In the last year, mobile giving grew by 24 percent. To welcome younger, digitally native members, nonprofit and faith-based organizations are meeting their new members where they’re most comfortable — on their phones.
According to Nina Vellayan President of Stewardship Technology, Faith-based organizations are still a few years behind most other nonprofits in terms of enabling digital giving, but we’re seeing that begin to change. Newer congregation members, preachers, and staff who are comfortable with technology basics are helping the sector rapidly catch up to its peers.
As noted, last year faith-based organizations saw the greatest increase in online giving compared to other nonprofit organizations and charities. As these organizations begin to use more mobile- and social-first strategies, more members will be able to tithe and donate with the click of a button.
Looking ahead in 2019, a few things are clear: a strategy that allows online giving will help nonprofit and charitable organizations meet their goals, the ability to meet donors anywhere they prefer to give will be critical in driving donations and activating new donors, and faith-based organizations will continue to increase their technology adoption to support tech-savvy members.
By focusing on making giving as easy as possible and connecting with new donors wherever they are, nonprofit and faith-based organizations can use technology to increase charitable giving and maximize their missions’ impact.
Read more here from Nonprofit Technology News, which also includes the annual charitable giving report.
Most nonprofits and community benefit organizations have one annual signature event or host several events throughout the year. While they are an important part of their fundraising plan for both revenue and awareness, a big fundraising event should not be an end in and of itself.
Events hold the potential to significantly expand an organization’s traditional FUNdraising pipelines. A carefully planned strategic approach can convert event donors into annual givers, major gift donors, and even planned gift donors.
The Upside of Events
We all know successful events can bring in much-needed money and support a nonprofit’s need to grow its organization. They’re also great for building awareness of your mission by engaging with potential new groups of people and bringing the community together to support a common cause.
The Downside of Events
Special events do tend to have a higher cost to them, and often provide a much lower return on investment. Conventional wisdom says that it will typically cost you $.50 to raise just one dollar in a fundraising event!
Because of the time, effort and energy that go into these events, volunteers and staff can burn out quickly. This leads to higher turnover and less enthusiasm for participation in future events.
Events can also be risky, unpredictable, and don’t always make money at first. For instance, if you’re doing an outdoor event, the weather can be unpredictable. Consider what would happen if your fundraising event was rained out? What would your backup plan be next? Along that same vein, what if you invest a lot of resources into putting on an auction and it garners very little activity?
Event Donors vs. Organizational Donors
As you begin thinking about and planning for your next fundraising event, your strategy should be focused around bringing as many organizational donors to the event as possible. These are the diehards that support your organization and will continue to contribute and support you long after the event has passed. This is in stark contrast to those event donors who were likely invited to the event by a friend — those who reluctantly donate out of obligation as a one-time thing.
Leveraging Events into Larger Gifts
OK, so how can you use your event to get people to give in the future? Below are eight quick ideas to get you started.
Collect as much data as possible – use every opportunity you can to gather the basics, like first and last names, email addresses, and mailing addresses. You can do this by having cards available for people to fill out, or even a simple email address sign-up sheet available at the event check-in. This is a big missed opportunity if you’re not having this as an option for your event participants.
Educate participants – be sure to do all you can about giving people as much information as possible about your mission and the work you do.
Choose the right fundraiser – pick an event that has more opportunity to engage potential donors at a deeper level. Don’t just pick an event because it’s fun and it will draw crowds. You don’t want people going there because it’s casino-themed, do you? They might just play and leave and not learn anything about your organization. Seek intimacy and engagement when you plan your event.
Find ways to get your current donors more involved – as they get more involved, they’ll be more inclined to support your organization down the road. Put them on committees to plan the event, or make them volunteers as table hosts or sponsors.
Publicly recognize donors – as you recognize key donors at your event, you’ll be surprised how many people will look to that and get excited about giving. Treat your donors well, and they’ll give more!
Say thanks – this is a no brainer. You can never thank too much. Thank everyone from the volunteers and vendors to the participants and donors. Let them know you appreciate them.
Follow up after your event – sharing the results with a video is a fantastic way to spread the word and hopefully gain new interest in your mission.
Embrace and utilize technology – ask people to give through an app of yours, subscribe to your website’s newsletter, or get them to follow you on social media.
Your event should not just be an event. It’s an opportunity to move donors along a relationship continuum. Give them a “what’s next” opportunity as it relates to their involvement with your organization. If you do this, you could see them contributing to your organization for years down the road!
For additional fundraising tips, contact our fundraising experts today
Spring Fundraising Ideas to Freshen Up your Fundraiser
Spring is in the air! Warmer weather plus a feeling of renewed energy means that people are once again looking to engage with the world. All of this makes spring a great time to freshen up your fundraiser or launch a new one. Spring is also the perfect time to host an event—check out our helpful tips for hosting a successful fundraising event. Take a look at these spring fundraising ideas and choose one or more to make your fundraiser blossom.
Spring fundraising event ideas
1. College basketball
For college basketball fans, March means March Madness—the NCAA playoffs. It’s a great time to invite your supporters to enter a basketball bracket in exchange for a donation to your cause. For the tournament semifinals or finals, host a game-watching party. As two teams go head to head, make things more interesting by asking people to pledge donations each time a specific event happens in the game—a lead at the end of a quarter, a minimum point total for a particular player in a quarter, free-throw percentages, number of fouls, a certain player getting ejected, etc. This not only makes it a lot of fun to watch—it’s a slam-dunk for your fundraiser.
2. April Fool’s for good
Everyone’s wary of playing the fool on April 1. Use the day for good by hosting a prank-a-thon. Come up with a fun title such as Random Pranks of Kindness. Write up a list of sweet, compassionate, and funny “tricks”—for example, covering the target’s car with kind or silly notes, or filling a friend’s shoes or a coworker’s desk drawers with a pleasant surprise like flowers or candy. Once you have a list of nice pranks, circulate it among friends, family, and colleagues. Have people sign up for specific pranks on behalf of loved ones, and name their price. All money raised goes to your fundraiser, of course.
3. Easter egg treasure hunt
At a local park or in your own yard, host an Easter egg hunt to raise awareness of your cause and funds for your fundraiser. Add fun and festive activities—make a list of clues for people to figure out, then fill plastic eggs with sweet treats and riddles for where to look next. At your entrance table, have a sign-in sheet so people can opt in for updates and other communications about your cause. Have participants pay a small fee to enter the hunt, with proceeds going to your fundraiser. You can also take advantage of the perks of mobile giving—have a smartphone or tablet ready with your donation page on display, and accept direct donations on site.
4. Tree planting
This is a great option if your cause is related to climate change or environmental issues. Celebrate Arbor Day (April 26) by planting new flora around your neighborhood. In the weeks leading up to Arbor Day, ask for pledges from supporters. Get volunteers to join you as planters. You could also have volunteer planters secure pledges from friends and family. Accept donations of seedlings and other plantable items, ideally native plants. If you plant on private property, ask the owners for a donation to your cause in exchange for the plantings. If you plant on public property, such as in a park, be sure to get permission from local authorities. Make a festive day of it and have a mobile device on hand to collect donations from visitors to the park.
5. Garden party
Another great opportunity for environmental causes is Earth Day, April 22. It’s the perfect day for a party where everyone comes together to plant a garden. Pick a site, such as a communal area at a park or a neglected lot, and invite the neighborhood to make it beautiful. For a donation to your fundraiser, provide a plant, such as herbs, flowers, or shrubbery, and the supplies to get a garden growing. See Arbor Day above for related ideas.
6. National Volunteer Week
The last week in April is National Volunteer Week. Many organizations offer special volunteer events across the country, and you can do the same for your fundraiser. This is a great week to leverage the work of volunteers into a major fundraising win. One option: check with a local high school or college to see if you can coordinate an event where students volunteer in support of your cause. It could be as simple as a car wash, or something more elaborate. The event then becomes your fundraising opportunity.
7. Mother’s Day tea
If your cause is related to advancing the causes of women and children, Mother’s Day can be a great opportunity for a fundraising event. A tea time is a perfect option for spring. Set it up at in an outdoor or indoor space with decorations, a variety of teas and treats, and a table where people can learn about your fundraiser and make a donation. Using a mobile device, you and attendees can quickly make donations.
8. Memorial Day barbecue
Memorial Day weekend is a great opportunity to host a community event. You might include outdoor games—ring toss, sack races, even a huge Jenga game. Serve food donated by local restaurants. Ask a live band to provide music (if your fundraiser supports schools, why not include the school band?). Events held on long holiday weekends are usually well attended. Create flyers with information about your fundraiser and leave them around town and at the park or venue where your event will happen. A large poster at a central location is also a great way to spread information—especially if the poster is something people want to take a picture of or with, to post on social media.
Virtual fundraising ideas for spring
9. Garage sale
With spring cleaning comes an excellent opportunity for online and in-person garage sales to raise money for your cause. Create an event page on a neighborhood site, such as Nextdoor, and invite your community to donate and/or buy items. Add pictures and prices for each item. Create conversations about interesting pieces. Share your listings on social media. You can also hold a classic in-person garage sale, separately or in conjunction with your online sale. In either case, let people know that all sales benefit your fundraiser—include the name of your fundraiser and links to the donation page wherever possible.
10. Produce sale
Warm weather is a time for bounty—and just as fruits and veggies come into season, so do the opportunities for fundraising with them. Partner with local farms or produce stands to get food at wholesale prices, then create special produce bundles to sell in exchange for donations to your fundraiser. Once you get donors, schedule a time to drop off the bundles along with a flyer containing details about your fundraiser.
11. Easter candy bundles
Sweeten the deal for donors with a gift of Easter candy for each donation. Before the Easter season, promote your event. Spread the word in person at your workplace, schools, community centers, and other community hubs. Once you’ve secured a list of donors, create baskets of treats to drop off. Play Easter Bunny for the day and watch your donations multiply.
12. Pet photo contest
Say cheese to a fundraising idea that engages supporters in a new way. National Pet Day is April 11 and National Pet Week is in May—why not celebrate with a photo contest featuring your supporters’ pets? Create special categories like funniest pair, most adorable, most aloof, best dressed, most exuberant, etc. Post pictures of the candidates and the winners on social media so everyone gets a chance to shine.
Do you want additional information on how your organization can get started with fundraisers or how to start a fundraising donation campaign? Complete the form below and our Mission Advocates will contact you directly to set up your next fundraiser.
Running a fundraiser takes time, effort, and creativity. While you’ve probably done a great job of sharing your fundraiser link with your social network, there are a few things you can do to jump-start your fundraising efforts. Our team has created 10 additional ways to share your fundraiser. Remember, the success of your fundraiser will depend on how effectively you share it.
For additional support, you can download our guide and our fundraising experts can help you get started.
Top 10 tips to help participants with their fundraising ask:
1. Create a Facebook Event for your fundraiser. Invite all of your Facebook friends. You can ask people to share photos, videos, memories, and comments to build engagement. Be sure to post your fundraiser link in the event discription and your donate button on your main organzation Facebook page.
2. Add special rewards to donors. Oftentimes a small perk can help persuade someone to give to your fundraiser. Use your fundraiser description to spell out attractive benefits for potential supporters at certain donation levels.
3. Connect with a local event. See if event coordinators are interested in promoting your fundraiser along with their event (Mic shout out? Fundraiser signs at the entrance?). Even more out of the box? See if they’ll let you set up a free booth .
4. Team up with a local business. See if they will offer a fundraising night for your cause in which they donate a percentage of the proceeds to your fundraiser. Another idea would be to see if a coffee or sandwich shop will temporarily name an item after your fundraiser. Think “Daniel’s Dream Deluxe,” or “Cathy’s Battle Cappuccino.” We’ve even seen a great fundraiser organizer team up with a sock company to offer cozy socks as a reward to all donors. Make sure to thank the business in your fundraiser story.
5. Reach out to local media. While sharing with your social network is the most important thing, it can also help to reach out to your local news organizations and blogs to let them know why your fundraiser would interest the community and their readers.
6. Add some competition. Consider hosting a virtual “sharing contest.” Whoever shares your fundraiser link the most times, or gets the most likes, wins something fun like a poem or musical “Thank You” video posted to Facebook. Go LIVE with your video , engage with viewers, and do shout outs on the video.
7. Share your fundraiser link in Facebook groups. Remember to focus your post on why your fundraiser means so much to you. Let your readers know the immense power that sharing the fundraiser on social media can have.
8. Step outside of your direct network. Post your fundraiser link on your city’s Facebook page. This is a great way to reach out to local folks you may not know, who might be willing to help your cause by sharing your fundraiser link, donating, or supporting you in other ways.
9. Give your superstars a push. It can be easier to boost a successful fundraiser’s target to raise hundreds more than to get a non-starter to raise $10. Use your reporting tools to find your top-dollar fundraisers and let them know they are a champion and you are here to help them keep going. Treat them like major donors and they will deliver.
10. Create a fundraiser hashtag. This is a way to build social media awareness around your fundraiser. Some ideas we’ve loved in the past are #willathewarrior, #reunitethetaylors, and other tags that ignite interest. Use this hashtag across social media.
Support everyone involved with your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, but at their own level. Different folks will require different types of support, so pay attention and guide your team to ensure great donor acquisition, retention and fundraising amounts to record results.
Are you ready for our guide to help get you started? Well here’s the link again, click here to download.