Digital Fundraising Ideas - The Best Online Fundraising Ideas!

Digital Fundraising Ideas - The Best Online Fundraising Ideas!

When we talk about giving in the digital world, we’re speaking of anything that is connected with the internet. That includes phone apps, digital wallets, social media and your giving pages on your websites. Anything that is not old school, like email, phone calls and in person live fundraising events can be counted as virtual, so it’s a pretty broad area to cover.

Add into the mix that it’s estimated that more than 60% of donors choose to give online with a credit card, this one statistic alone should open your eyes to how important online fundraising really is. And that estimate doesn’t take into account any other online contributions other than those paid using a credit card.

Another important detail in all of this is that the newer generations and tomorrow’s donors are far more technologically adapt that the older baby boomers and silent generation. They have and are growing up tapping their phones on a kiosk to make payments, so contributing online isn’t that much of a leap for them. And of course, these newer generations are the future of your nonprofit, so unless you grow with them, you’re charity is going to be facing serious problems raising funds.

So coming up with and implementing your electronic fundraising stratifies is only going to continue to become more and more important as time goes on. And the amount of fundraising ideas is only limited to your imagination with all the available technology around today. In fact, if you run out of ideas, you could even try the newest tech, AI to come up with more ideas for you!

From social media campaigns to virtual online fundraising events and mobile giving, clearly understanding virtual fundraising and its role in your charity's future is not merely about adopting all the new tools that are being continuously developed, it is about rethinking your organization’s approaches to engagement and building more resilient fundraising models that can withstand economic fluctuations and changes in your donor’s behaviors both short and long term.

Unique Virtual Fundraising Ideas That Work

No matter what type of charity or foundation you run, in order to simply survive let alone become competitive within the nonprofit sector is going to require your organization to take advantage of every online and digital tool it has at its disposal. But once your all tech’d up, how do you actual get donations so you can continue working on your cause? That’s where our list of online fundraising ideas you can hold virtually from anywhere in the world comes in. Just remember, there are a million ways you can tweak any of these ideas to better fit your own fundraisers organizational needs.

Virtual Bingo

The best part of playing bingo virtually is that it is easy to do and you can accept donations immediately by allowing people to either print out their own bingo cards, or even use their computer screen or phone to keep track, It’s even possible to use an online service that allows multi-player bingo and charging for each round. Plus the incentive to plat can be 50% of the take which of course doesn’t come out of your pocket, but rather the donations you’ve collected.

If they choose to use either their smartphone, a tablet of even their computer screens to play, they’ll need to come up with a way to keep track of their boxes. One easy way is to lay down the phone or tablet and just place a coin or small object over the boxes. Or for a screen, cut Post-its into small squares so they stick to the boxes presented on the screen. You may need a dedicated ‘Bingo donation page’ where players can donate a small fee to play and you can verify how to pay them their part of the pot.

Online Raffles

Online raffles are a great way to keep people excited and engaged while garnering donations at the same time. And you can either rely on businesses that are willing to donate their goods or services, or you can even ask your supporters to donate items that can be auctioned off. In fact, they can even make them. You can raffle off all sorts of pet supplies and pet spa days if you’re an animal charity, or auction off baked goods or art from your supporters if you happen to be in the teen or more family orientated non-profit space.

At the end of the day, you can pretty much raffle off anything your heart desires. It’s best if you can somehow keep the items congruent with either your cause or the preferences of your supporters. And if you want to really mix up your raffles, you can always opt for a reverse raffle. This is when instead of raffling off one prize, or declaring the winner of the biggest prize first, you announce the winners of each prize with the smallest first and the largest last. This helps keep engagement going the entire length of your event which equates to more donations overall.

Chinese Raffles

Chinese raffles are a type of raffle, but they are still a bit different. Rather than selling raffle tickets that all go into one container and your supporters have no idea what they might win, Chinese raffles allow your supporters to buy as many tickets as they want and place them in front of the items they want the most. And they can add as many tickets as they want to increase their chances of winning.

This can really increase fundraising if you have some great items to auction off. People that really want a particular item like signed memorabilia or a trip to some exotic place will often buy many tickets in order to increase their chances of winning. That means more excitement for the participants and more donations for your organization!

Virtual Auctions

Virtual auctions and gala events are still the staple for many charities and will continue to be for good reason, they have a proven track record of bringing in donations. They can be easily themed to any type of charity and people really do like auctions! And with some of the auction software available today like PayBee’s virtual auction solutions, holding these types of events is easier and more profitable than ever.

Plus anything can be auctioned off during a fundraiser, in fact you can even use consignment items to add some spectacular items that grab people’s attention and can increase attendance if marketed correctly and are always a big hit with audiences. Depending on the size of your auction, you can even hire a professional auctioneer and provide them with an auctioneer script so your night goes off without a hitch.

Social Media Challenge

These challenges can be very powerful ways of not just getting people to donate to your cause, but to be exposed to your organization in the first place. This is because when people are doing these challenges, they want their friends and families to see what they’re doing, and why! And the people they’re sharing these with are usually already their friends, so they’ll take the time to look and hopefully learn all about your cause and mission.

One of the most successful viral social media challenges to date and for a good cause was the Ice Bucket Challenge which involved dumping a bucket of ice water over someone's head to promote awareness of the ALS disease and encourage donations to research. This brought a massive amount of awareness to a previously little known about disease and is still remembered to this day. So while there may not be something to sell or an immediate return for a challenge, asking supporters to add links to your site or donation pages and ways to connect with your new supporters makes this a great way to grow your charity.

Virtual Trivia Night

Many people love trivia, and the chance to show off their skills. Trivia is easy to set up and you can usually use a single organizer to run the entire event. Again, these types of events can easily work with any type of organization or foundation you run simply by choosing trivia specific for your cause. You can even use some fee tools like Zoom or Kahoot to run them.

You can make this as a kind of thon idea by charging a set payment for each right or wrong question to make it more fun and challenging. For example, the person pledges to donate a dollar for each question they miss, or the same for each correct answer. Or you can simply hold the event entirely free while suggesting they visit your donation form during your event at opportune times. Events like these are great community builders and a fun way to spend an evening for yourself as well as your guests.

Virtual Bake Sales

A virtual bake sale could be a really interactive and fun idea if you really plan everything out well. In fact, you can make it a serious cooking party if you want. Just think about the event as a two part event, the pre-event and the actual main event.

During the pre-event you can ask your supporters to stream them making the dish they plan to donate and will be auctioned off later. They can discuss the recipe and any teaks or helpful hints they know to make the food come out as perfect as possible. This is a great way to really make your supporters feel important and a serious part of your event. And the community building opportunity is through the roof with this idea.

The main event is when each dish is actually auctioned off or simply sold for a set price/donation. One tip here is when someone actually sees the dish being made and the time and commitment it takes the perceived value goes up. The one problem though is even though this is a virtual event, getting the food to the winner will take a little logistics, perhaps using a delivery company that will cut you a deal for the event, or even getting people to volunteer their time and become delivery people themselves.

Online Cooking Classes

We figured this is the perfect place to add this event as it follows up from our previous one nicely and can even be combined for a full out food bonanza! And with the cost of fast food steadily rising, more and more people are returning to cooking as a way of saving money as well as providing more healthy food for their families. Plus there are a variety of classes you can offer like vegan food, gluten free food, or even specialize in a region like Chinese or Italian food.

And online cooking classes are a great way to get people involved in something they love, eating. You can ask for volunteers for your classes, or better yet secure a famous chef that is willing to donate their time and expertise to help out your charity. You can offer the classes for a set fee, and if the chef agrees you can even sell private classes or even in-person tutoring for those that really want to wow their families with their new cooking skills.

Virtual Happy Hours

While this may not be the best choice for addiction charities, it can still be a great follow up with all our food ideas. And of course the goal isn’t to get your supporters drunk hoping they donate more, rather the focus of these types of events is to teach everyone something specific about alcoholic beverages.

You can get specific like a virtual happy hour where participants can learn about wine or beer from experts you’ve secured. Or try having classes on a specific spirit each week that teaches about the different types of a spirit like scotch, and end with some great cocktail recipes that can be made with your choices. Or you can offer basic mixology classes and tips on making great cocktails at home or for a party. Either way, everyone ill be watching from home so it’s okay if they partake in their creations!

Online Workshops

Online workshops are another extremely interactive and engaging way to raise funds for your cause. These types of events are perfect for organizations that have something to teach that is of value. Or you can even offer your volunteers to teach what they know. It all depends on the angle you want to present them. These events are easily tailored to your supporters and require minimal monetary investment.

For example, you could hold a pet grooming workshop if you are an animal shelter or something similar. Or perhaps hold classes on sustainable farming techniques or even keeping a Eco-friendly yard if your in the environmental space. Or even spiritual or meditation workshops if you’re an outreach ministry or a spiritual foundation. People love to learn new things and workshops are a fantastic way to get people truly involved with your mission and its ideals.

Virtual and Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Virtual tours are another idea that doesn’t necessarily focus on selling something for a donation, yet they can be very profitable nonetheless. They can range from tours of famous places to behind the scenes tours of your own charitable organization. This sort of transparency can increase donor confidence by showing exactly where their contributions are going as well as inform them of the importance of continuing their support.

Just imagine how powerful a behind-the-scenes type documentary could be if you can document the problem in a heartfelt way and then their dramatic transformation due to your charity's mission. This doesn’t just bring in donations, these types of video can create donors for life.

Super Charging Your Online Fundraising Ideas

With all the event ideas we’ve given you above, we thought we should point out some ways to make your online fundraising even more impactful then they already are. This means supercharging them with technology so that every idea is able to create even more support for your cause.

Live-Streaming Fundraiser Events

When you live stream your events, you’re basically using the power of social networks like Facebook or YouTube in order to get more people involved with what would otherwise only had been a local event. The best part of streaming is you can stream anything, any event, behind the scenes footage of your organization, or simply day to day activities.

This becomes really powerful when you combine something like an in-person gala and auction event with an online presence. Everything that is happening can be watched from anywhere in the world, giving your events a global stage at the push of a button.

And if you’re using online donation platforms like PayBee, you can not only host and stream your events live using our hybrid event software, you can even accept contributions legally as a 501(c) as well as interact with your online supporters all from one easy to use dashboard. Just check out our demo to understand how we can help any charitable organization run their entire business and thrive.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising means granting the power to raise funds on your charity's behalf to your supports. What you do is simply allow them access to a page or donation buttons or links that they can use to share with their family and friends. They can use your content and other resources from your organization to create their pages and campaigns in order to inform their friends and families on what your cause is and how you solve its problems.

These types of campaigns work great when someone chooses to ask their network of followers to support your cause rather than buying them gifts for something like a birthday or Christmas. Peer-to-peer campaigns can be created for short term disasters or long term support. Either way it is a great way to get introduced to a new pool of possible supporters without ever having to do any of the work, what could be better!

Matching Gift Campaigns

Seeking out donors, businesses and even foundations that would be willing to support your fundraiser with a matching donation from them is a great way to increase your normal donations by 100%. Matching gift campaigns are when a supporter, often a major donor or business agrees to match any donation you receive. This is usually for a set time period, or a specific financial goal like money needed to expand or an unforeseen natural disaster. Combined with any of our event ideas above, a matching gift contributor can make your event doubly successful.

Online Platforms for Digital Fundraising

When it comes to nonprofit software and platform solutions for your business, there is a vast of options to choose from, and the choices just keep growing. This can be great or simply utterly confusing. With so many options which choice is right for your nonprofit?

In order to draw the correct conclusion on choosing a perfect online solution, the first thing you should do is to list all of the features you’d picture the ultimate solution to provide. Is your platform going to run your entire business including the backend, or is it meant only as a means to increase donations and awareness for your cause. All of these questions can help you narrow down your choices. But if you’re unaware of where to start, this section of our article is a great starting point.

User-Friendly Interface

There’s no point in choosing a solution that only creates more work that what you’re working with now. So your platform should have a super easy interface and should be intuitive enough to at least know where to find things you need in a hurry. And this is both for you and your staff, and your supporters using the platform. The worst outcome is your donors are frustrated because they’re lost or it’s too complicated to give, or your staff needs to be trained for fifty hours in order to use the software efficiently. Neither outcome is desirable, so test the software to see how easy it is to use before making a commitment! Try their demo or ask if one can be set up for you. Any professional software platform will always have a free demo they can provide potential customers.

Integration Capabilities

One terrific feature of many modern platforms is the ability to integrate different software solutions into their platform so you don’t need to change things like your accounting software or data tracking solution just to use the platform. Rather, it’s easy as clicking a few buttons in order to integrate or add your preferred solutions within your dashboard so everything works seamlessly and you never loose any of your data. CRM systems, social media, and email marketing software are all examples of different software that should be easily integratable into your new platform. Many systems will list what software is compatible, but if they don’t, ask!

Mobile Optimization

With the increasing use of mobile devices, a mobile-optimized fundraising platform is non-negotiable! Any platform that doesn’t adhere to industry standards like being fully mobile friendly across all devices including smartphones, tablets and desktops, are unprofessional and taken of your list of prospects. This includes mobile-friendly viewing, easy navigation, and secure payment processing for donations.

Diverse Payment Options

People like to contribute in different ways. The older generations still prefer to use checks and credit cards, while the newer up and coming generation of donors prefer using digital wallets and even cryptocurrency. Using a platform that offers as many options as possible to accept payments also gives you that many more opportunities to secure the donation. The wider range of donors you have coming to your site, the wider the range of payment options needs to be available to them. These include credit cards, PayPal, direct bank transfers, and newer forms like cryptocurrency.

Reporting and Analytics

As the nonprofit grows, more and more organizations will be vying for the same donor base. This is why strategic decision-making is relying more and more on data-driven insights rather than guesses or gut feelings. The best digital fundraising platforms offer excellent reporting tools that track your campaign’s performance as far as donor engagement, and fundraising trends. These insights help your organization to refine it’s fundraising strategies, better tailor your outreach, and allow you to meet your fundraising goals faster and easier.

Security Features

Whenever you’re dealing with people’s personal information and any sort of payment processing, having the most up to date and secure environment is one of the most important aspects of any online solution. Having the proper PCI compliance as well as high level data encryption to protect your sensitive donor information not only allow you to sleep well at night, it also builds trust with your supporters so they feel comfortable enough sharing their information and giving electronically.

Customization Options

The last must have on our list is the ability to make changes to your areas on your chosen platform. That means being able to use the same colors and logo on any pages you create on the platform that are shared with your supporters to adding additional payment options and campaign-specific messaging. Your public platform should always have the same feel as your charity in order to make supporters feel they are in the right place and comfortable enough to continue using the platform.

Online fundraising best practices

By now it should be obvious how important incorporating online access for your supporters is and how profitable it can be, but that doesn’t simply mean just setting up a mobile ready donation form and you’re all done. There is so much more that can be done to make your online adventures even more profitable for your charity, and more beneficial to be a part of for your supporters.

Recurring Donations

One of the easiest ways to increase funds for your cause is to simply add the ability to accept recurring donations. Many virtual wallets do this easily and can all be incorporated into your donation pages. You can even use a simple check box on your checkout page that asks if they want to make this a monthly donation, if they check the box, then they’ll be automatically signed up to make the same donation every month without ever needing to think about it. This makes it easier for your donors and your charity.

Suggest Giving Amounts

Sometimes people don’t know what’s appropriate to give an organization. By placing a few buttons, or even adding something like, ‘...87% of our donors decide to make a $50 first time donation.’ This gives the new donor the feeling they’re doing the right thing and that what they’re doing is totally acceptable and appropriate. This can dramatically cut down on friction caused from overthinking.

Consistent Branding

We mentioned before how important it is that your platform allows you the ability to customize the look and feel of your pages to match your company’s branding. This is because you want your supporters to know that when they land on any page you present to them, they feel it is actually your charity and they are not lost or confused. The chances of ever getting someone to donate to your cause has a lot to do with trust, and having consistent branding throughout your emails, social media, website and platform pages is a great way to keep that trust going.

Collect Data

The more data you can collect about every aspect of your business, the better you’ll be able to make decisions and tweak what is blocking you from becoming unstoppable. Data can tell you in a scientific way what types of content your supporters interact with them most, what types of fundraisers they enjoy the most, how they typically like to be contacted and so much more. The more data you can collect, the better your team can tweak all aspects of your business to become both leaner and more profitable.

Wrapping up

Leveraging technology and all the benefits for your business that come with it doesn’t need to be hard or time consuming. In fact, online platforms like PayBee and others are there to make running and growing a nonprofit easier and more impactful that has even been previously possible.

This also opens up almost unlimited opportunities when it comes to virtual fundraising and any short falls are usually only limited by the users imagination. We hope our list of ideas not only helps you expand your reach and impact, we hope they also inspire you to use them to come up with totally new and original ideas that perfectly compliment with your own charity.

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Bill Allen

Bill Allen is an expat that has been travelling the world for the past 25 years. He received his MA in writing in New York too long ago to remember, but has been writing on all sorts of subjects far varied publications ever since. When he isn't writing he enjoys meditating and working on his own website, UpscaleDrinks.com. Feel free to connect with him any time.