Learn more about how donor walls are useful for nonprofits.

Donor Walls – Nonprofit Basics

Donor walls are a great way to show appreciation to donors and demonstrate the impact of their contributions, which can aid in donor retention and acquisition. They provide a tangible way to thank and recognize donors for their support, while also creating a sense of community and allowing donors to show off their commitment to the organization.

What is a Donor Wall?

A donor recognition wall is a permanent display honoring an organization’s generous supporters, which can take the form of an immersive, interactive experience. Nonprofits, universities, medical facilities, and faith-based organizations are among those that create these walls to recognize major donors, corporate sponsors, and major contributors. The cost of a donor recognition wall will depend on its size and materials used, but it’s considered a critical investment that can improve donor retention and add a beautiful focal point to a space.

Types of donor walls include traditional, digital, hybrid, and virtual.

Different Types of Donor Walls

Traditional Donor Walls

Traditional donor walls are the classic option, often made of engraved metal plaques, acrylic with vinyl or etched lettering, glass, or other material-based components. They’re typically arranged in a board or giving tree. The appeal of a traditional donor wall is in the art-like overall aesthetic and the luxury of tactile donor names. These are a good option for organizations with low volumes of donors to recognize. Updating the list of donors can be moderate in cost, and the initial investment is less than a digital donor wall.

Digital Donor Walls

Digital donor walls are a more modern approach, made of a screen or a series of screens. They can display a dynamic amount of names with many giving levels and types of giving. Videos, photos, and other multimedia elements can be added to the screen(s) in real-time. They’re great for organizations with a high volume of donors to recognize or that want to showcase their history, mission statements, ‘Why I Give stories’, donor highlights, impact stories, and more. There’s no cost to add or update the list of donors, but the initial investment is more than a traditional donor wall.

Hybrid Donor Walls

Hybrid donor walls are the best of both worlds. They combine the art-like cabinetry found in traditional donor walls and blend it with the ease of use and magnificence of digital donor walls. This provides a more interactive and engaging experience for donors and visitors, while still providing a tangible way to recognize and honor donors. The initial investment for a hybrid digital donor wall is the most expensive option, but there is generally no cost to update the list of donors.

Virtual Donor Walls

Virtual donor walls are accessible through nonprofit websites, leveraging much of the same software technology as a digital donor wall. These can be used to keep recognition up to date and leveraged for online marketing strategies. They are particularly useful for organizations with no physical or public presence that other donor walls would require. Updating the donor lists has no cost, and the initial cost to develop a virtual donor wall is a fraction of the cost of other digital or hybrid solutions. Virtual donor walls are a great way to recognize and honor donors online, making them a cost-effective solution for organizations that don’t have the budget for traditional or digital donor walls.

Benefits of A Donor Wall

Culture of Philanthropy-Building

Donor walls are a powerful tool for building a culture of philanthropy within an organization. They provide a tangible way to steward and thank donors for their support, while also creating a sense of community and shared purpose. By displaying donor names and contributions in a public space, donor walls demonstrate the impact of individual giving and encourage others to get involved.

Donor Acquisition and Retention

In addition to recognizing donors, donor walls also serve as an important tool for donor acquisition and retention. They provide a way for potential donors to see the impact of giving and understand the value of their contributions. They also help to build a sense of community and shared purpose among donors, which can encourage them to continue giving and even increase their level of support.

Donor Engagement

Donor walls are not just a display of appreciation, but they’re also a way to engage donors and encourage them to continue their support. They provide a tangible representation of the impact of giving, and help donors to see the value of their contributions. By recognizing donors in a public space, donor walls create a sense of community among donors and build a sense of shared purpose. This can encourage donors to stay connected with the organization and continue their support.

Overall, donor walls play a crucial role in building a culture of philanthropy within an organization. They provide a powerful tool for recognizing and thanking donors, encouraging giving, and promoting transparency and accountability. They are a valuable investment for any organization committed to building a strong culture of philanthropy and fostering a sense of community among donors.

Other Resources to Explore

Nonprofit Basics – Learn more about other nonprofit management essentials by checking out these expert resources.

8 Donor Engagement Strategies to Drive Nonprofit Support – Donor engagement is crucial for building a strong nonprofit organization. Take advantage of the strategies discussed in this article to boost your efforts.

Retaining Matching Gift Donors: 4+ Effective Strategies – Retaining donors in addition to acquiring new donors, offers a multitude of benefits. Explore ways to keep matching gift donors engaged with your organization.

Nonprofit Basics: Amazon Smile

Both online shopping and online fundraising have grown in popularity in recent years. More than 268 million people in the United States shopped online in 2022 alone, and 54% of donors worldwide prefer to donate online

With online shopping and online giving soaring in popularity, it makes sense that nonprofit organizations would attempt to find a solution to bring online shopping into the online fundraising world in an effort to earn more donations. That’s why many nonprofits have combined those two trends to bring in revenue through programs like Amazon Smile.

What is Amazon Smile?

Until its discontinuation in early 2023, Amazon Smile was a program that allowed shoppers to give back to their favorite charities while making everyday online purchases through Amazon. Shoppers could give to nonprofits through purchases that they were going to make anyway, regardless of whether they were able to make an additional donation. It was also an easy way for nonprofits to earn donations from their loyal supporters, many of whom are happy to make additional donations through fundraising programs like this if given the opportunity.

Once an organization registered with Amazon Smile, supporters would start shopping for their cause, and a portion of their total sales went back to the nonprofit of their choice.

Benefits of online shopping fundraiser programs like Amazon Smile

Although Amazon Smile has come to an end, it isn’t the only program of its kind that nonprofits can participate in. Here are some reasons your nonprofit may consider signing up for an online shopping fundraiser program:

  1. It’s unique. Your nonprofit holds various fundraisers each year to encourage donations and inspire support. Take advantage of this creative fundraising idea that’s free, easy to set up, and brings in year-round revenue.
  2. It’s passive. Amazon Smile is considered a “passive fundraiser” because supporters are taking actions they would have taken anyway and can contribute to your nonprofit without a second thought. However, you should still market your fundraiser to continuously remind supporters to access the resource.
  3. Supporters feel like they’re making a difference. Online shopping fundraisers allow supporters to make a positive impact through their purchases, meaning that these supporters are not only gaining the benefits of whatever item they’ve purchased, but also the benefit of helping their community through your nonprofit. Plus, many people enjoy looking into ways they can shop ethically, and shop-for-a-cause programs are great ways to do so. 



Amazon Smile is a simple, fast fundraising idea to allow supporters to benefit your cause through shopping. 


Whether your nonprofit is new to the online shopping fundraiser space or participated in Amazon Smile and is wondering what next steps to take, be aware that there are other similar fundraising programs available with connections to different networks of retailers. Your nonprofit should do research and carefully consider which shopping donation option is right for your organization.

Other Resources to Explore

Nonprofit Basics – Learn more nonprofit management essentials by exploring other expert resources.

Passive Fundraising: How to Earn Extra Revenue [+5 Ideas] – Explore strategies to make passive fundraisers, including online shopping fundraiser programs, more successful.

Shop for a Cause: How to Give Back While Shopping Online – Discover more ways for your nonprofit’s supporters to further your mission through their everyday online purchases.

Learn the basics of Google Ad Grants with this quick guide.

Nonprofit Basics: Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits

As one of the most influential companies in the world, Google empowers charitable organizations to increase their visibility within Google Search for free through its dedicated corporate giving program called Google Ad Grants. We’ll cover everything you need to know about this program.

Since Google has over 92% of the global search engine market share, you’d be remiss to turn down the free advertising money. The program can help you connect with prospects around the world without negatively impacting your marketing budget.

What Are Google Ad Grants?

The Google Ad Grants program awards organizations $10,000 worth of Google Ads credits each month. Eligible organizations use these credits to bid on keywords and promote their web content. With free access to Google’s keyword research tools, nonprofits can place compelling ads in prominent locations on Google Search results pages, connecting them with likely supporters for their cause.

Here's an example of a nonprofit promoting their web content with the Google Ad Grant.

Google’s program enables nonprofits to go beyond driving more meaningful website traffic. Depending on the pages you promote with the Google Grant, here’s how the Google Ad Grant can support your initiatives in more creative capacities:

  • Increase revenue by sharing donation and sponsorship opportunities.
  • Recruit volunteers to support your projects.
  • Boost attendance for your webinars, charity races, and other events.
  • Effect change through grassroots activism, petitions, and other advocacy activities.
  • Inform and educate users about your cause and work.

Participants can fully leverage the program by crafting powerful ad copy combined with effective keyword research, strategic bidding strategies, and carefully-chosen landing pages.

How To Get Started With Google Ad Grants

The good news is that Google makes it straightforward to join the program. Applying for the Google Grant is a simple, multi-step process. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

These are the steps you'll take to apply for the Google Ad Grant program.

  1. Meet the requirements. You’ll need to agree to the program’s policies, hold valid charity status, and have a high-quality website to meet the eligibility criteria. Governmental entities, healthcare organizations, and educational institutions are automatically ineligible.
  2. Register your organization with TechSoup. TechSoup partners with companies like Google to provide mission-driven organizations with free and discounted resources. Visit the TechSoup registration page and fill out the required information. They’ll get back to you with a validation token within 30 days.
  3. Sign up for Google for Nonprofits. Visit Google for Nonprofits’ registration website, input your TechSoup validation token, and fill out the subsequent forms. Once you’re approved, this will unlock the Google Grants application. Plus, you’ll have access to a variety of other organizational tools and perks through Google for Nonprofits.
  4. Apply for the Google Ad Grant. Log into your Google for Nonprofits account and fill out the Google Grants application. You’ll provide additional identifying information, such as your website URL and details regarding your goals with the program.

Keep an eye on your email for your invitation within the next few business days. Once you’re approved, you’ll automatically receive $329 per day to spend on your Google Ad campaigns.

Best of all, the grant will automatically renew each month. You just need to keep your account in good standing by adhering to the ongoing compliance requirements.

Get more out of Google Ad Grants by trusting our recommended agency.

Make the Most of Your Google Ad Grant Budget

As with any marketing effort, you need a carefully-crafted plan to drive real results for your nonprofit. Let’s walk through some tried-and-true tips.

1. Optimize your website.

Your Google Ads will drive traffic to your website. With this in mind, you should prioritize the user experience to drive more donations, boost volunteer registrations, or achieve any other goal. Ultimately, you want users to click through your site to find a professional design that drives them to engage with your organization.

Here are a few elements of your website to consider:

  • Promotable pages: Fill your site with high-quality content to promote through Google Ads. Each page should be centered around a core topic, whether it’s your donation form, volunteer registration page, or information about a major initiative.
  • Mobile responsiveness: Half of all nonprofit website traffic comes from mobile devices. Mobile users will likely encounter your Google Ads, so make sure your design automatically reformats itself based on screen size.
  • Security: Your website should encrypt information users share with you. Your URL should show “https” instead of “http” to offer users greater protection on your site.
  • Organizational information: List your EIN somewhere on your site, preferably in your website’s footer. You might also have a page devoted to explaining your mission.

Tie all of these elements together with powerful graphic design. This will create a cohesive site that inspires users to explore your site and convert into supporters.

2. Create robust ads with compelling copy, landing pages, and ad extensions.

Optimize your ads by paying special attention to these core building blocks for your ads:

  • Landing pages: These are the pages you’ll drive users to visit. Choose ones that match the user intent for your keywords and are designed to drive users to complete the desired action. For example, if you’re targeting terms like “animal rescue volunteering,” you should link to your volunteer registration page.
  • Copy: Users will read this to understand the content of your landing page and determine whether it meets their needs. Ensure your ad copy is specific, concise, and strategically features keywords. You’ll also want to include a call-to-action with action verbs such as “donate,” “sign up,” or “support” to tell users what next step you want them to take.
  • Ad extensions: These allow you to expand your ads with additional information. For instance, sitelink extensions allow you to link to additional landing pages on your website, while call extensions include a button that mobile users can tap to call your organization.

These will result in more compelling ads and ultimately drive more clicks and meaningful traffic to your nonprofit’s website.

3. Consider professional Google Ad Grants management.

A lot goes into managing a Google Ad Grant account between developing compelling ads and meeting ongoing requirements. The last thing you want is your account to be deactivated after not meeting the compliance requirements.

That’s where a professional Google Grants manager can step in to save the day. Turn to a professional to ease your marketing team’s workload through services like:

  • Google Ad Grants applications
  • Campaign development, including keyword research and ad copy development
  • Landing page optimization
  • Ongoing compliance and account reactivation

Professionals know what it takes to stand out on Google Search. They know the ins and outs of the program, so you can sit back and relax knowing that you’re inspiring as many prospects as possible.

Other Resources to Explore

Nonprofit Basics – Learn more nonprofit management essentials by exploring other expert resources.

Hiring a Google Grants Agency: A Guide and 5 Expert Agencies – Explore the role a professional Google Grants manager can play further. Plus, get our top agency recommendations.

What Is A Google Ad Grant? The Ultimate Guide for Nonprofits – Continue researching the basics of the Google Ad Grant with this complete guide from the experts at Getting Attention.

Work with our recommended Google Ad Grants agency.

Graphic of a person sitting at a desk

Nonprofit Basics: Employee Engagement Ideas

As a mission-driven organization, it’s important for your nonprofit to have employees that are invested in and passionate about their work. In other words, it’s critical to the nature of nonprofit work to have engaged employees who want to drive your mission forward and deliver results for your beneficiaries.

While that might seem obvious, it is a little easier said than done. According to Gallup, only 36% of U.S. employees are engaged at work. Nonprofits face unique challenges when it comes to employee engagement, not the least of which is that they have to compete with the for-profit sector for talent and often have limited resources to work with when honing the employee experience. Actively pursuing ways to engage your employees can help with this issue.

What is nonprofit employee engagement?

Employee engagement refers to how your employees feel about their jobs and how invested they are in your organization’s larger goals. Engaged employees are passionate about their work, enjoy their jobs, and feel satisfied with how they are valued and compensated for their efforts. They’re also very loyal to the organizations they work for and are more likely to stay retained in their roles.

Fostering employee engagement and overall satisfaction is an important part of nonprofit HR, which manages all aspects of the employee lifecycle. From recruiting to exit interviews, keeping the entire employee experience in mind can help you strategize to come up with employee engagement ideas that boost employee retention and help you meet employee needs.

5 Ideas for Engaging Your Nonprofit Employees

Here are five of our favorite ideas for engaging your employees:

Graphic describing 5 Ideas for Engaging Your Nonprofit Employees

  • Give them meaningful and challenging work. Menial, repetitive tasks aren’t fun for anyone. Employees should be doing meaningful work that challenges them and helps them tap into their strengths and build new skills. Employees won’t be innovative and excited about their work if they feel their skills are undervalued or that they aren’t really contributing to a larger purpose.
  • Provide opportunities for continued learning and career development. Employees don’t want a stagnant experience. Provide them with opportunities to do things like go to conferences, join professional organizations, and continue their education in other ways. There should also be a clear-cut path for career development and growth so that employees know how they can advance in their roles. For example, employees should have access to knowledge about how they could pursue becoming a manager or director and feel able to discuss those opportunities with their manager.
  • Start an employee recognition program. An employee recognition program sets up a formal framework for acknowledging employees for their work and accomplishments. For example, you might set up a rewards program for when employees meet certain goals (like securing X major gifts), or create an employee of the month program.
  • Hone your organization’s internal culture. Make your organization a fun place to work. Encourage employees to get to know their coworkers by hosting parties and events. Surprise your employees with fun perks to make them feel appreciated. Cultivate an atmosphere of positivity and openness so that concerns don’t fester and employees are comfortable in their work environment.
  • Be transparent with your employees. Being honest about the good and the not-so-good will show your employees that you see them as valuable team members that should be included in organizational happenings. Show your employees that you care about them by addressing issues honestly and focusing on solutions for moving forward. If employees feel like they can bring up issues with management, then you’re more likely to catch potential problems before they’ve fully evolved. And employees who feel cared for are more likely to care about their work.

Nonprofit employee engagement is essential for building up a strong internal team that can drive your mission forward. These ideas can help you fine-tune your own organization’s strategy!

Other Resources to Explore

Nonprofit Basics – Learn more about nonprofit management essentials by exploring other expert resources.

Working With a Nonprofit Human Resources Consultant – An HR consultant can provide a third-party perspective on how your nonprofit handles employee relationships and help you to improve. Learn more in this guide.

Compensation Consulting: The Ultimate Guide (+ Top Firms!) – Compensation affects employee satisfaction. Working with a compensation consultant is a great option for nonprofits looking to hone their approach. Start exploring these recommendations!

This guide explores the basics of volunteer management.

Nonprofit Basics: Volunteer Management

Volunteers are a powerful force for driving your nonprofit’s fundraisers and on-the-ground impact. Long-term volunteers, especially, can provide more than just short-term assistance with events or projects. Rather, their commitment, time, and skills can help you complete your mission and achieve your goals.

Keeping track of your supporters’ involvement is crucial for ensuring they’re in roles where their skills can be utilized and where they’re most needed. By implementing an effective volunteer management strategy, you can empower your volunteers to maximize their contributions toward your cause.

What is volunteer management?

Volunteer management encapsulates the entire process of getting volunteers involved in your mission, supervising their experience with your nonprofit, and thanking them for their efforts.

Some organizations may have more or less hands-on volunteer programs, but the need for effective management to create positive engagement remains the same.

Volunteers who walk away from your nonprofit’s events or activities with a positive experience are much more likely to stay involved in the future. The more invested they feel in your cause, the more eager they’ll be to share their contributions with their family and friends. Consider implementing volunteer management software to improve your programs and enable you to encourage long-term investment from your supporters.

What are the steps for effective volunteer management?

Successful volunteer management requires thoughtful planning, execution, and follow-through. After all, retaining your volunteers is just as essential as attracting them in the first place.

As you prepare to optimize your nonprofit’s volunteer management strategy, focus on these following steps:

This image lists the five steps for effective volunteer management described in the content below.

  1. Recruit volunteers. Dedicate a page on your website to your volunteer program. This page should include details about various volunteering opportunities, required skills and time commitments, as well as your volunteer schedule. Integrate your CRM and website so when you approve a volunteer for a position, it will automatically be reflected on your website. This can be especially useful for volunteer opportunities where you only need a set number of people.
  2. Communicate. Once you’ve recruited volunteers, start establishing strong and productive relationships using your centralized communication system. Keep your volunteers educated about program updates and new opportunities. For instance, be sure to make your volunteers aware of volunteer grant programs for which they may be eligible.
  3. Prepare them for success. An ideal volunteer management strategy provides volunteers with everything they need to participate and succeed. This includes training, supplying any necessary resources, and having a supervisor they can readily turn to for assistance.
  4. Collect data. By gathering detailed information on volunteers’ skills and interests, you’ll be able to delegate the right tasks to the right people. Furthermore, this data can be immensely valuable when you’re measuring and reporting the positive impact of your efforts to donors, grantmakers, the community, and prospective volunteers.
  5. Show appreciation. No volunteer management strategy is complete without promptly recognizing your volunteers for their dedication and hard work. Have plans in place for sending out thank you letters, spotlighting long-term contributors on social media, or even organizing appreciation events.

Your volunteers, by choosing to get involved, are already invested in your cause. With proper volunteer management, you’ll be able to nurture long-term, enthusiastic participation from your existing supporters.

What are corporate volunteer grants?

Corporate giving statistics show that 40% of Fortune 500 companies offer volunteer grant programs. Essentially, corporations with these programs provide funding to nonprofits where their employees have chosen to volunteer their time.

Don’t forget to take advantage of these opportunities by staying on top of your volunteer data and encouraging your contributors to be informed about any programs their companies may offer.

How can volunteer management software help?

Effectively overseeing the various aspects of the volunteer management process doesn’t have to be overwhelming nor time consuming. Volunteer management software is an easy, time-saving solution that allows you to devote your time and resources to the most important parts of your program.

When choosing software to help your volunteer management, look for these important features:

  • Volunteer Records. The right software will enable you to create a comprehensive collection of volunteer profiles, similar to a donor database. By having all of this information accessible online, you can minimize paperwork clutter and stay organized.
  • Projects and Events Calendar. Keep everyone on the same page about volunteer opportunities and events with a virtual calendar. Use this tool to optimize your productivity and create schedules for your volunteers.
  • Segmentation and Communication. Your volunteer management software should offer the ability to segment your contributors into relevant categories for more effective communication. For instance, you can group volunteers based on their involvement history or skills and personalize your messages to them.
  • Data Analytics. Use data collection and custom reporting tools to analyze the impact of your volunteers’ contributions. This information is vital for discovering insights into how you can improve your volunteer program in the future.

By incorporating these digital tools into your volunteer management strategy, you’ll be equipped to provide a more positive and encouraging experience for all of your most dedicated supporters.

Other Resources to Explore

Nonprofit Basics – Learn more nonprofit management essentials by exploring other expert resources.

Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP): A Guide – Salesforce NPSP is one of the top CRMs, and can be a strong foundation for managing your volunteer program. Discover how to leverage NPSP and what apps you can use to further flesh out your volunteer management tools.

Nonprofit Basics: Fundraising Video – A fundraising video can be a powerful way to communicate your nonprofit’s impact story and showcase your volunteers’ accomplishments. Discover how to produce a compelling fundraising video with these basics.

This guide walks through the basics of school management systems.

Nonprofit Basics: A Guide to School Management Systems

To students, school is more than just a source of education. School is a nurturing place for intellectual enrichment, socialization, emotional development, and much more. Technology can empower the way you provide these essential resources to students.

These days, software solutions for schools help teachers and staff manage their day-to-day tasks, from facilitating fee payments to organizing parent-teacher activities. A comprehensive school management system houses the numerous processes you may be juggling under one platform, helping you devote more time and resources to your students and staff.

What is a school management system?

A school management system refers to the technology designed to help schools conduct their operations, administrative duties, and activities in a streamlined and efficient manner. After all, much planning, paperwork, and tracking goes into a successful institution.

Whether you’re trying to figure out a payment solution to collect field trip dues or track student attendance, comprehensive school management software can alleviate much of that burden. Having tools to organize initiatives and communicate with everyone involved can be rewarding for much more than just student management and academic planning.

The right school management software can be easily incorporated into your school’s financial processes, communication strategies, and sports and club activities.

What are the benefits of a school management system?

One of the most obvious advantages of school management software is efficiency. By incorporating all school-related duties and tasks onto one platform, you can optimize the productivity of your administrative efforts. With an effective school management system, your teachers and staff can build a collection of valuable data such as student information, parents’ financial details, and email lists.

Your school can benefit from school management software in areas such as:

  • Students and Academics. To streamline the process of managing student data, look for software that integrates with your current Student Information System. Track attendance for classes and programs all with the convenience provided by your management software.
  • School Fundraising. This software can help boost your school’s marketing and fundraising efforts with tools for sending out personalized emails to specific groups in your system. By establishing a communication strategy that is tailored to your supporters’ needs and preferences, you can encourage greater donor participation and contributions.
  • Payments and Registration. For school-related events and activities, simplify the dues collection process to be more convenient and navigable for organizers and participants. Online registration payment processing through your school management system ensures that students and parents can complete any required tasks in a timely manner.
  • Parent-School Communication. Keeping parents informed about relevant updates is fundamental to fostering trust and cultivating productive parent-school relationships. School management software can make sending out quick announcements easy and organized. Parents can also opt in or out of communications and reach out with questions or concerns at any time.

Keeping a school running smoothly requires overseeing many moving parts and tracking all sorts of data. The right school management software can be both labor- and time-saving, helping you eliminate any unnecessary roadblocks and maximize the efficiency of your efforts.

What other school-related programs can this software help with?

The advantages of a school management system can extend beyond basic school operations to the summer, when students are out of class.

Consider applying digital afterschool management tools to aid you in operating afterschool activities, summer school, clubs, and camps. Sports and library management duties can also significantly benefit from an integrated platform.

What are important school management features to consider?

When deciding on a school management system, focus on those with comprehensive features. Take stock of your school’s priorities and activities to make informed decisions on which software would work best for you.

Some essential features to look out for are:

This image displays the four features of a school management system described in the content below.

  • Online Attendance Tracking. Having detailed and accurate information about student attendance is crucial for both their safety and involvement in school. A digital attendance tracker can make this process as easy and accurate as possible.
  • Fees and Dues Processing. Save time and resources by implementing online and contactless payment options. This will give parents the flexibility to conveniently and securely pay fees through their preferred payment method.
  • Communication Management. Find software that facilitates communication between your school, parents, and staff. You should be able to create email and text lists to keep everyone informed and updated online.
  • Reporting Statistics and Tools. Reporting is just as essential to your operations as planning and carrying them out. A school management system that offers statistics and reporting tools can provide important insights for improving your school’s administrative processes.

A 100% SaaS solution can free up any complications that naturally come with managing and keeping track of student, staff, and parent paperwork. For any school looking to optimize its processes and program administration, a school management system can significantly advance your efforts.

Other Resources to Explore

Nonprofit Basics – Learn more nonprofit management essentials by exploring other expert resources.

Nonprofit Basics: Read-a-thon Fundraisers – Fundraising is vital to every school’s educational, sports, and club activities. Learn more about how to organize a read-a-thon for your next school fundraiser.

School Registration Management Software: 2022 Buyer’s Guide – Read about the most effective school registration management software according to your school’s needs in this guide.

This guide explores the basics of sponsorship levels.

Nonprofit Basics: Sponsorship Levels

For nonprofit organizations, your relationships with corporations and businesses are indispensable for your financial success and growth. As you prepare for upcoming fundraising events, consider creating sponsorship levels to maximize corporate support.

Presenting sponsor packages to corporations can alleviate time constraints and financial burdens on your fundraising team, as well as encourage a wider range of businesses to engage in corporate philanthropy toward your nonprofit’s initiatives.

What are sponsorship levels?

Sponsorship levels are tiered options for businesses to contribute funds and resources for a nonprofit event. To cultivate productive nonprofit-corporation relationships, both parties must work in sync toward collective and individual goals. For instance, when businesses choose to sponsor your charity walk or gala dinner, your marketing team can offer them increased exposure and brand recognition associated with that event.

By implementing premade sponsor packages, you can strategically optimize these relationships with corporate sponsors and attract even more engagement from businesses.

With sponsorship levels, corporations can choose how deeply they’d like to get involved with your nonprofit. Depending on their financial capabilities and dedication to your cause, they can conveniently select from predetermined options. For instance, you could have three simple levels for low-range giving, mid-range giving, and high-range giving.

What are the benefits of sponsorship levels?

Establishing sponsorship levels for your next nonprofit event can be an effective way to boost fundraising revenue. These attractive packages can broadcast enticing benefits to corporations as well, compelling more businesses to contribute to your efforts.

Here are some main advantages associated with creating sponsorship levels:

  • Maximized fundraising revenue. Sponsor gifts can go a long way toward achieving your event’s fundraising goals. In fact, they can be much easier to solicit and secure than individual donations from event attendees. By strategically tailoring your interactions with corporate sponsors, you can maximize their contributions.
  • Increased flexibility. Make it easy for businesses to engage with your nonprofit by providing them with the flexibility to involve themselves as much or as little as they desire. Laying out the options in a clear and informative format will ensure that they can easily choose a suitable package according to their priorities and capabilities.
  • Conserved time and resources. Having predetermined packages for corporations will simplify the workload for your fundraising team. Rather than having to figure out customized packages for each business that chooses to contribute to your event, you can point them toward your predetermined comprehensive sponsor packages.
  • Expanded nonprofit-business relationships. There are various ways for corporations to make a positive impact toward your nonprofit’s mission. For instance, smaller businesses can help with marketing efforts or help your organization build closer relationships with your local community. By opening up options for all types of businesses to promote your cause, you’ll discover numerous benefits beyond just financial gifts.

How do I create sponsorship levels?

To get started with incorporating sponsorship levels into an effective fundraising program, first examine your current resources. Make sure you have the proper digital fundraising tools and relevant donor profile data to make informed decisions about your tiered packages.

To create an effective fundraising program with sponsorship levels, you’ll first need to evaluate your organization’s goals and resources to determine what will work best in your case.

Follow these comprehensive steps to set up sponsorship levels for your nonprofit:

This image lists the five steps for creating sponsorship levels described in the content below.

  1. Examine your fundraising goal. This step is fundamental to any fundraising event or activity. Determine how much of your overall financial goal should be raised from sponsorships and some of the most effective ways to allocate those corporate funds. This information will guide you through setting your sponsorship level amounts.
  2. Determine your sponsorship level amounts. Refer back to your event budget and fundraising goal to make informed decisions on your sponsorship level amounts. These should be realistic figures that you can expect to reach from your corporate sponsors.
  3. Incorporate benefits. For each sponsorship level, think of benefits to include for businesses who participate. These additions will incentivize those who’re still considering whether to contribute and demonstrate appreciation to those who’ve chosen a sponsor package. Primarily, you can offer marketing or event benefits such as tickets or reserved tables to your sponsors, along with tax returns for charitable activity.
  4. Name your sponsor packages. Ensure that businesses have an easy way to identify each sponsorship level and its associated benefits by naming them. These could be as basic as bronze, silver, and gold. Another appealing option is to brainstorm names that reflect your nonprofit’s cause or the event’s theme.
  5. Strategize your outreach. Use your newly created packages to tailor your communications and sponsorship requests. Be mindful of each business’s size and resources as you reach out about suitable sponsorship levels.

Take the time to align your team on your fundraising goals and donor expectations to create sponsorship levels that are optimized for your organization.

What are examples of benefits to include in a sponsor package?

The benefits you offer for each sponsorship level should increase with each tier. A common benefit involves featuring the business on your social media platforms and website for positive marketing. You could provide sponsors with the opportunity to name events or programs as well.

As you’re coming up with ideas, get creative! Think of ways to incentivize corporations with varying goals and values to contribute to your fundraising efforts for years to come.

Other Resources to Explore

Nonprofit Basics – Learn more nonprofit management essentials by exploring other expert resources.

Matching Gifts: The Ultimate Guide for Nonprofits in 2023 – Matching gifts are another popular way for corporations to contribute to charitable causes. This guide discusses the basics of optimizing matching gift donations for your nonprofit.

Corporate Social Responsibility: The CSR Guide for 2022  – Corporations strive to contribute to society through philanthropic efforts and programs. Learn more about corporate social responsibility and its relationship to nonprofits here.

This guide covers the steps to nonprofit donation requests.

Nonprofit Basics: Donation Request

Nonprofits require consistent funding to work toward their missions, making effective fundraising campaigns crucial for success. Just having robust fundraising software isn’t enough—you need a compelling reason for people to donate. A well-timed, well-written donation request provides this reason—it can connect passionate supporters to giving opportunities.

What is a donation request?

When a nonprofit organization asks its supporters to make a donation, that’s a donation request. The request can be made in different ways, such as in person or by phone call, and the type of donation can also vary. Having compelling and thoughtful donation requests is crucial for nonprofit organizations to get the funds they need.

5 steps of the donation request process

Let’s review the steps to making a donation request.

There are five steps to the donation request process.

1. Research who to ask

Here are the different groups you can ask for donations:

  • Current donors. These are individuals who have previously made gifts to your nonprofit. Consider pitching a recurring donation plan to previous donors—recurring donors give 42% more per year than one-time donors.
  • Prospective donors. Prospective donors are interested in your organization and your cause, but haven’t donated yet. Implement an emotional appeal in your donation request to these individuals to convince them to make a gift.
  • Businesses. Businesses sometimes offer corporate philanthropy programs, encouraging their employees to give to nonprofits. According to fundraising statistics gathered by 360MatchPro, 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs and 40% offer volunteer grant programs. Reach out to a company that already offers a corporate giving program for a better chance at securing donations.
  • Foundations. Large charitable foundations are often able to donate large sums of money to nonprofits. However, the process is more complicated than picking up the phone and asking an individual for a donation. Foundations often require applications to be submitted before they will even consider donating.

Interacting with so many donor groups can be confusing, especially when you consider that there are smaller subgroups with different interests. Consider donor segmentation to keep track of your different donor groups. This will allow you to easily tailor your content to each donor group, making the content more likely to resonate with them.

2. Decide how to make the donation request

After deciding who your donation request is targeted towards, you should choose how you will make your request. You can make your ask through a variety of means, including:

  • Phone. Phone call donation requests are best made to current or prospective individual donors. These requests are a good opportunity to strengthen your connection with your donors and share your passion for your nonprofit’s mission.
  • Email. While you can automate these emails to send them to a large number of people, make sure to personalize them by addressing the donor by their first and last name. This will help you bond with your potential donors and show that you care about them.
  • Text. People nowadays spend large amounts of time on their mobile devices. Sending a text is a quick and inoffensive way to get someone’s attention. Before making your donation request via text, confirm that your online donation pages are mobile-optimized for your donors’ convenience.
  • Social media. Asking for donations on social media allows you to reach a wider audience. Consider using fun graphics or even videos to appeal to followers.
  • In person. In-person donation requests often occur when interfacing with major donors, businesses, or foundations. Because these groups can often make large gifts, practice your pitch. Confidence will encourage them to make donations.

Depending on which donor group you’ve decided to ask, these request methods will have varying levels of efficacy. Consider which method would work best for the donor group you’re targeting, and then make your ask.

3. Make your ask

Here are a few best practices for when you sit down to create your donation request. Each request should be:

  • Inspiring. 90% of millennial donors are motivated to give when they connect with a nonprofit’s mission. Inspire your donors by telling the story of your mission and giving them compelling reasons for why your cause is important. You can include inspiring content like direct quotes from people your organization has supported or images of volunteers during a volunteer workday.
  • Specific. Most likely, you’re fundraising for a particular event or goal. Be specific about what your goal is to help donors understand why you’re looking for gifts. You can also include donation amount suggestions, such as $10 or $25.
  • Direct. Don’t beat around the bush—make it clear what you’re asking for. If your potential donors are confused by your request, the chance that they will follow through is very low.
  • Personalized. You can personalize your donation request by addressing the donor by their first and last name. If they have donated to your nonprofit before, you might consider mentioning the amount they previously donated.
  • Urgent. You can add urgency by including imperatives in your calls to action (CTAs). For example, your CTA might be “donate now” or “help puppies find a home today!” You can also increase urgency by informing donors that they have a limited amount of time to donate to help you reach a time-based fundraising goal.
  • Creative. Having a creative request will make potential donors more likely to interact with it. For example, you might choose a creative subject line for an email request. Or, if marketing on social media, you could post pictures of volunteers or even videos to draw the eyes of potential donors.

Your donation software should make it easy for donors to make gifts to your nonprofit. Effective donation software will make donating streamlined and convenient, and will offer integrations that simplify your team’s workflow. For example, if your donations software integrates with your donor management system, you can automatically personalize donation requests with donors’ names and past gift amounts.

4. Accept rejection gracefully or say thank you

Keep in mind that what you’re asking for is a big deal: you’re requesting that your potential donors part with some of their hard-earned money. Although many people will be happy to donate, many people will not want to. That’s okay! Accept the rejection gratefully and thank them for their time. Remember that just because an individual doesn’t want to make a gift now doesn’t mean they won’t be open to it in the future.

On the other hand, if you do secure a donation, make sure that you say thank you! Your gratitude should be appropriate for the size of the gift made. Consider sending a letter or an email showing your gratitude and letting donors know what exactly their money is going towards. For major donors, you could host a thank-you party or gala.

5. Stay in touch

You should be communicating with interested individuals even outside of making donation requests. If a potential donor perceives your organization as only reaching out for funds, they might feel as though they are being taken advantage of. It’s important to offer your donors a sense of community and to show that you’re grateful for their support outside of donations.

Remember that people will interact with your organization if they connect with your mission and are interested in what you’re doing. Those people may not be donors now, but they can still be donors in the future. It’s important to cultivate your relationships by fostering ongoing donor engagement.

The donation request process may seem daunting, but at the end of the day, your supporters want to help you out. As long as you show that you appreciate them, they will be willing to make gifts to your organization. If you’re still feeling unsure, take a look at the donation request email template below for some inspiration!

Donation request email template

Dear [donor’s name],

My name is [name here], and I’m the [role] at [nonprofit’s name]. We at [nonprofit’s name] are dedicated to [nonprofit’s mission]. Through [actions nonprofit has taken], we are taking steps toward a better future.

[Write an emotional anecdote here about your nonprofit, perhaps giving one specific example of someone/something you helped. For example, if you run an animal shelter, you could add an image of a dog you helped find a home, and write a brief description of the process.]

While we’re making progress towards positive change, [nonprofit’s name] still has a lot to do. We need your support to [new goal, project, or event you’re asking donations for].

Would you consider donating [monetary amount, items, volunteer time, services, etc.] to help us with our goal? Your donation will be used to [state a specific action/goal that the donation will be used for and what the impact of the donation will be]. We would greatly appreciate it!

If you wish to help, please fill out the attached form or call us at [phone number]. If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them and give you more information about [nonprofit’s name].

Please join us! With your donation, we’ll be one step closer to [mission here]!



[nonprofit website]


If you’re interested in other related resources, you can explore the ones below!

Other Resources to Explore

Nonprofit Basics – Learn more nonprofit management essentials by exploring other expert resources.

Corporate Giving Programs: The Ultimate Fundraising Guide – Interested in how businesses can help out nonprofits? Take a look at this guide to corporate giving programs.

215+ Amazing Fundraising Ideas for Your Organization – If you’re looking for inspiration for your next fundraising event, check out this article.

Live auctions are an effective tool for fundraising, engaging nonprofit supporters in your event.

Live Auction – Nonprofit Catalog

A live auction has the potential to raise significant funds for your organization. When your auction is held live, you give donors the chance to be recognized publicly for their giving, increasing the desire to give big. Additionally, a talented auctioneer can use the time-limited nature of a live auction to your organization’s advantage to yield the highest return on investment possible. By planning your live auction strategically, you can use it to build the momentum of your event and maximize giving.

What is a Live Auction?

A live auction is the sale of items or experiences that guests at your in-person fundraising event can bid on. An auctioneer or fundraising host will sell the items to your guests live, who will bid until the highest bid is made and the auction item is won.

You can plan a live auction for hybrid or in-person audiences. There will just be a couple of key differences in how you plan your event. For virtual audiences, we recommend having an online auction.

Making Your Live Auction Strategic

Before your event, you’ll secure your live auction items by making strategic asks. Contrary to popular belief, having more items or experiences to sell doesn’t mean you’ll make more money. Focus instead on the value of the package. People’s attention is limited, so we suggest having no more than 12 packages. Many organizations have successful live auctions with only 5-6 packages. The more desirable the package, the higher price it’ll sell for.

Pro tip: Each live auction package will take about 5 minutes to sell. Be sure you have a strategy behind how long your live auction will be so that your guests stay engaged and donors keep giving.

Auction packages like alcohol collections, travel experiences, dining, and entertainment often sell well.

What to Solicit for Your Live Auction

Auction packages that sell well for one audience won’t necessarily do so for another. Know your audience and know who’ll show up live and in the room for your fundraising event. Who are they, what are their interests, and what do they value?

Generally, top-selling packages include:

  • Alcohol or wine collections
  • Staycations and travel packages
  • Unique experiences
  • Dining and entertainment

Avoid items that are subjective like:

Remember, focus on making your live auction packages desirable for donors and empower yourself to get creative! You might even consider combining related experiences into one package to create incentive. For example, you could pair tickets to a local show with an upscale dining experience to give donors the feeling that they’re getting something extra special.

Choosing an Auctioneer for Your Live Auction

Not all auctioneers are a fit for nonprofit fundraising events. You’ll want to hire a professional auctioneer with a Benefit Auction Specialist (BAS) certification. Auctioneers with BAS training will understand how to sell your live auction packages using your mission language rather than relying solely on the items to sell themselves. Additionally, while some auctioneers have the skills to emcee your event, we strongly suggest you hire a separate professional for each.

A Benefit Auction Specialist will help you advance your fundraising in the following ways:

  • By using pre-commits and sequencing to get the highest return on investment
  • By creating momentum from donors in the room to dictate their pace rather than relying on a clocked approach
  • By speaking to your mission in fun and creative ways

Live Auction Description Formats

While your Benefit Auctioneer will help you sell your live auction packages to your audience, you still have to write auction descriptions for the whole experience to be effective.

You’ll need to write separate descriptions for the following:

  • Print program: Your print program should include a full description of each auction item with the most complete information and fine print.
  • Script: This description should include fewer details to be more appropriate for spoken word.
  • PowerPoint: This description should include photographs and just a few of the most compelling details formatted in bullet points.

Writing Your Live Auction Package Descriptions

The more details you know about each of your live auction packages, the more equipped you’ll be to write engaging and informative descriptions that stand out in your promotional materials.

Follow these best practices when writing your live auction descriptions:

  • Give the auction package a clear and detailed title, such as “5 Night Getaway in Maui for 2”, instead of “A Trip to Hawaii.” The title sets donors up to know what they’re bidding on.
  • Be clear about the number of people who can participate, both in your title and in your description, especially if the auction package includes travel.
  • Use numerals throughout the package description for easy scanning (i.e. say “2,” not “two”).
  • Specify unique details that make the package feel luxe (i.e. “Enjoy your stay at the 5-star, award-winning hotel that was recently voted as having ‘Best Views’ by Travel Oregon”).
  • Include expiration dates and restrictions so donors are fully understand what they’re buying.

You’re now ready for your live auction! With some strategic planning and coaching and the help of a Benefit Auctioneer, you can have a successful live auction that helps carry your mission forward.

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Basics –  Learn more about nonprofit management essentials by exploring other expert resources.

Top 7 Ways to Keep Your Audience Engaged During the Live Auction – Get creative ideas for how to make your live auction a compelling experience for your guests.

Live Auctions: How To Raise More With Consignment Packages – Learn all about consignment packages and how they can benefit you in your live auction.

This guide covers the basics of the fundraising thermometer.

Nonprofit Basics: Fundraising Thermometer

Fundraising campaigns are a nonprofit’s bread and butter when it comes to getting donations. Since these campaigns can last for days or weeks, donors and participants need to be able to track the progress made. Nonprofits use a variety of marketing tactics to promote their progress, including social media posts, email reminders, and other forms of outreach. A fundraising thermometer can be another effective tool to show your campaign’s progress and get supporters excited about helping to reach your goal.

What is a fundraising thermometer?

A fundraising thermometer is a graphic that represents the progress a nonprofit organization has made throughout a fundraising campaign. A fundraising thermometer can be a tangible visual, such as a poster or drawing on a whiteboard, that is updated as the fundraising campaign progresses. It can also be a virtual representation that is automatically updated as new donations come in.

This is an example of a fundraising thermometer.

Fundraising Thermometer FAQs

When can you use a fundraising thermometer?

Fundraising thermometers can be useful additions to your marketing strategy for almost any event. However, they can be particularly effective for events like:

  • Auctions/galas. These events attract wealthy donors willing to make large donations to help your cause. Make the most of this and maximize auction fundraising by including a fundraising thermometer, incentivizing donors to make larger gifts.
  • Crowdfunding campaigns. In crowdfunding campaigns, nonprofit organizations create pages on crowdfunding platforms, and then share these pages on their website and through social media for greater visibility and outreach. Having a thermometer on your fundraising page will let potential donors see how close they are to reaching the next goal, which may prompt them to make a donation.
  • Giving Tuesday campaigns. Giving Tuesday is an annual global giving movement that takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the U.S. Donations can be monetary or in-kind. Since these campaigns incentivize giving on one day, including a fundraising thermometer will allow people to see the impact they are making and encourage them to give more to fill up the thermometer.
  • Matching gift drives. Corporate gift matching is a type of corporate philanthropy initiative where an employer matches the amount that their employee donates to a nonprofit organization. With a fundraising thermometer, employees can more easily understand your goals, and it will be easier for them to help you reach those goals when their employers are matching their donations.
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. In order to support your nonprofit, individual supporters can create personal campaign pages to collect donations from family members and peers. Because this type of fundraising relies on individuals, it can be difficult for them to know how much money everyone has raised for the campaign as a whole. With a fundraising thermometer, all supporters will be able to easily find the total amount raised.

Fundraising thermometers can be used as an engaging visual for nearly any event to encourage greater giving. Regardless of if the event is in-person or online, you can always find a place for your thermometer that will provide maximum impact.

Where can you display a fundraising thermometer?

Depending on the type of fundraising campaign you’re hosting, you might choose to display your fundraising thermometer in person or online. Here are a few options for where to showcase a fundraising thermometer:

  • Your website. You might show the thermometer on your homepage or event landing page. Potential donors will easily see that you currently have a campaign running, and participants will have no trouble figuring out how much money has been raised.
  • Your social media pages. Depending on the duration of your event, you might consider posting to your social media pages daily or weekly with an updated version of your thermometer. Participants will be able to accurately tell how much money they raised the week prior, and how much more they need to raise to hit your next goal.
  • Your email newsletter. When holding a fundraising campaign, it’s a good idea to send an email newsletter informing constituents how the campaign is going. You can include the thermometer near the top of the email as an engaging visual, with a link back to your campaign page so interested parties can easily learn more. As the event progresses, you can send updated versions of the thermometer in your following newsletters.
  • Your event space (for in-person fundraising events). Place the thermometer in an easily visible location and update it frequently throughout your event. You can consider doing small shoutouts when goals are met, perhaps even to the donor who made it possible.
  • Your organization’s headquarters. Having the thermometer in your organization’s headquarters will inspire your employees to continue their hard work towards meeting your goal. Make sure that it’s easily visible and regularly updated.

Aside from encouraging greater giving, fundraising thermometers are a great way for viewers to quickly grasp how close you are to your next goal. You can make your thermometer as simple or as complicated as you want, depending on the tools you use to create it.

How can you create a fundraising thermometer?

Fundraising thermometers can be in person or digital. You have a few options for creating your thermometer:

  1. You can use a free tool like Bloomerang’s fundraising thermometer template. You can use this type of graphic in your email newsletters to earn more clicks to your campaign page.
  2. You can use a graphic design tool like Adobe Illustrator or Canva to create a thermometer graphic and update it as needed. Consider making an animated version that donors will be able to see filling up after they make their donation.
  3. You can print out the thermometer on a large poster board or sheet of paper and use markers or smaller pieces of paper to fill it in. This type of fundraising thermometer is less formal than the options above and would be a great fit for your organization’s headquarters.

Making a fundraising thermometer doesn’t have to be difficult, and including one in your fundraising activities helps you garner more engagement and donations. It’s worth taking the time and effort to make one!

Other Resources to Explore

Nonprofit Basics – Learn more nonprofit management essentials by exploring other expert resources.

8+ Quick Fundraising Ideas that Work [Updated 2022] – Looking for a fundraising idea that might offer a good opportunity to make a fundraising thermometer? Check out this list.

4 DIY Fundraising Ideas to Boost Participation & Donations – Read more about DIY campaigns, one of the fastest-growing types of peer-to-peer fundraising.