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Online Fundraising Platform for Nonprofits

How an Online Fundraising Platform Improves Nonprofit Fundraisers

COVID-19 had some unexpected results for the nonprofit sector. Anyone would surely have predicted that fundraising would fall off a cliff due to economic fallout, job losses, and, most importantly, the impossibility of holding the usual fundraising events. Yet the opposite happened — American donors gave $471 billion to charity in 2020, making it a record-breaking year. So, what happened? One explanation is the prevalence of online fundraising platforms for nonprofits.

Although nonprofits lost the option of holding (say) physical fundraising galas and marathons, they were gifted with a brand-new option — running a virtual or hybrid fundraiser. The question that has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue is: will the success of these events continue when life returns to normal?

While it’s unlikely that online events will completely displace those that take place in person, their success suggests that they could have a permanent role in the market, especially to connect people from all across the globalized world. So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to learn how online fundraising tools work and how to make them the center of your fundraising efforts. And where better to start than PayBee?

In this guide, we’ll cover how events work, including:

  • Different types of virtual fundraising events
  • Fundraising campaigns
  • Donation pages
  • Silent auctions
  • Pledge drives
  • Donation buttons
  • Recurring donations online

Using an Online Fundraising Platform to Host Classy Galas

You might believe that fundraising software is used for only virtual events, but that’s not strictly true. While they’re 100% essential for remote-only fundraisers, they can also be a useful tool for hybrid events (which include a mixture of virtual and in-person features) and even in-person nonprofit events.

If you’re not sure how these event types work or what fundraising features you need to run them, we’ll give you the full breakdown for each one.

Virtual Fundraising

As the name suggests, a virtual fundraising event takes place solely online. It could be a fundraising event that’s streamed from a single location (such as a virtual concert) or something that involves multiple participants all streaming themselves (such as a virtual 10k run where every donor live streams themselves during the race).

Whatever the case, your nonprofit needs the right fundraising tools to pull the job off. You’ll need to create an online donation form that’s customized to fit your fundraising needs and collect the information you need from donors. You’ll also need to avoid technical glitches like fuzzy visuals and learn how to make it easy for watchers to donate without leaving the event page. Complicated virtual fundraising events like online concerts and auctions also come with their own set of challenges. 

This is why starting your virtual fundraising campaign with a dedicated platform like PayBee is preferable to trying to DIY the process over Zoom.

Here’s a handful of the fundraising elements you should learn to use to make your event go more smoothly:

  • Integrations with popular live-streaming options (e.g, YouTube, Twitch, Facebook).
  • Option to hold customized live actions.
  • Interactive elements to keep attendees engaged (e.g., live chat, activity monitor).
  • Games that encourage more efficient giving
  • Help with setting up your campaigns, landing pages, and livestreams.
  • Social sharing tools to help participants spread the word.
  • Automatic follow-ups with attendees (and corresponding data reports).
  • Easy online donation options that accept all major card providers. 

There’s also a host of other options you’ll learn about later, such as silent auctions and donation buttons.

Hybrid Fundraising

Hybrid events tend to slip under the radar. They’re not quite virtual fundraisers, but they’re not in-person fundraising events either — they’re a mixture of the two. These are perhaps the fundraising event type that will have the most potential in the future since they allow nonprofits to host a fun event in a given location while also letting people elsewhere in the world join remotely. 

In this case, you’re likely to need many of the tools we outlined above when starting with hybrid events. But you may also want to complement them with special tools designed to seamlessly integrate a live audience into your in-person event. This can be trickier than it sounds once it gets down to the finer details, so having a service built specifically for this purpose is highly valuable. 

Let’s say you’re having a live auction — if you want donors to be able to bid at both the physical fundraising event and online, it becomes a logistical challenge. But on PayBee, you can set up bidding updates over text and let every donor bid from their mobile devices to ensure everyone gets an equal chance to participate. 

Plus, you’ll get help with aspects like setting up your tickets, selling them, and keeping every donor informed about the schedule. This way, even if the bulk of your donors are attending in-person rather than online, you’ll still be able to take advantage of all the special digital options (and manage them straight from your mobile).

There’s no need for your nonprofit to worry about the logistics anymore — PayBee will fit in with whatever your existing systems and plans are, so you won’t need to change your event to make it work. 

In-Person Fundraising

Finally, we have in-person fundraising events. Just because you’ve opted for your nonprofit event to take place physically, it doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of the valuable features the PayBee system offers. After all, the world is becoming increasingly digital, and virtual solutions can make life easier for both the organizers and the attendees.

The benefits of using an online platform start as soon as you sell your tickets. On PayBee, you can create various ticket types with different tiers (perfect for events that offer a few packages) and give your guests an easy checkout system to buy through.

When it comes to the fundraising event itself, we have plenty of digital options you can sprinkle into your event to help with both organization and engagement. For example, if you want to hold an auction, you can give everyone a bid paddle with an automatically generated URL and QR code. This means participants can easily bid, donate, and check out.

Even after your guests leave, PayBee’s follow-up system will remind each donor to give (especially those who made pledges they didn’t quite keep). You’ll know which donors pulled out all the stops and should be targeted in the future, and who might be best left alone.

The takeaway of all this is: no matter what kind of event you want to hold, using a fundraising platform tailored for nonprofits will help you to reduce your workload and make the event more engaging in the process.

Improve your Fundraisers with Better Donor Management Software

Nothing is more fundamental to a nonprofit than fundraising campaigns. But as anyone who has ever been involved in one before will know, it’s a challenge to organize and manage them — especially if your donor management tasks cover multiple events and activities.

Companies use project management and customer relationship management (CRM) tools to keep track of their leads and deals, so why shouldn’t a nonprofit use donor management tools to manage its campaigns?

On PayBee, we have a dedicated dashboard so you can see the status (active or inactive) of each fundraising campaign, how much money your donors are contributing, the type of fundraising campaign you’re hosting (and how popular it is with your donors), and any pledges you receive from your donors. No more fussing around with paperwork and spreadsheets, leaving you free to focus on more important tasks.

Classy Fundraising Campaigns You Can Host With an Online Platform

As we ran through each of the main types of events, we touched on the different types of donor campaigns and fundraising events you might want to run. This is a crucial component of any event, so let’s go through some of your options on PayBee.

Our versatile functionality lets you choose from multiple options, including:

  • Donations — the best option for most donation types.
  • Long Pledge — suitable for pledge drives (covered later) and other donations that take place over time
  • Ticketing — for fundraising events that only have a set number of tickets available and can’t handle any number of guests 
  • Auction — you can host both live and silent auctions for in-person, online, or hybrid audiences 
  • Last Hero — a fundraising appeal that is similar to an auction with a prize for the final donor, but every time somebody “bids,” they have to donate
  • Hindu Temple puja — a campaign type specifically for Hindu temple puja offerings

Say you want to fundraise by throwing a gala. They’re a staple of traditional fundraising events, and can easily be adapted to the online environment, either as an online-only or hybrid event. Provide some entertainment (such as streamed or live performances), encourage donation giving with auctions or activities, and give your guests ways to interact either in-person or by chat. You’d most likely select a ticketing option to run your gala, since there’s a limit to how many people you can cater to.

We’d like to think we’ve now covered enough to get any nonprofit started with their event planning, but if you’d like more inspiration to get you started, you can also check out our list of 60+ virtual fundraising ideas. If nothing there takes your fancy, we’re not sure we can help you at all.

Fundraise Online with Donation Pages

After creating your PayBee account, you’ll have a landing page dedicated to your organization's fundraising campaigns. This is a great way for nonprofits to explain their fundraising efforts to any potential supporters while your donation pages allow anyone to donate online.

Share your donation pages to your mailing list, on your social media, and just about anywhere else you can think of to maximize publicity for your cause and encourage giving.

We’ve found that nonprofits spend far too much time on basic administrative tasks and marketing, which prevents them from giving their all to what they do best: creating great fundraising events and contacting their most loyal supporters. 

By using a fundraising platform like PayBee, you can automate or delegate these tasks to get them off your plate, and rest assured that you’ll get the results you want (probably better results than you would have achieved otherwise). 

We’ll also give you data about the performance of your donation pages and how people are donating, so you can tweak your efforts as needed and decide what to focus on.

Silent Auctions

Don’t let the name mislead you — a silent auction isn’t an auction held in a super-quiet atmosphere. It’s just an auction that takes place online with anonymous bidding. Instead of an auctioneer running the show, everyone involved follows the auction at their own pace and places bids from their device without anyone else knowing who they are.

This might take away some of the thrill from a standard auction, but it opens your fundraising event up to a much wider group of people — participants can bid from anywhere in the world. This makes it a particularly effective way to hold an auction for a specific group of goods, such as collectors’ items.

On PayBee, we give you all the fundraising tools you need to create the perfect silent auction. You can add unlimited items, use the Bulk Upload feature to add data straight from a spreadsheet, and send bidding alerts to participants through text or email. This works for hybrid, in-person, and online auctions alike.

When the bidding is over and you have a winner, you can end the auction in a click of the button, and the winning bidder will be notified automatically and be prompted to pay. No more stressing about managing the process and staying on top of the bidding yourself.

We’ll also create an individual landing page for the auction automatically after you’ve set up the campaign. Perfect for sharing across social media channels.

Peer to Peer Fundraising Campaigns

Peer to Peer fundraising campaigns allows you to leverage your staff and volunteer social networks and expand your potential donor pool. PayBee makes it easy for your volunteers and staff members to build individual websites that they can share with their peer networks. Each peer can then make a donation at their friend’s website and learn more about your nonprofit’s mission, increasing your brand awareness.

Even better, Peer to Peer fundraising websites created with PayBee’s system are all connected to your main platform. This directs every donation made by every peer to your platform, making it easy to not only collect your funds but also keep track of all the individual activity.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding differs a bit from Peer to Peer fundraising campaigns in that instead of building multiple websites that can be shared among several peer networks, you create a single centralized campaign page that lets people donate money to your nonprofit or cause. However, your volunteers and staff can still share your crowdfunding page with their peer networks, giving you a similar wide range.

If you’re interested in starting with crowdfunding, PayBee’s online tools let you build and customize your web pages with features like donation thermometers so visitors to your crowdfunding page can see how close you are to reaching your fundraising goals. This can encourage them to offer their own donation. Crowdfunding pages built by PayBee are also mobile friendly, making it easier for people to donate through their smartphones and mobile devices.

Pledge Drives

The purpose of fundraising is to encourage as much giving as possible, and a pledge drive is the perfect way to maximize your earning potential. A pledge drive is an extended fundraising period that involves donors “pledging” to donate money regularly over said period. If you can get businesses to support your pledge drive, some businesses may even offer matching gifts for their employees’ monetary gifts.

It’s great in theory, but there’s one problem: your donors might forget about or lose interest in the fundraising event, and you might not be able to keep track of who your donors even are or where each gift comes from. 

Solve this problem by holding a pledge drive on PayBee. To do this, you’ll need to create a new campaign, choose the “donation” option, and fill in the empty fields with the settings you want. 

As with our silent auctions, we’ll automatically create a landing page especially for the campaign, which you can embed to your own webpage using a custom link if you wish and then share across social media. The PayBee system keeps track of the donations you receive, making donor management no longer a problem.

Donation Buttons

Naturally, pledge drives aren’t the only way that your supporters can donate to you. We also have a wide array of donation buttons that you can create to make it easier for people to make quick money donations. Just enter in a donation amount and embed the link to your webpage using a custom link.

You can also add a scannable QR code if you’d like to print the “buttons” out and use them at a physical event.

Too many nonprofits lose out on donations just because they make it too difficult for their supporters to send them money, forcing them to navigate through multiple pages and enter in their details. More often than not, this results in donors giving up and deciding not to donate after all.

We make the process as easy as possible — donors can simply click or scan a code, and the easy donor checkout accepts all major card providers.

Recurring Donations

What’s better than receiving a generous donation from one of your loyal supporters? Seeing that they’ve set up recurring donations so they support you and your projects again and again. To make sure you receive this regular support, it helps to automate the process and give your donors an easy process.

PayBee’s long pledge button offers precisely that. It gives your supporters the option to set up daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly donations.

Plus, we’ll give you the tools you need to track your donors so you can see who is continuing to support you, who stopped donating, and who’s just signed up. Because of all the free time you’ve created by skipping admin, you can focus your efforts on following up with these supporters and ensuring they feel appreciated.

We’ve found that by offering a recurring donation option, you’ll actually attract more donations from your supporters. Each of these donations tend to be much smaller than one-time donations, after all, making them much lighter on your supporters’ pocketbooks. Over time, however, these regular donations start adding up, meaning that recurring donors often end up giving more to your nonprofit than even generous one-time donors. In addition, being able to rely on continuous income streams from multiple donors means your nonprofit programs will be more reliably funded.  

Choosing a Nonprofit Software with the Right Platform Fee

2020 motivated nonprofit software providers to become more innovative and offer nonprofit organizations better tools for fundraising. With so many systems to choose from, however, nonprofits need to know which platform provides the best pricing options for their fundraising tools and fundraising software.

Some companies do offer a free version or free trial, yet in many cases, the platform is unavailable free, leaving nonprofits unsure of whether the system is worth the platform fee. Recommendations and reviews are always useful, but it’s sometimes hard to tell whether or not a platform that works for one nonprofit will provide you with the same functionality for the right price.

To make sure you gain a good platform overview before investing in a fundraising system, we recommend that you sign up for a free demo of PayBee’s system. You’ll be able to use our platform and experience how user-friendly it is. You’ll also be able to ask your technical questions to our team of experts, letting you know what you’re getting for our platform fee. There’s really no better way to test our system’s functionality and learn about our pricing options, so sign up for a free demo today!

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Fundraising
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Sarah Bromley

Sarah is a freelance writer with experience writing for clients in the commercial and nonprofit world alike. To find out more, visit her website: https://sarahlbromley.com/

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