professional networking and advancement, museum members most often join to take advantage of specific member benefits.

Whether your museum offers discounted admission, invitations to special after-hours events, or gift certificates to the gift shop, your membership management software needs to be able to prioritize the ease of providing those benefits to the proper members at any time, on any device.

Doubleknot makes museum membership programs beneficial for members and profitable for your institution. Plus, through Doubleknot museum management, your programs become even more engaging for the greater member community. Centralize all you need for museum management in member profiles:

After our MemberClicks review, we recommend alternative Doubleknot.

Top Software Features

Doubleknot offers museums and science centers:

  • Automatic membership benefits
  • Gift memberships
  • Membership cards
  • Automated renewals

Arguably the most important feature on this list are automatic membership benefits.

If a museum member buys an admissions ticket, item from the gift shop, or camp registration, the system should automatically apply any appropriate discounts of special permissions.  The system should also allow nonmembers to purchase membership and take advantage of their new membership benefits in the same transaction, both online and in the gift shop.

Association management software solutions should make membership management easier, not harder. Choose the solution that simplifies your association’s operations, and you can’t go wrong!

If you need some more information before embarking on the software search, start with these great additional resources:

Learn what your nonprofit can do to become eligible for Google Grants before applying.

Is Your Nonprofit Eligible for Google Grants? How to Apply

Did you know Google awards nonprofits with $10,000 in free AdWords spending each month? It’s true, all thanks to a program called Google Ad Grants.

With Google Grants, organizations just like yours get a monthly grant of $10,000 to spend on Google ads. When used effectively, this funding can go a long way to boost traffic to your nonprofit website and even increase donations.

If your nonprofit is looking to get started with Google Grants, the first step is to apply. In this post, we’ll walk you through 5 questions you need to ask during the application process to ensure your nonprofit obtains (and maintains!) your Google Grant:

  1. What is Google Grants?
  2. Are all nonprofits eligible for Google Grants?
  3. What can my nonprofit do to become eligible for Google Grants?
  4. How does my nonprofit apply for a Google Grant?
  5. Can my nonprofit lose its Google Grants eligibility?

Applying for a Google Ad Grant doesn’t have to be complicated. Just follow our guide and you’ll be on your way to your new AdWords account in no time!

Bonus! Already have your AdWords account set up? Learn how to manage your Google Grant and see better results by reading this essential Google Grants management guide from the consultants at DNL OmniMedia.

Before exploring Google Grant eligibility, make sure your nonprofit understands what the Google Grants program is.

1. What is Google Grants?

Before you can start the enrollment process, you need to be clear on what exactly you’re applying for.

Put simply, Google Grants (also known as Ad Grants or AdWords Grants) is a program wherein Google provides eligible nonprofits with an in-kind donation of $10,000 in monthly AdWords funding.

But let’s back up even furtherwhat exactly is Google AdWords in the first place?

Google AdWords ads are the paid search results that appear at the top of your search results screen based on the keywords included in your query. Here’s an example of what that might look like:

Your organization can use Google Grants to create ads that appear at the top of Google search results.

In order to see your ads appear here, your nonprofit can bid on relevant keywords using your Google Grant money. 

Of course, there are certain parameters for Google Grant recipients, including a $2 cap on your maximum bidding amount and a requirement that all keywords must be relevant to your cause. These restrictions mean that you won’t be able to spend your money on exceptionally high-traffic terms (think: “animal rights organization” or “wildlife sanctuary”) or terms that are entirely too general (think: “free eBook” or “donate to nonprofits”), but it also means that you’re likely to see greater results from the ads you do run.

Google Grants come with a host of benefits for organizations who know how to maximize their funding, including:

  • Greater visibility and reach for your nonprofit.
  • Increased traffic to key landing pages on your site (such as your donation form or volunteer information page).
  • Free promotion for your online content, including your blog or educational resources.
  • Potential for online donations, volunteer sign-ups, event registrations, and email list subscriptions!

Depending on how you plan out your AdWords strategy, you can use your ads to complete nearly any goal you have in mind. The options are endless!

The bottom line: Google Grants is a highly profitable marketing tool that almost all nonprofits can take advantage of with very low risk. Through this program, you can put your name in front of thousands (if not millions) of new eyes every day—why wouldn’t you take advantage of that?

Not all nonprofits are eligible for Google Grants; find out which organizations can't receive Google Grants.

2. Are all nonprofits eligible for Google Grants?

Google Grants can be an exceptional resource for many nonprofits, but it’s important to know that not all organizations can take advantage of this program.

Specifically, the following types of nonprofits are ineligible for Google Grants:

  • Schools or educational institutions.
  • Government organizations.
  • Hospitals or healthcare organizations.

Google does have similar philanthropic resources for educational institutions, or you could check out our list of school fundraising ideas if you’re raising money for an educational organization.

If you’ve made it past this first barrier to entry, you’ll also need to consider other requirements Google has in place to enusre that all nonprofits receiving Ad Grants are legitimate charitable organizations. To qualify for a grant, your organization must:

  • Hold valid charitable status in your country. In the US, you’ll need to be registered as a 501(C)(3) organization.
  • Be registered with Google for Nonprofits and TechSoup. (Not registered? We’ll walk you through how to get started in the next section.)
  • Have a functional website as recognized by Google.
  • Adhere to program policies for using your Google Grant funding. For example, you can’t use your AdWords money to promote anything outside the scope of your nonprofit’s true cause, and you can’t use the money to sell products that don’t contribute to your organization’s charitable efforts.

Google puts these standards in place to make sure that its grants are being given to valid, upstanding nonprofits who can actually benefit from the ads. Take some time to review their requirements as a team (or with your Google Grant management consultant) and make sure you’re up to code where it counts. If not, you can always look into alternate fundraising strategies!

The bottom line: Google Ad Grants are not given to all types of nonprofits. Your nonprofit must abide by certain criteria in order to receive AdWords funding, so make sure you understand their eligibility requirements before attempting to enroll.

There are steps your nonprofit can take to become eligible for Google Grants.

3. What can my nonprofit do to become eligible for Google Grants?

If your nonprofit meets the baseline requirements for receiving a Google Grant but isn’t quite ready to enroll, there are a few measures you can take to get your application approved on the first try.

The best strategy? Work with a Google Grant management consultant who can walk you through the application process from start to finish. 

These consultants (who often offer other digital marketing or fundraising strategy services) have experience identifying any issues that might keep you from receiving a grant, and can help make sure you don’t get denied on a technicality or mistake.

Plus, once you’ve been approved for your grant, the consultant can help you put together a strategy for maintaining eligibility and using your full $10,000 as effectively as possible!

With your consultant’s guidance, your team can take the following steps to get your organization ready for your Google AdWords application:

  • Register with TechSoup. If you haven’t already, make sure your nonprofit is validated with You may need to set up a new registration or claim an existing nonprofit account. Either way, this step is vital to Google for Nonprofits (and therefore, Google Grants) eligibility. It may take a few days to receive your validation, so make sure you add some wiggle room to your timeline.
  • Make sure your mission is clear. Both on your website and your grant application, your nonprofit’s mission should be front and center. Make sure Google can quickly understand what programs or efforts you’ll be using Google AdWords to promote. Note: it helps to have a concise mission statement on the front page of your site!
  • Update your nonprofit website. You’ll need to tie your Google ads to your website, so make sure it’s in good shape before launching your account. Your website should be as optimized for both search and user experience as possible, with relevant content that’s readable by Google. (Hint: follow our best practices and your site will be ready in no time.)

From there, you shouldn’t have much stopping you from securing your AdWords account and funding.

However, keep in mind that these requirements may change according to Google’s current standards. To limit any confusion or frustration, we recommend working with a consultant who can streamline the process. After all, it’s their full-time job to understand Google Grants, not yours!

Bonus! Want to learn about the nonprofit consulting process before you find your own Google AdWords consultant? Learn what to look for in a web consultant by reading this post from DNL OmniMedia.

The bottom line: There are steps nonprofits can take to increase their chances of receiving a Google Grant, such as optimizing their websites and double-checking their charitable status. For best results, it’s always wise to work with an expert Google Grant consultant who can get your application approved instantly.

Follow these steps to complete the Google Grants application process.

4. How does my nonprofit apply for a Google Grant?

Once you’re confident in your eligibility, it’s time to start the application process!

Luckily, when it comes to managing your Google Grant account, the application is the easy part. As long as you’ve got your eligibility in order, just follow these guidelines to get your enrollment started:

  1. Sign up for Google for Nonprofits. Along with Google Grants, Google also offers other benefits to nonprofits as part of their Google for Nonprofits program. Once you’re a registered “Google Nonprofit,” you can also access the YouTube Nonprofit Program, Google One Today, and more. This application is fairly straightforward, so expect questions about your tax ID, non-discrimination policies, and general contact and organization information.
  2. Register for Google Grants. After your application for Google for Nonprofits has been processed and approved (which could take several months!), you can access Google Grants from your Google account. You’ll simply need to choose whether you’d like to register for Google AdWords or AdWords Express, a lightweight version of AdWords that requires less hands-on management. For optimum results, we suggest choosing AdWords.
  3. Create your AdWords account. Follow Google’s steps for account creation. You’ll need to enter some basic information first before you can get started creating your first ad campaigns, ad groups, and keywords. (Note: while you can set up your campaigns and ads yourself, a nonprofit consultant can provide greater insight into which keywords and campaign strategies can deliver the best results.)
  4. Have your account reviewed by Google. After you’ve finalized setup, you’ll need to submit your account for Google’s review using your account ID number (which you can find by clicking the person icon in the top-right corner of your account). Google will review your account to ensure it’s in line with its AdWords policies, and you’ll be notified of your approval (or any errors that need to be addressed) via email.

That’s it! In just 4 simple steps, your nonprofit should have everything you need to get started managing your account and seeing the results of your new ads.

The bottom line: To set up your Google Grant, sign up for Google for Nonprofits first. Then, you’ll be ready to work through the AdWords registration and approval process following Google’s guidelines (and with the help of your Google Grant management consultant).

Be careful to abide by Google Grant management best practices and policies so your AdWords account stays active.

5. Can my nonprofit lose its Google Grants eligibility?

After setting up your account, managing your account and maintaining your grant eligibility is an ongoing process. If you aren’t maintaining your AdWords account to Google’s standards, your grant funding may be suspended temporarily or indefinitely. 

To keep your account in good standing, pay attention to a few key requirements for your Google Grant:

  • Account activity. Google doesn’t give out money to organizations who aren’t using it! Show Google that you’re taking account maintenance seriously by logging in at least once a month and updating your account every 90 days.
  • Ad relevance and geotargeting. In addition to having ads that accurately reflect your nonprofit’s cause, Google also requires that all ads are targeted to a specific geographic location. That way, users only see advertising that’s relevant to them.
  • Monthly keyword evaluation. To keep your ads profitable, Google asks that you conduct their Keyword Performance Report once a month. This report can show you where your chosen keywords fall on Googe’s Quality Scale and help you optimize your keyword list for best results.
  • A minimum 5% click-through rate. In order to improve ad relevance and user experience, Google requires that all nonprofit accounts maintain a 5% click-through rate (CTR) after their first 90 days as a grant recipient. Accounts that don’t meet this requirement will be notified within their accounts, and the account will be suspended if this goal isn’t met for 2 consecutive months.

Though these are some of the most important eligibility and management requirements, they aren’t the only ones. It’s important that your team stays active in your campaigns and is consistently optimizing your AdWords strategy in order to maintain your account.

If these standards seem like a lot to keep track of, remember that you can always seek outside help of a consultant. They can manage your account for you, freeing up your time to other important tasks at your nonprofit.

The bottom line: Google requires that accounts meet certain requirements in order to remain active. By paying attention to these goals, you can make sure your account stays in good standing and is successful.

Google Grants can be one of the most valuable marketing tools your nonprofit has access to. Now that you know how to apply for these grants, you’re halfway to Google AdWords success!

Check out these resources for more insight into online marketing and fundraising:

  • Our Favorite Nonprofit Software. Finding the right technology can make a big difference in your nonprofit fundraising strategy. See our top choices for nonprofit software to find tools to complement your Google AdWords strategy.
  • DNL OmniMeida’s Top Nonprofit Websites. No matter how successful your ads are, you won’t see any boost to your online engagement if your website isn’t ready for visitors. Get inspired by checking out DNL OmniMedia’s favorite nonprofit websites.
  • DonorSearch’s Top Fundraising Consulting Firms. Ready to bring on the help you need for a stellar Google Grant strategy? Find a firm that can fit your needs by taking a look at the best fundraising consultants according to DonorSearch.

15 Cheap Fundraising Ideas

It’s not easy fundraising these days. With increasing pressure for nonprofits to maximize impact while minimizing overhead, it can be difficult for fundraisers to justify big, fancy galas or swag-overloaded charity runs.

But whether you’re a small, mid-size, or large nonprofit looking for creative ways to put on cheap fundraisers, here are a couple of ideas that are fun, creative, and get people giving!

1. 50/50 Raffle

Have participants purchase raffle tickets to enter a drawing. Half of the entry fees are awarded as the winner’s prize, and half goes to your charity.

2. Cooking Competitions

Who doesn’t love a good chili cook-off? Contestants bring in a specific dish, their best entree, or whatever criteria you choose. Diners donate for the meal, and vote for the winner.

3. Trivia Night

All you need is a charismatic host, some witty contestants, pens or pencils, some paper, and some thought-provoking questions. Contestants can either play solo or as a group, writing their answers on slips of paper and turning them into the host. Use separate rounds to increase the points and raise the stakes.

4. Sports Tournament

Healthy competition and a desire to win can get a number of people involved, especially if it’s for charity. Host a round-robin or bracket-style tournament in a friendly team sport. It can be basketball, dodgeball, flag football, or whatever you choose. Teams’ entry fees count toward their donations to your cause.

5. Restaurant Partnerships

There are several local and chain restaurants that are happy to partner with a nonprofit for a night or two. A portion of the restaurant’s earnings for the day go toward that particular organization. There are sometimes even situations where an organization’s volunteers or employees help work behind the counter, or in the dining room, to earn a share of wages.

6. Silicone Wristbands

Remember the Livestrong bracelets? They’re actually really inexpensive to make — as low as 3 cents per wristband. If sold for $1 or $2 donation, the markup is pretty astounding. There are several online companies that do custom work, so create a good share-worthy slogan and offer them as part of your merchandise line.

7. Yard Swap

Not enough junk lying around at your office? Outsource it! Have volunteers bring their used or unwanted items to a yard sale event. Then those same people can hunt for others’ items and take them away to a new home, with all the proceeds going to your charity.

8. Amazon Smile

If your nonprofit isn’t using Amazon Smile yet, that needs to happen pronto. Here’s the basics: Amazon shoppers can select a charity to support. For each of their eligible purchases, Amazon donates 0.5% of the proceeds to your nonprofit. Did I mention it’s free to set up?

9. Grocery Loyalty Cards

On a similar note, many grocery stores offer partnership programs to local charities. Shoppers can modify their grocery loyalty card to specify which charity they’d like to support. In turn, the grocery store allocates rewards to the charity based on their participating shoppers’ purchases.

10. Karaoke

Most people think they can sing, so why not have a little fun with it? Have audience members vote for their favorite contestant. You can even bring in a “celebrity” panel to complement the American Idol vibe of the whole thing. Winners receive a portion of the proceeds, while your audience gets to enjoy a fun-filled and slightly embarrassing evening.

11. Lip-Sync Battle

This is a personal favorite, especially if you’re terrified of singing in public. Participants choose a song they’d like to lip-sync then perform it for a voting audience or judges. Lip-syncers can go all-out, by wearing crazy costumes or channeling their inner Jimi Hendrix with a killer air guitar solo.

12. SMS Giving

SMS giving is similar to a text-to-give campaign, but it’s much more cost-efficient. Set up an SMS message within your donor management platform to send out to your donors, prompting them to reply to the text with a specific code or phrase (like “GIVE” or “DONATE”). Once they do so, your SMS autoresponder replies back with a link to a mobile donation form.

13. Peer-To-Peer Fundraising

While many people use crowdfunding websites (like Kickstarter or GoFundMe) to raise money for their projects, medical bills, and more. Nonprofits can utilize the same strategies through peer-to-peer fundraising, which positions your volunteers as crowdfunders specifically for your organization. It’s an effective tactic to use on social media, and your fundraisers’ support is free of charge.

14. Shave Your Head

It seems pretty drastic (and it’s probably one of the reasons it’s further down on the list), but if you’re willing to part ways with your hairdo, then shaving your head for charity will have people go wild. Set a goal for donors to meet by a certain date. If they match that goal, then your or one of your incredibly dedicated employees or volunteers will shave their head as a thank-you. Bonus points if you send a video of the shaving to your donors in an email. Even more bonus points if you broadcast it on Facebook Live.

15. Corporate Matching Gifts

If you’re struggling to get the funding your organization needs, matching gifts are a great way for a company to show they care about their employees. With Double The Donation, nonprofits and organizations can accept corporate matching gifts by integrating their online donation forms with matching options. While other tools or manually matching gifts can be tedious works, Double The Donation makes it simpler for companies to give on behalf of their employees.

Author Bio

Matt Sutherland is the Communications Director for Click & Pledge, an all-in-one online fundraising platform for nonprofits. Matt’s favorite activities include playing pickup lacrosse games and turning his guitar amp up to 11. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn.

Blackbaud Online Express + Double the Donation Integration Guide

Does your nonprofit use Blackbaud Online Express for your online donation forms? Are you looking to incorporate matching gift information into both your Blackbaud Online Express donation pages as well as across your organization’s broader fundraising?

If so then this guide is for you.

Double the Donation’s Relationship with Blackbaud Online Express:

Blackbaud Online Express is a popular provider of donation forms and fundraising tools for nonprofits.

Double the Donation is the leading provider of employee matching gift data and tools to nonprofits.

This guide was put together to help organizations who use Blackbaud Online Express’s donation forms incorporate Double the Donation’s employee matching gift plugin into their fundraising pages and into their primary websites.

Please note that Blackbaud Online Express and Double the Donation are two separate companies.

Steps to Integrate Double the Donation’s Matching Gift Search Tool with Blackbaud Online Express:

At risk of stating the obvious, the below steps and screenshots are applicable to organizations which already have an account with Double the Donation (Premium Plan) and Blackbaud Online Express.

If you don’t have an account with Double the Donation you can learn more about our service or view our annual service fees and start a risk-free trial.

In terms of integrating Double the Donation’s matching gift search tools into your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy, there are two primary options:

  1. Adding our plugin to the confirmation page of an Online Express donation form
  2. Across Your Other Fundraising Channels (Use your other systems)

Let’s start by looking at how to incorporate Double the Donation’s plugin into an Online Express donation form.

Note: If you have already installed the Online Express donation form to your website, skip to Step #2.

Step #1: Log into your organization’s Raiser’s Edge account. Grab the Javascript embed code with the following instructions:


Step #2: Copy the Online Express Javascript embed code in the popup, and navigate to the page editor on your website where you want the form to appear. We’re going to modify the code by adding Double the Donation’s code snippet to the Javascript embed code. Add the following after the Online Express code:

Your page editor should now look like the following:

Step #3: Change the “XXXXXXXX” to the API Key as seen in your Double the Donation admin portal.

Step #4: Save the changes to the webpage, and view it in the browser. Test the donation form and ensure that the Double the Donation plugin appears on the confirmation page. It should look like this:

Your donation form now incorporates Double the Donation’s searchable matching gift database so donors can easily access company specific matching gift forms, guidelines, and instructions.


Next let’s look at how to incorporate Double the Donation’s matching gift plugin across your broader fundraising

Step #1: Create a dedicated matching gift page on your main website.

Create a dedicated matching gift page on your own website

This is all done by using Double the Donation’s primary matching gift plugin which can be found in your organization’s Double the Donation account management pages. You’ll want to use the following steps:

  1. Log into your Double the Donation account
  2. Access the embed code
  3. Copy the embed code to the dedicated matching gift page on your own site
  4. Our searchable plugin will automatically load

Add Our Matching Gift Search Directly to Your Own Website

Step #2: Direct donors to your dedicated matching gift page across your broader fundraising efforts.

Create a dedicated matching gift page on your own website

This includes in locations such as:

For our complete marketing toolkit which includes suggested marketing locations, downloadable graphics, sample wording, and examples visit

Have Questions?

Use one of the following ways to learn more about Double the Donation’s service: