Online fundraising is a popular method for earning donations used by individual fundraisers and nonprofits alike. These campaigns leverage well-designed websites, livestreaming platforms, social media, and other digital tools to raise money for their causes in a fast and effective way.
But if you’ve yet to make the move to virtual strategies, you might be asking yourself why online fundraising matters for organizations like yours. Perhaps you feel as if you’ve made do with traditional fundraising strategies for this long, so there’s no reason to shake things up now. However, these modern fundraising ideas and resources have the power to bring your campaigns to the next level.
Double the Donation’s fundraising statistics report that overall, online fundraising revenue has increased by 23% over the previous year. The best part is, that number is only projected to grow. That's because virtual fundraisers, when done right, can generate revenue and help your nonprofit build relationships with supporters.
So if you’re on the fence about adopting online fundraising tactics for your organization, we’ve provided three key reasons why online fundraising campaigns can help you:
- Raise money from a safe, social distance
- Break through geographic boundaries
- Increase awareness about your cause
The online fundraising space is only going to grow, so your nonprofit needs to be ready to meet it head on and adapt your strategies to benefit from it. Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!
1. Raise money from a safe, social distance
Many organizations have long relied on face-to-face fundraising strategies to raise money for their respective causes. Yet, due to COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines, these tactics are not so practical anymore.
Now, virtual fundraisers allow you to continuously engage your supporters while following health and safety protocols. This way, your fundraisers can appeal to their own personal networks from the comfort of their own homes, and supporters can make their contributions online and from their phones!
To get started raising money online, you’ll first need an easy-to-use online fundraising page specific to the type of campaign you choose to host. There are many crowdfunding websites to choose from which offer a fantastic online fundraising opportunity, or you can partner with a product fundraising company that equips you with your own online fundraising page.
2. Break through geographic boundaries
Before the popularity of online giving, you were likely only able to accept donations from supporters in a close geographic area, such as those who were able to purchase an item from your door-to-door merchandise sale or drop off a check at your office. If your organization was based out of Florida, you weren’t likely to get a ton of support from other states.
Now, with online fundraising campaigns, it’s just as easy to give from across the country as it is from across the street. That means you can exponentially increase your network of potential support to include just about anyone.
This is especially true if you take a peer-to-peer approach to online fundraising. Here’s how it works:
- You’ll recruit supporters to fundraise on your behalf. For example, imagine you’re hosting a school fundraiser in Arkansas and you have a hundred students selling your fundraising products online.
- Your supporters share on social media, text, email, etc. Let’s say one student, Sally, shares your school’s online fundraising page with her grandmother who lives in New Jersey. Grandma quickly and easily buys a discount card from thousands of miles away.
- Your supporters’ followers might even promote your campaign as well. Now picture Sally’s grandmother sharing your campaign page via her own Facebook profile. Perhaps an old family friend sees the post and decides to contribute all the way from Alaska. It just keeps spreading!
With every purchase or gift, you can use your CRM or other donor management software to keep track of new supporters. At the conclusion of your fundraiser, it’ll be exciting to look at your campaign’s overall reach and see how far your fundraising efforts have spread.
3. Increase awareness about your cause
Anyone who’s savvy with digital marketing knows that it’s a great way to get the word out about something you care about. With online fundraisers, you get the multi-faceted benefits of raising money and awareness for your campaign simultaneously.
Online fundraisers are also a great way to get in touch with new, first-time, and prospective donors who might otherwise have never heard about your fundraising campaign, let alone your organization and its mission.
Look at it this way: recipients of your direct mail and other traditional appeals are likely already dedicated supporters of your cause. They’ve signed up for a mailing list or sent in a previous donation. While this is certainly a great way to reach existing supporters, if you want to expand your reach and inform new individuals about the work you’re doing, the digital realm is definitely the way to go.
Here are a few tried-and-true tips for increasing awareness of your cause with online fundraisers:
- Encourage supporters to share your online fundraising pages even if they can’t donate. Sometimes your dedicated supporters will be unable to contribute financially to your fundraisers. Make sure you let them know that their social media shares can be just as impactful to your campaigns!
- Share updates about your campaign’s progress online. Supporters love being able to track and follow along with your progress toward an overall goal, and it might even encourage individuals to give a bit more. Many online fundraising platforms will provide an automatically updating fundraising thermometer embedded in your fundraising page, but it’s also a good idea to share milestones on social media as well. Encourage your volunteers, staff members, and board members to engage with these posts so more people see them!
- Begin the donor stewardship process immediately for first-time donors. Be sure to thank donors for their contributions, share their donation’s specific impact, and begin forming personal connections with each individual. Then you can boost donor retention and keep your newest supporters coming back to give time and time again.
As an added bonus, when you host a branded merchandise sale as a virtual fundraising campaign, your buyers will essentially function as walking billboards for your cause whenever they sport your hat or t-shirt out and about. That way, you can continue to spread awareness about your organization and its mission in the future without even lifting a finger.
All in all, online fundraising campaigns have the potential to bring your organization to the next level by allowing you to raise money at a safe distance, break through previously existing geographical boundaries, and significantly increase awareness for your cause. And when you have the right virtual fundraising tools to succeed, you’re sure to see these key benefits and more. Good luck!