Whether you’re trying to fill up your annual fund or looking to raise money for a new project, every nonprofit can relate to the struggle of trying to find the perfect fundraiser. Fundraising ideas work best when they require very little time and effort on the nonprofit’s part but still have the potential to increase supporter engagement and raise a significant amount for the organization’s cause.
In this article, we’ll discuss the following five fundraising ideas that are easy to implement and proven to be successful:
1. Product Fundraiser
Product fundraisers are simple: your organization sells a product to its supporters, and the proceeds go back to your cause. These fundraisers are highly engaging because they provide donors with something in return for their donations.
To simplify the planning process for this fundraiser, work with a product fundraiser provider. They’ll take care of everything you need to get started, from securing the products to setting up your online store. Then, all you’ll have to do is promote your fundraiser to your supporters.
Now that you know a little more about how a product fundraiser works, you might be wondering which types of products you should sell. The product fundraising company you work with likely has a variety of options, but here are some of the most popular products nonprofits sell:
- Food and snacks. Save your supporters a trip to the grocery store by selling delicious food and snacks. ABC Fundraising recommends selling popcorn because you can earn up to 70% profit, but other popular food products include candy and cookie dough.
- Merchandise. If your nonprofit doesn’t already sell t-shirts, hats, or mugs with your logo on them, now is the perfect opportunity. Plus, when your supporters sport this merchandise in public, they’ll help spread awareness for your organization.
- Discount opportunities. There’s nothing people love more than saving money. When you host a discount card fundraiser, you offer your supporters discounts to local restaurants and shops in exchange for a donation to your cause.
2. Matching Gift Campaign
If you’re not promoting matching gifts, you’re missing out on an opportunity to potentially double or even triple your donation revenue. Since matching gifts just involve your donors’ employers matching their donations to your cause, there’s virtually nothing you need to do to host this type of fundraiser besides spread awareness of this opportunity and make it easy for donors to request a match.
Many donors don’t know if their employers offer matching gift programs or even what matching gifts are. You can change that by running a matching gift campaign that encourages donors to check their matching gift eligibility and submit matching gift requests to their employers.
Another way to facilitate matching gifts is by using matching gift software. This type of tool eliminates the need for donors to research their employers’ matching gift programs—they can simply type their employer’s name into the database search tool and determine whether they’re eligible.
Not all matching gift software is created equal, though. Look for a matching gift software solution that offers auto-submission. That way, you make the matching gift process even easier for donors because the tool will submit matching gift requests on your donors’ behalf.
3. Charity Auction
When you host a charity auction, you create a memorable experience that your supporters will associate with your nonprofit. Plus, like product fundraisers, charity auctions offer donors something in return for their contributions: the chance to win valuable items.
The right software makes planning and hosting auctions easy. Handbid’s guide to auction software recommends choosing one with the following features:
- User-friendly design
- Data security measures
- Event management tools
- CRM integration
- Real-time bidding updates
Another capability to look for in charity auction software is mobile bidding. Mobile bidding allows donors to place bids and receive updates right from their phones. That way, you don’t have to worry about managing paper bid sheets and guests will know immediately when they’ve been outbid and need to place another.
If you’re looking for a fundraising idea suitable for your school, look no further than a walk-a-thon. While walk-a-thons work for nearly any type of nonprofit, they’re especially great for schools because they help kids get active and introduce them to fundraising in an engaging way.
To host a walk-a-thon, follow these simple steps:
- Pick a theme. Get your supporters excited about your walk-a-thon by customizing it to your organization. For example, animal shelters may encourage walk-a-thon participants to walk with their pets. Other possible themes include a color or costume walk.
- Create a route. The great part about a walk-a-thon is that you likely don’t have to pay for a venue. Find a local park to host your walk. Then, establish a route so everyone knows where to go. Alternatively, schools can leverage their own tracks or fields for the event.
- Set up a peer-to-peer fundraising platform. Your main source of revenue for your walk-a-thon will be pledged donations for each mile or other specified unit of distance each participant walks. To allow people to collect pledges, use a peer-to-peer fundraising platform where participants can create their own individual fundraising pages.
- Promote your event. The only thing left to do is spread the word about your walk-a-thon! Include information about the event in your newsletter, on your website, and on social media. Have people register for the event and sign up for your peer-to-peer fundraising platform so their friends and family can start pledging donations.
5. Giving Tuesday Campaign
Taking advantage of an existing universal fundraising day like Giving Tuesday is another easy way to earn more for your cause. Giving Tuesday takes place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving each year. It marks the beginning of the year-end giving season in which donors lean into the holiday spirit to give back to their favorite nonprofits.
Giving Tuesday marketing mostly takes place on social media using #GivingTuesday, but there are a variety of other ways you can promote your organization’s Giving Tuesday campaign. Try creating a Giving Tuesday page on your website or incorporating the occasion into your newsletter to spread the word.
To encourage people to participate, consider using a fundraising thermometer that demonstrates your progress toward your Giving Tuesday fundraising goal. That way, people have a visual of how close you are to your goal and can watch as their donation makes a difference.
To find out which fundraising ideas work best for your organization, survey your supporters to see what they would be interested in, and test out different options to see which raise the most funds. That way, you can cater to your supporters’ interests and focus on the fundraising ideas that will allow you to maximize the amount of money you give back to your cause.