More and more nonprofits are implementing DIY (do-it-yourself) fundraising in their yearly fundraising strategy–and for good reason! DIY fundraising offers your nonprofit a more hands-off approach and gives the reins to your most loyal supporters. In turn, your supporters can create an engaging, creative campaign that pulls in more support for your nonprofit!

This style of peer-to-peer fundraising can boost your organization’s revenue, expand your reach, and help your supporters feel more connected to your organization. According to the 2022 Giving Experience Study, social giving–which includes DIY and peer-to-peer fundraising– continues to grow. 1 in 3 US adults said they participated in some sort of social giving and/or fundraising activity in the 12 months spanning April 2021-April 2022. 

Because DIY fundraisers are fairly open-ended, volunteers can use this flexibility to come up with a campaign that’s meaningful to them and engages their personal networks, converting family and friends from first-time donors into longtime donors of your nonprofit. Consider sharing these top fundraising ideas with your supporters to spark their creativity:

By empowering volunteers to take on a DIY fundraiser, your organization will be able to strengthen its fundraising strategy and better reach its goals. But before you can unleash your volunteers to put their creative ideas into action, you’ll need to set them up with the right fundraising capabilities.

Setting Up DIY Fundraising for Your Volunteers

Although your volunteers will do most of the heavy lifting, you’ll still need to provide them with the capabilities to run a successful DIY fundraiser. Take the following steps to make DIY fundraising a reality for your nonprofit:

  • Select peer-to-peer fundraising software. Peer-to-peer fundraising software can facilitate the set-up process for volunteers, making it easier to get a DIY fundraiser off the ground. This way, supporters can spend more time where it matters most—marketing their DIY campaigns widely. An effective peer-to-peer fundraising software solution will have a full range of user-friendly features like customizable campaign pages, social media integration, live streaming, and text donation alerts and replies. 
  • Give supporters instructions on how to use peer-to-peer tools. Once you’ve picked fundraising software that best addresses your nonprofit’s needs, make sure to provide volunteers with instructions on how to use it. For example, a critical part of a DIY fundraiser is personalized campaign pages, so it’s important your fundraisers know how to create and make these pages live. Fill your supporters in on any sharing tools your peer-to-peer software offers (such as automatic Instagram or Facebook integration) so they can easily market their campaign to their personal networks and beyond. 
  • Support your volunteers as needed throughout their campaigns. In case any technical issues or general questions pop up about how to enlist more support, make sure someone on your nonprofit team is available to provide assistance. Your volunteers shouldn’t feel like they’re completely on their own! Your added support will help them feel more confident in leading a DIY fundraiser. Plus, they’ll feel more valued by your organization.

If your nonprofit has led a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign in the past, be sure to share any strategies that worked well with your volunteers. This removes the mystery of a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, especially if it’s a volunteer’s first time leading or participating in one. As a result of your guidance, volunteers will be more likely to lead a successful DIY fundraiser.

Now that you know how to best prepare your supporters for DIY fundraising, let’s dive into some impactful fundraising ideas to share with volunteers! 

Idea 1: Social Media Challenge

With social media’s popularity all around the world, a challenge is an easy way for supporters to get the word out about their DIY campaign. This DIY fundraising idea has a lot of room for creativity, doesn’t involve too much planning, and is expense-free for your nonprofit.

When creating a social media challenge, your supporters should follow these steps:

  • Decide which social media platform you’ll use. This will be important when deciding what kind of challenge you want to create—one that’s photo-based, video-based, or is more text-based. For example, TikTok is video-based and Facebook combines images and text. It might be helpful for your supporters to consider where their own personal networks are spending most of their time. After all, the goal of a DIY campaign is to raise as much money as possible among friends, families, coworkers, and so on. If their personal networks are spending most of their time on Instagram, then this might be the best platform for them to focus their efforts on. 
  • Create an engaging challenge that’s relevant to your nonprofit. A successful social media challenge should excite people and help them learn more about your organization. For example, your supporters can ask people to post a video explaining why they’re supporting your cause. Or, your volunteers can ask people to post a selfie holding a sign with a hashtag and steps on how to donate. Figure out how you can make your challenge both educational and fun. 
  • Make donating an easy experience. Make sure your supporters provide a link to their fundraising page directly on their social media platform so people know how to give. If your peer-to-peer software has text-to-give features, your volunteers should let their networks know about this. 

Your supporters should tag friends to pick up momentum for their campaign! Each person that participates in the challenge can then tag three additional friends. This will help your nonprofit build brand awareness and reach new people. 

Idea 2: Birthday Fundraiser

Instead of asking for a personal gift, your supporters can request donations to your nonprofit. You’ve likely encountered birthday fundraisers on your Facebook feed, where it’s becoming more and more popular for people to turn birthdays into exciting giving opportunities. In fact, according to the OneCause guide to birthday fundraisers, Facebook users raised more than $300 million for charitable causes within the first year this feature was added. 

This type of DIY campaign will introduce your organization to new donors, helping your nonprofit boost its donor acquisition rate. Plus, your volunteers will feel good knowing they gave back to a great cause on their special day. 

To make a birthday fundraiser successful, volunteers should create engaging campaign pages that explain why they’re supporting your cause. Give your volunteers detailed instructions on how they can add relevant photos and videos and establish a total fundraising goal. Fundraising goals help motivate people to give more in order to meet or exceed it. Once your volunteers are ready to go live with their fundraising page, they should share the link widely across social media to garner enough support. 

Idea 3: 24-Hour Giving Day

Giving Days are a great way for nonprofits to reach their donation goals quickly. From Giving Tuesday to national affinity days like World Mental Health Day, there are plenty of opportunities for your volunteers to choose a giving day that’s meaningful to them and your organization (and raise additional revenue in the process). 

According to 360MatchPro’s fundraising statistics, Giving Tuesday continues growing each year and raised almost $2 billion last year. The reason these fundraisers tend to be a huge success is because of their urgency. Instead of taking place over a week or month, donors only have 24 hours to help a volunteer reach their fundraising goal. This stirs up excitement and encourages people to donate quickly. 

Because of their brevity, giving day campaigns require a lot of marketing. Your nonprofit can support your volunteers’ fundraising pages by sharing them on your social media platforms and emailing/texting links to supporters. Make sure your volunteers are posting updates on their fundraising goal throughout the day to pull in more support. 

Idea 4: Event-based Fundraiser

To attract more donors, your volunteers can pair their DIY fundraiser with a fun event. An engaging in-person or virtual activity can get donors eager to support your mission. There are many events your volunteers can organize to boost excitement for their fundraiser, such as a:

  • Cooking class. This great hands-on activity can take place in several settings, from a cooking classroom at a culinary school to a volunteer’s own kitchen. Volunteers can lead the event if they have cooking experience, or reach out to a professional or local chef in the community to teach the class. To reduce expenses, volunteers can even inquire about forming a corporate sponsorship with a culinary business/restaurant so they’ll cover the costs of the event. Make sure your volunteers set up a registration page with an entry fee to earn revenue for your organization. 
  • Car wash. This popular fundraising event is bound to bring in donations. Your volunteers (and anyone in their personal network willing to help) will organize a time and place for people to come by with their cars. Volunteers will need soap, sponges, and buckets which your nonprofit can finance or help collect through in-kind donations. Your volunteers should charge a fee for each car wash, which can be completed in person or online. 
  • Themed Walk-a-thon. A walk-a-thon offers supporters a chance to get together and get active with their community for a great cause. While this event is often held in person, it can be held virtually so people anywhere in the world can participate. With a virtual walk-a-thon, simply provide a time period for supporters to get up and get moving anywhere that’s near their home, like their neighborhood or local park. To further boost excitement, you can add a theme to your walk-a-thon, such as dressing up in a costume. Volunteers can charge a registration fee and have participants accept pledges from their personal networks for how long they can walk. 

Make sure your volunteers provide additional opportunities to donate throughout the event! They can send a link for their personalized fundraising page to all attendees (and even send it to people who aren’t able to participate in the event). Volunteers should create a concrete fundraising goal so attendees continue to give and share the link among their own networks. 

With a strong DIY fundraising strategy, your nonprofit can maximize support and revenue. DIY fundraising offers your supporters a creative outlet and it gives your nonprofit tons of new ways to engage donors. In addition to offering these fundraising ideas, give your volunteers the chance to brainstorm their own ideas! After all, the more excited your volunteers are about their DIY fundraisers, the more successful they’ll be! 

To streamline the planning and execution process, your nonprofit should invest in peer-to-peer fundraising software with plenty of tools to boost donor engagement. From there, your volunteers will be empowered to take charge and expand your organization’s reach across their personal networks. 

About the Author

Sarah Sebastian

Sarah Sebastian is the Director of Corporate Communications at OneCause. She’s a marketer and brand geek at heart with eight years of experience in the nonprofit tech space. Outside of work, Sarah can be found reading, hiking, kayaking, volunteering for Florida Access Network, or getting lost in the woods while photographing birds.