The public counts on nonprofit organizations to champion important issues and bring about positive change. But a nonprofit organization’s yearly financial budget isn’t always enough for its goals. Crowdfunding helps you raise money for issues that are central to your organization and offset any costs not covered by your budget or other fundraising efforts.
This guide offers a comprehensive look at fundraising tips for nonprofits and covers everything from choosing the best title for your fundraiser to increasing donor retention to other fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations. Before you start your fundraiser, be sure to check out our article on the six most important nonprofit questions to ask.
Creating your fundraiser
The first step to hitting your fundraising goals is to have a compelling fundraising page. Things like including the right images, creating a reasonable goal, and writing a great story may seem obvious, but getting these little details right is crucial. Here, we go over a few basic fundraising tips for nonprofit organizations that you should be using.
Choosing the right fundraiser images and videos
Interesting and informative content can truly set your fundraiser apart from the rest, and the right photos can help tell your story in a unique way. The fundraiser’s main image is one of the first things others will see when it’s shared on social media platforms, so it’s important it conveys the right message and grabs the attention of potential donors. Here are a few tips about choosing photos that can lead to fundraising success:
- Stay away from using grainy or unclear images.
- Try to avoid using your organization’s logo. People are far more drawn to photos that convey an emotion and include other people, rather than a logo or text.
- Donors love seeing multiple images, so be sure to include additional photos within your fundraiser story.
If you’d like to go above and beyond, adding videos to your fundraiser can connect potential donors to your cause in a way that photos can’t. You’ll want to ensure that any videos you add speak to your organization’s mission and illustrate why the funds are needed.
Setting the right goal amount
Setting your goal and presenting it well is key to effective fundraising for nonprofits. Determining the goal amount should be fairly straightforward and easy for your team as you know what amount is needed. If it’s a very large goal, you could opt to conduct two fundraisers, if the total funds are not needed immediately. Once you set your goal amount, do your best to list what the funds will be used for and be as transparent as possible with your audience. This is especially important for very large fundraising goals.
To provide transparency, some organizations will itemize how the funds will be used and share that information with supporters. You can also consider listing different donation amounts and explain what each amount covers. For example, if an organization provides free meals to people in need, they might state that a $100 donation can provide several meals for a single family.
Creating a fundraiser title
Aside from your photo, your fundraiser title is one of the first pieces of information that potential donors will see. Creating a descriptive title can lead more people to click on your fundraiser URL, and it also makes it easier for people to find your fundraiser in a search.
In just 35 characters, you’ll want to convey the tone of your fundraiser and describe why you’re raising funds. A title like “Help Our Organization” is vague and doesn’t explain exactly why the organization needs help. The title “Help Us Cure Breast Cancer!” on the other hand, gets right to the point and encourages people to find out more.
To promote your fundraiser even more and encourage sharing on social media platforms, try creating a fundraiser hashtag. Others can use this hashtag to easily find social media posts about your cause across platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
How to write a great fundraiser story
Successful nonprofit fundraising would not be possible without a great fundraiser story. Explaining why a cause means so much to your nonprofit or why your organization needs support from others isn’t always easy, but doing so in a clear and engaging way can make a meaningful difference in your success. These are important points to consider when writing your story:
- Explain the most crucial details first, like why your organization needs the funds and who is running the fundraiser.
- Include a detailed budget that shows how every dollar will be used. This will create transparency and earn your donors’ trust.
- Clearly state who will be managing all of the donations. This will leave no question among donors about who is handling the funds.
- Provide some background information about what your organization stands for, and introduce any members of the organization who play an important role in the fundraiser.
- Add details that will immerse potential donors in your story and evoke a specific emotion. The fundraisers that receive the most donations have stories that connect people to their cause through honesty and vulnerability.
Promoting your fundraiser
Now that you’ve taken the time to set up your fundraiser, the next step is to focus on fundraising tips for nonprofits that help you get the word out. We’ll cover how to best reach your supporters through different avenues and how to cast a wider net to reach people outside of your social network.
Creating a launch plan for your organization’s fundraiser
Creating a fundraising plan is a necessary step to ensuring a successful nonprofit fundraiser. Before you begin sharing, begin to strategize with other members of the organization about how to best reach out to supporters and what avenues you’ll use for promotion. If you’re planning an event, read our article on how to promote a nonprofit event for maximum profit.
Prior to unveiling your fundraiser, you’ll want to create some buzz by making a pre-launch announcement. This preps supporters for the actual fundraiser and may allow your organization to receive more donations right off the bat.
Reaching out to your network
The best way to get the initial round of support for your new fundraiser is by focusing on donors that have supported your organization in the past. Of course, these donors may not all be reachable in the same place so here are some of the ways you should try to reach everyone in your network of supporters. Here are some of the avenues you can take, in order to reach donors:
- Share your fundraiser across all social media platforms and request that your supporters share it with their own circle of friends and family.
- Share your fundraiser prominently on your organization’s website. Consider writing a blog post specifically about the fundraiser and including a link to it.
- Send emails to your existing supporters and include the link to your fundraiser.
Using social media
A list of fundraising tips for nonprofit organizations would not be complete without mentioning the power of social media. Creating consistent and interesting posts on various social media platforms can help boost donations and bring more awareness to your cause. These are the most common social media platforms for promoting any fundraiser:
Unique ideas to promote your fundraiser offline
If you’re looking to extend your reach beyond social media, there are numerous tactics to gain more visibility offline. Here are just a few tips on online fundraising without social media:
- Text messages: Send text messages to contacts asking them to support your organization’s cause. If you’re using a fundraising platform that has a text-to-donate feature, be sure to mention this to potential donors.
- Fundraiser flyers: Create flyers and post them on bulletin boards in libraries, grocery stores, coffee shops, and anywhere else that gets a lot of traffic in your community.
- Word of mouth: Use any social interaction as an opportunity to advocate for your organization. Carry flyers about your fundraiser with you so you can easily hand them out when the moment calls for it.
- Emails: This is a great option if you have a solid database of supporters who already receive emails from your organization.
- Media coverage: The local media can bring in a new wave of support for your organization, so you might try reaching out to the press.
How to write messages to your network
Asking for direct financial support can be a tricky task to undertake, but we have some tips to ensure your requests are well phrased and effective:
- Your message should explain why receiving support at this time is critical.
- Be sure to emphasize the value of each donation to your organization’s work, no matter how small.
- If writing to those familiar with the organization, remind them how much their continued support means.
- If writing to those unfamiliar with the nonprofit, you should include some background information and key facts about your organization’s mission.
How to keep up the momentum
Receiving a burst of support followed by a lull in donations is all a natural part of the fundraising process. But if you’d like to give your fundraiser a second wind, we have some advice to help.
Tips for writing compelling updates
Updates keep your donors informed about your fundraiser’s progress while also gently reminding them that you still need their continued support. Knowing how to write effective updates—and doing so frequently—can pull your fundraiser out of a donation slump. If you aren’t sure what to write in your update, here are a few ideas:
- Write a quick message about the fundraiser’s progress.
- Share any news related to your nonprofit.
- Post photos from any fundraising events related to your cause.
- Ask donors to share your fundraiser with two to three close friends.
- Express gratitude to your supporters and publicly recognize the top five donors.
- Highlight any important milestones. If the fundraiser has made it halfway to its goal, this is great news to share, and it encourages supporters to donate again or share the update with their network.
Getting more support from your donors
Hosting events offline is an invaluable way to connect with supporters on a deeper level and educate potential donors about your organization’s mission and financial needs. Whether you decide to host an auction, rally, park or beach clean-up, or simply a fundraising happy hour, an event brings the community together while providing new opportunities to ask for support. Get creative with your fundraising event ideas to ensure your supporters are excited about attending.
Thanking your donors
Making sure your supporters feel appreciated is crucial in maintaining a strong donor base. Donors are more likely to give again if they’ve received a thank you message and feel valued. And when potential donors see how much your organization appreciates its supporters, this may increase donor retention and encourage recurring giving. Even something like a handwritten note or personalized email can make all the difference when someone is deciding whether or not they want to offer continued support to your cause.
Getting support for your nonprofit organization now
If your organization has goals that fall outside of its budget, GoFundMe Charity can help you to meet those goals without ending up in the red. Creating a nonprofit fundraiser can help your organization raise the funds it needs while also bringing more awareness to your mission. Launch a fundraiser for your nonprofit today and start making an even bigger impact locally, nationally, or even globally.