10 Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits

Are you looking for creative ways to fundraise for your cause? In this post, we've compiled a list of fundraising ideas and platforms for raising money online.

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Do you own a nonprofit organization? Are you looking for creative ways to fundraise for your cause? For those at nonprofits, you know how difficult it can be to raise funds! And applying for grants can be just as challenging too. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of +10 virtual fundraising ideas and platforms for nonprofits 👇

How Can I Raise Money for a Cause Online?

Nonprofits face many challenges when trying to raise money, especially online. It’s hard to know what works.

Will that Facebook campaign really help me raise more money? What’s the right way to ask for a donation on my website? These are some of the biggest questions any nonprofit needs to answer regarding virtual fundraising.

Therefore, we’ve decided to share with you hand-picked virtual fundraising ideas for nonprofits to raise money online!

#1: Thank Your Donors!

Imagine sending someone a gift in the mail and then there’s complete silence…

People love to feel appreciated. It’s as simple as that! In fact, a fundraising study recently found that 93% of donors are more likely to donate again if they receive a personalized thank you note in a timely manner. And it’s even more effective if you send it within 48 hours of the donation.

thank you note

If a short thank you letter can have such a big impact on repeat donations, it’s worth the effort to reach all of your supporters!

How to Incentive Fundraising by Thanking Your Donors?

Fortunately, there are plenty of platforms that can make the process of thanking your donors much easier!

Once you’re logged into your account, you can send thank you messages with just a few clicks. You even have the option to send a default message or customize the message with your own text.

#2: Write a Fundraising Update

Donors are curious to know what kind of impact their donations have had. A study by Software Advice found that 60% of donors are eager to hear stories about how their contribution influenced your cause.

Incentive Fundraising With Regular Updates

Keeping your donors informed is a tried-and-true donor retention strategy. Regular updates show impact as they help people see how their contributions have been helpful to your cause. Therefore, they will be much more likely to contribute again!

Updates also increase transparency. If you provide a detailed breakdown of expenses and show how you’ve used funds to date, you’ll show your donors that you’re keeping your word and building trust.

They also help keep your cause visible. Thoughtful updates remind donors that you still need their help with fundraising and can double as thank yous too!

Therefore, take advantage of an update to make a special thank you to a major contributor. This special, public acknowledgment will make your donor feel highly valued… And may even motivate others to donate!

Once you’ve posted your update, don’t forget to share it on your social media platforms to spread the word.

#3: Use Facebook

The average person spends approximately 24 hours on the Internet per week. So it’s smart to leverage social media platforms to entice people to take action.

Facebook is ideal for sharing your campaign as it’s one of the most popular social media platforms. Posting an update on Facebook or sharing your fundraising URL will link people to your fundraising platform, where they can read your full story and donate.

How to Use Facebook to Raise Funds?

  1. Create a Facebook page specific to your cause and invite your friends to “Like” it.
  2. Post your fundraising campaign link in the right Facebook groups!
  3. Post an update on Facebook, then tag some donors in your post and thank them publicly.
  4. Ask two or three friends to share your Facebook post on their own profiles to spread the word about your cause.

#4: Use a Streaming Platform

Every day more and more video game lovers decide to share their adventures with other fans. Twitch, with around 15 million daily active users, is currently the most popular platform for gamers. In addition, this platform has become a great meeting point for professional streamers and video game lovers.

Online games are demonstrating the great community that exists around them, precisely the reason why many users have turned their entertainment time into a useful tool for charitable purposes by launching online fundraising campaigns.

How to Incentive Fundraising With a Streaming Platform?

To take advantage of the tool and incentivize fundraising through Twitch, the first step is to organize the fundraising campaign.

To do this, you can create a flyer and look for an image or photograph that illustrates your cause, write a piece that conveys the cause the campaign is for, and, above all, encourages the community to become part of it. Not only to participate in the Twitch broadcast, but also in the fundraising campaign!

#5: Create a Hashtag for Your Cause

Sharing your campaign on social media is key to getting the word out about your cause. One of the best ways to increase awareness and engagement is to use a fundraising hashtag. With a hashtag that is unique, social media users can easily follow your story and donate when they identify it.

How to Incentive Fundraising With a #Hashtag in Social Media?

These 4 tips can help you create a hashtag for your cause that will attract more people, increase donations and make your fundraising campaign a #success

  1. Choose the right platform: almost all major social media platforms support the use of hashtags, but hashtags really started to be used on Twitter. Twitter allows you to search for hashtags in many ways, including “top” hashtags that are the most popular or relevant.
  2. Start brainstorming ideas: once you’ve found the perfect platform, make a list of creative ideas for your hashtag!
  3. Do some research on your hashtag: once you’ve decided on a few options for your hashtag, do a search on different platforms to eliminate from your list the ones you see that have been used before. This will help you identify which one is the best fit for your fundraising campaign!
  4. Promote your cause: once you’ve launched your campaign and created a hashtag, start promoting it. Try to be consistent in the use of your new hashtag by including it in all your posts. And consider adding images and videos to attract more people.

Also, you can invite your friends to use the same hashtag when they share your story and your campaign. Getting a little help from your online community can make a big difference.

#6: Organize & Run a Game-A-Thon

An online game marathon – or Game-A-Thon – is a game that is broadcasted for 24 hours or more. Nowadays, it’s also an effective way to help those in need through the launch of a fundraising campaign for an organization during the online game marathon!

How to Incentive Fundraising With an Online Game Marathon?

Have you stopped to ask yourself how to keep yourself and your community motivated during the hours of streaming? Here are some valuable tips:

⏰ Set a timer that counts up to 24 hours (or the time you have stipulated).

🔗 Make the crowdfunding link visible & offer ‘information pills’ for users on a regular basis (what cause are you fundraising for, the entity for which you’re fundraising, and the economic goal you want to achieve).

📢 Encourage your community to collaborate & be part of the event.

🙌 Don’t just stick to the game! Long broadcasts are an opportunity to try new things and be fun and innovative. This way you’ll make your streaming unique!

🎁 Add some fun rewards for donating!

#7: Community Events

Online community events include great virtual fundraising ideas for nonprofits! Many of these events will be virtual. So they can be done from anywhere in the world. Here are some ideas to get you started:

📦 A virtual yard sale is a creative way to raise money online! You can ask members of your community to donate items for an online garage sale that you can host on eBay.

🏷️ Create an online auction & invite the whole world to participate!

💸 Start a monthly online fundraising event series or challenge.

Contests & Giveaways

Also, another good community event idea for fundraising is hosting contests and giveaways where you can give your community members fun challenges and encourage them to engage more with each other and with your cause. You can create contests on almost any topic — there are no limits!

Host an AMA (Ask Me Anything) Session

Host an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session with another member of your nonprofit organization or community! This way, you’ll be able to interact with each other and other members and discuss anything about your project, cause, or fundraising campaign

It will also give your community members the possibility to get even more involved in the group and feel a better part of the cause they’re collaborating with.

#8: Virtual Walkathon

If you’re looking for virtual fundraising ideas for nonprofits, another one is to organize a virtual walkathon where participants pledge to walk a certain distance or log 10 miles during a specific month.

How to Incentive Fundraising With a Virtual Walkathon?

A sponsor would donate $1 per mile walked by participants. And the top fundraiser could win a prize! Another way of engaging supporters is to ask them to pay a small admission fee to participate.

You can use an online tracking app so that people can track their time and distance from wherever they are.

#9: Game Nights

Game nights are a popular idea for a virtual fundraising event! Anyone can join and play games together. You can use an online community platform such as Discord and invite users to connect via a voice channel. A great idea is to host a trivia night!

YouTube video

How to Incentive Fundraising With a Game Night?

You can set up a channel for each team, or use tags to create categories in which players can join. After everyone has been assigned a team, you can give them questions from the chosen category and award points based on correct answers. You can also set up a leaderboard with the top three teams at the end of the night.

To incentivize donations, you can ask your frequent donators – or any Internet user – to make a monetary contribution in order to participate in the game night!

#10: Virtual Happy Hour

By organizing a virtual happy hour, you’re giving your supporters the chance to gather virtually and connect with each other through a delicious drink and some food.

To assure assistance, you can send a newsletter telling your supporters about the event and asking them to RSVP. To those who confirm attendance, you can send them home something to eat while participating in the event, like some cheese and wine or even a cocktail kit!

However, make sure to remind them multiple times what’s the main objective of this event.

Best Fundraising Platforms

People love to donate online, and it’s easy to see why. Donating online is convenient, efficient, and safe. It’s also a time saver for nonprofits!

In fact, more than half of all donations take place online. That’s why it’s so important for nonprofits to have a fundraising strategy that includes multiple platforms.

Therefore, if you’re seeking to implement one of these virtual fundraising ideas for nonprofits, check out these platforms you can use 👇

1. GoFundMe

GoFundMe is one of the most well-known and popular crowdfunding platforms. It offers a variety of different features, including:

  • Create your own fundraising campaign page.
  • Share your campaign on social media or through email.
  • Respond to comments and questions from donors.
  • Offer credit card, direct debit, or PayPal.
gofundme landing page

This fundraising platform offers two types of campaigns: personal and charity. Personal campaigns are geared toward raising money for yourself or a loved one, while charity campaigns are meant to raise funds for nonprofits.

Pricing: it charges a fee of 2% plus $0.30 per transaction.

2. Indiegogo

Indiegogo is another well-known crowdfunding site that lets you raise money for personal or charitable causes. Unlike GoFundMe, Indiegogo allows you to raise funds for creative projects as well as charitable ones — so if you want to start a nonprofit organization, it’s a great place to start.

The platform has some of the highest success rates among all crowdfunding platforms, which is why it’s so popular among entrepreneurs and startups looking to raise money through crowdfunding campaigns.

indiegogo crowdfunding platform

Like GoFundMe, Indiegogo charges fees based on how much money you raise.

Pricing: 5% platform fee on all funds raised for your campaign.

3. Kickstarter

Kickstarter is one of the most popular crowdfunding platforms out there. It’s known for helping creators bring their ideas to life through the direct support of their communities. It’s not just for raising money, but for building community. As they state on their site, “A Kickstarter project does more than raise money. It builds community around your work.

kickstarter landing page

Since its launch in 2009, Kickstarter has helped successfully fund over 225,000 projects in every category imaginable — music, film, food, games, design, technology, and more — totaling over $ billion pledged by 21 million backers worldwide. In 2018 alone, Kickstarter saw more than 2 million new backers pledge $1 billion to creative projects on its platform — from pledges made from all 50 states (plus Washington D.C.) and from more than 190 countries around the globe — making it one of the largest crowdfunding platforms in existence today. 

Pricing: Kickstarter’s 5% fee + payment processing fees (between 3% and 5%). Such fees are charged only if your project was successfully funded. 

4. Fundly

Fundly is a fundraising platform that offers many features to help you raise money. You can create a personal or charity page, and share your campaign on social media. The best feature is that Fundly doesn’t charge you until you get funded (no joining fees), but it does charge you a 4.9% fee per donation added to the credit card processing fee. It’s probably a good option if you’re launching your first fundraising campaign without experience.

The platform also offers an analytics dashboard so you can measure and manage memberships, organization members, and more.

Fundly smart dashboard
Fundly smart dashboard.

Price: The platform is free but charges a 4.9% fee per donation and a payment processor fee of 2.9% + $.30 per donation. 

Fundraising can be hard… But believe me, it can be done! Each of the virtual fundraising ideas for nonprofits listed above can be used by you to creatively raise money for your organization’s cause.

Just know that with creativity and commitment, you can find ways to raise money! Ways that will make a big impact in the lives of your donors, and in the lives of those you serve 🚀💪

Victoria Mortimer

Victoria Mortimer

I'm a journalist with a Social Communication degree, community manager, and content creator with over five years of experience. Now, I'm working as an independent writer passionate about community building, entrepreneurship, and social media.