If you’re in the nonprofit sector, donorship is your middle name. Without the funds of your dedicated supporters, running your organization day in and day out becomes a bit complicated.
You also know that donorship is much more than a dollar amount — your dedicated donors offer their time, connections, and undying support for your mission. There is a huge difference between someone who throws in the occasional donation and someone who is a longtime supporter.
If you know nonprofits, you know that it is these long-time supporters that provide a firm foundation for the mission through their support. However, this isn’t to say that we are to completely disregard those who give a one-time donation. Why? Because every long-time supporter started with a single act of giving! It is through the relational ability of the nonprofit that these people are transformed from one-time givers to long-term donors.
This is precisely why we need to get creative about the ways we reach people who we want to partner with us. The goal is to pave the way for first-time donors to get a glimpse into the nonprofit, catch the mission, and eventually begin partnering with the organization. The first stop on this path? Fundraisers!
There are a ton of different ways you can run your fundraisers, here are just a few ideas for event fundraisers:
These fundraisers are great to utilize in reaching your surrounding community. An organization that does in-person fundraisers well is Young Life. This nonprofit is a Christ-centered ministry that helps kids know Jesus, grow in their faith, and serve Him. They serve middle and high school students and have even expanded to reach young college students.
YL does a lot of different events to promote fundraising, but one of their best is the Donut Dash. Essentially, people sign up to run or walk a 5K and get a bunch of delicious donuts for the race. The proceeds raised through race registration and t-shirt sponsors go toward the Young Life mission.
Before and after the race, YL leaders have an opportunity to share the mission of their organization and provide information about supporting the ministry. It is a fun event that is accessible to all yet provides an opportunity for partnerships to be developed.
It is wise to consistently advertise any in-person events both in-person and especially online. Sharing these events with your local community online will be key to getting more people involved than word of mouth could do alone.
In-person fundraising isn’t the only option you have as a nonprofit. If you want to see long-lasting growth, your partnerships must reach beyond your immediate community circle. For some nonprofits, it may make more sense to keep your partnerships local (especially if they are town or county-specific nonprofits) but there is nothing wrong with expanding your reach beyond your bubble.
Here are a few ideas for far-reaching digital fundraisers:
Online fundraisers are pretty different than in-person events, but they often tend to be a bit more cost-effective and simpler to set up. For example, a donor dinner can take months to set up, but a social media challenge can take just a few weeks!
The biggest benefit to digital fundraising? You can reach much farther online than you would in-person fundraising. This is simply because you can reach a limitless number of people online; you can only have so many people at a local event.
So how can you better develop your online fundraisers for lasting impact? There are a few key attributes to keep in mind when developing your far-reaching fundraiser. These keys will help guide you in whatever type of fundraiser you decide to do!
Part of what sets nonprofit organizations apart from for-profit organizations is the solidarity of a sacrificial community. It makes sense to spend money on something tangible, but to dedicate your dollars to a seemingly intangible thing can seem risky. These people fit into a unique community of sacrificial supporters who believe in something bigger than themselves.
This community element is key to fundraising. If the community is scattered and isn’t unified on a single goal, it can be pretty hard to want to get behind it. A community like this cannot be forced, however — it must be facilitated.
It is the job of nonprofit leaders to network in such a way that a healthy community is fostered. Digitally, this can look like maintaining great communication both of the overall mission and with those interested in partnering.
There is much reward in supporting a nonprofit organization. Being able to help change lives is an incredible thing, and being able to do that alongside others who believe in the mission is even better!
There is a lot of noise online these days. Influencers, brands, and organizations are all vying for our attention at every corner of the internet. That is why if you want to see your fundraisers reach as far as possible, they need to stand out amongst the crowd.
In one of our past blogs, we go into great depth about the importance of utilizing video for your nonprofit.
Video is a powerful storytelling tool. Through sound, imagery, and story, videos bring to life what words alone cannot always fully describe. For non-profit organizations especially, video can be leveraged to transform theory into practice. They enable the organization to not just talk about what they do but also demonstrate what they do!
Before you do anything else, it is super wise to develop a memorable video for your fundraising event or campaign. Video is one of the most important tools to have in your digital toolbelt so this is the ideal place to start.
In addition to a great video, make sure that your email newsletters, social media campaigns, and other fundraising tactics are eye-catching and engaging to your potential donors. Leveraging storytelling, person testimony interviews, and engaging vision-catching will be key.
Your nonprofit does so much good in the world, make sure you share this good with your audience through engaging graphics, videos, and a stellar social media presence.
In this day and age, we can smell inauthenticity a mile away. Even in the social media world, we are finding a rise in authenticity among influencers, brands, and especially nonprofit organizations. People crave authenticity and building trustworthy relationships both in-person and online. The greatest way you can capture the attention of potential supporters is by being 100% authentic.
The best way you accomplish is not something a blog can teach you. There is no step-by-step guide to authenticity, passion, and living for the mission; some people are just born with this mindset! However, when you raise up leaders who have a fiery passion for the cause, their fire tends to spread to others.
It is smart to have those who are sold out to the mission at the forefront of fundraising efforts. These people have a knack for communicating the mission well and can pretty much do it in their sleep. In the church context, we call these people evangelists. Even if your nonprofit is not faith-based, there is so much value in having these “mission evangelists” at the forefront!
These people will be the ones who can answer questions, bring the mission to life, and spread the word to others both in-person and online. Their authenticity will build trustworthiness in your organization and hopefully invite others to join in on the mission too!
There are truly countless ways you can go about running a fundraiser online, but unless you have a firm foundation for your efforts, they may be in vain. You will want to always remember the importance of community, memorable media, and authenticity as you enter into the world of online fundraising. From there, you will have a great starting point for making new connections and igniting growth for your nonprofit organization!
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