The fundraising world has seen many trends over the years. While not all of these trends have stuck, there has been a steady increase in digital fundraising—and for good reason.
Digital fundraising opens up new possibilities for reaching a wider audience and raising significantly more for your cause as a result. Additionally, it’s more convenient for current donors to contribute online, allowing you to retain their support long-term.
Whether you’re upgrading your digital fundraising strategy or diving into online giving for the first time, these five innovative ideas will set you on the right path to success.
1. Product Fundraiser
Product fundraisers offer your donors something in return for their contributions, creating a win-win situation for your organization and your supporters. With an online product fundraiser store, you can easily convert this traditionally in-person fundraiser to a digital format.
The types of products you sell in your online store may include:
- Food items. Entice your donors with a tasty treat! ABC Fundraising recommends selling popcorn because it has high earning potential and caters to donors with a variety of food allergies and dietary restrictions. However, you may opt to sell cookie dough, candy, or snacks instead.
- Merchandise. Branded merchandise allows donors to flaunt their support for your cause and acts as an additional marketing tool. Consider selling items such as t-shirts, hats, and tote bags.
- Discount opportunities. Your donors can support your cause and save money on everyday purchases at the same time with discount cards. To host a discount card fundraiser, partner with local restaurants and shops that are willing to give your supporters percentage-based discounts. Then, sell your discount cards online.
You can simplify your online product fundraiser even further by working with a product fundraiser provider. They’ll secure your products and set up your online store so that all you have to do is promote your fundraiser to your supporters.
2. Virtual Auction
Taking this traditional fundraising event online can transform your auction for the modern age and allow donors to participate from the comfort of their homes.
The most important tool for hosting a virtual auction is a dedicated software solution. Look for a platform that includes the following elements:
- Mobile bidding. Let donors submit their bids right from their phones with mobile bidding. This feature streamlines the bidding process, allowing you to easily keep track of incoming bids throughout the event.
- Livestreaming tools. Bring the live auction experience to donors’ homes with livestreaming. You can also open up a live chat option so attendees can engage with each other.
- Real-time updates. It’s important that participants know what’s happening with their bids in real time so they can act quickly and accordingly. The right software solution will allow you to send push notifications to donors for bidding activity, outbid alerts, and auction-wide messages.
- Multiple payment options. Don’t limit how donors can pay for their items. Find a platform that offers a variety of payment options to ensure donors can use their preferred method.
One of the best benefits of hosting a virtual auction is that you’ll generate data that you can use to improve your next event. Look for a platform that organizes post-event reports to help you gain helpful insights from your auction.
3. Charity eCards
You may just think of eCards as a way people send holiday greetings or happy birthday messages online. However, nonprofits can transform them into a donation tool with charity eCards.
This fundraising method works by letting donors send branded eCards to friends and family in return for their contributions. eCardWidget’s guide to charity eCards explains that this is a convenient, inexpensive, and eco-friendly way to fundraise.
Consider offering different eCard variations for different occasions. For example, you may sell holiday, birthday, and anniversary cards. Alternatively, you can provide tribute cards that donors can send when they make a donation in honor of a friend or family member.
You can even personalize these eCards to your organization. For instance, a cheerleading team may include pictures of their team at nationals to raise funds for this year’s competition.
4. Google Ad Grant
The Google Ad Grant is one of the most powerful free marketing tools available to nonprofits. Through the program, Google gives eligible nonprofits $10,000 a month in ad credits that they can use to promote their services on Google search. Eligible organizations can use these credits to bid on keywords so that their ads appear at the top of search results relevant to their services.
But did you know you can leverage the Google Ad Grant for digital fundraising as well? When you create campaigns that target your donation page, you’ll drive traffic to your website and encourage people to contribute online.
Make sure to bid on specific, relevant keywords to reach your target audience. For example, an environmental conservation organization may bid on keywords like “donating to environmental causes” or “how to support conservation organizations.”
5. Text-to-Give Campaign
These days, people are constantly on their phones. Take advantage of this fact by hosting a text-to-give campaign.
When you use a text-to-give software solution, donating from your phone takes only a few simple steps:
- Your supporters text a predetermined keyword, such as “Donate,” to your nonprofit’s phone number.
- The software sends them a link to your donation page and instructs them on how to participate.
- Your supporters access your donation page and contribute from their phones.
After the transaction, send a follow-up text thanking donors for their contributions and reminding them to investigate their matching gift eligibility to potentially double their impact.
Get creative with your text-to-give campaign by personalizing it to your organization. Choose a keyword that relates to your cause, and make sure the texts you send reflect your nonprofit’s tone and values.
It can be difficult to keep your fundraising strategy fresh and up-to-date with the latest trends. Focus on implementing digital fundraising ideas such as the ones we’ve covered above to expand your reach and increase your earning potential. Remember to test out a variety of methods and use associated metrics to determine which are most effective for your audience.