[GUEST POST] 4 Online Fundraising Campaign Ideas to Engage Your Donors

Boosting donor engagement requires your nonprofit to launch fundraising campaigns that build community while also driving revenue. While it’s true that donors want to support your worthy cause, they also want to feel a part of something bigger than themselves. 

With that in mind, let’s review these online fundraising campaign ideas that keep supporters engaged and drive widespread support for your cause: 

  1. Peer-to-peer fundraising campaign
  2. Crowdfunding campaign
  3. Online auction
  4. Text-to-give campaign

All of these fundraising campaigns will run much more smoothly with the right fundraising software by your side. Bloomerang’s fundraising software guide explains that these solutions help “plan, manage, and measure fundraising campaigns” through donor relationship management tools, online donation forms, reporting features, and more. 

Consider whether you need to update your current fundraising solutions to help carry out these fundraising campaign ideas.

1. Peer-to-peer fundraising campaign

Peer-to-peer fundraising is an effective way to make supporters feel like true partners in achieving your nonprofit’s mission. Here’s how these campaigns work: 

  • Your nonprofit creates a primary campaign page. This page explains the purpose of the campaign and your fundraising goal.
  • You recruit supporters to design their own campaign pages based on the main page. They build out their pages with personalized content to make them more compelling and inspirational. For example, they might add a paragraph about what your nonprofit means to them or a photo of them at a volunteer event. The page will also include the participant’s personal fundraising goal. 
  • Supporters share their pages with family members to raise funds on behalf of your nonprofit. Participants can use email, text, social media, and other platforms to raise awareness of the campaign and reach their goal. 

Many organizations host peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns in tandem with fundraising events or challenges, such as a 5K event or social media challenge. Nonprofits also often use peer-to-peer fundraising software that offers a user-friendly platform for supporters to set campaign goals and design personal fundraising pages. 

These campaigns are effective because they empower supporters to become directly involved in the fundraising process, and they help recruit more support for your nonprofit through valuable peer-to-peer marketing. Eighty-eight percent of consumers have the most trust in recommendations from people they know, making peer-to-peer fundraising an incredible opportunity to expand your reach to new audiences.

2. Crowdfunding campaign

In a crowdfunding campaign, your nonprofit creates a central campaign page and uses communication channels like social media, email, and your website to raise funds. 

The key to a successful crowdfunding campaign is a compelling donation form that inspires giving. Your online donation page should be:

  • Branded to your nonprofit. Include familiar brand elements, like your logo, colors, and fonts, to raise trust and increase brand recognition. 
  • Simple and easy to fill out. Just ask the required questions, like supporters’ names and payment information. Also, offer suggested donation amounts to make it easier for donors to decide how much to give. 
  • Compelling. Provide a strong reason why donors should give. Use an image and impact statements to bring your mission to life. For example, you might say “$100 helps purchase food for shelter pets.” =

Increase engagement with your crowdfunding campaign by including a captivating video, like the video for the Rainforest Alliance’s “We’re All In” campaign. The video helps fight pessimism about environmental change by showing how millions of people are united to make a difference. 

3. Online auction

An online auction is an auction that takes place fully on the internet rather than in person. Supporters can review auction items on your nonprofit’s website and place bids during a specified period. 

Online auctions offer more flexibility for supporters since they can participate from anywhere and receive real-time updates about when they’ve been outbid. Use these best practices to make your auction a success: 

  • Offer enticing auction items. Send a survey ahead of time to ask about the types of items donors would want to see. Consider your audience’s inherent characteristics as well. For example, if many of your supporters are parents with young children, you could offer relevant items like a trip to Disney World or a meet-and-greet with an actor on a popular kid’s show. 
  • Use social media to promote your auction. Share photos of your auction items on platforms like Facebook and Instagram to spark interest in your campaign. 
  • Streamline the check-out process. Provide a simple, mobile-friendly payment page where donors can complete their auction item transactions. Offer clear guidelines outlining how to pick up auction items or how they’ll be mailed or emailed to winners. 

Inspire more bidding by making your auction a limited-time opportunity, such as a one or two -week event. This time limit generates urgency and encourages supporters to get their bids in as soon as possible so they don’t miss out on an enticing item. 

4. Text-to-give campaign

Approximately 28 percent of online donations are made via mobile devices, making text fundraising a clear front-runner among online campaign ideas. To start a text-to-give campaign, your nonprofit will: 

  • Partner with a text-to-give provider.
  • Receive a dedicated phone number.
  • Choose a unique keyword.
  • Promote the keyword among your supporters via marketing channels.

Then, donors will: 

  • Text the keyword to your number.
  • Receive a link to your online donation form where they can contribute a gift.

Text-to-give makes online fundraising as convenient as possible for donors, allowing them to give anywhere, anytime. You can plan an ongoing text fundraising campaign or incorporate this outreach into other events, like your annual gala or 5K fundraising event. 

Wrapping Up: Online Fundraising Campaign Best Practices

Choosing a fundraising campaign idea is just the beginning of the online fundraising journey. To provide a positive donor experience and boost supporter retention, keep donors engaged through every step of the process. Let them know when you reach your goal, and send genuine thank-you emails expressing appreciation for the vital role they played in your campaign. 

Show the impact of donors’ gifts by sharing videos, photos, or personal stories from beneficiaries who were positively impacted by the campaign. This practice shows supporters that you put their donations to good use, increasing the likelihood that they’ll give again in the future. 

Joshua Meyer, VP of Demand Generation, Bloomerang

Joshua Meyer brings more than 20 years of fundraising, volunteer management, and marketing experience to his current role as the VP of Demand Generation for Bloomerang. As a member of the Bloomerang marketing team, Josh manages the organization’s growth marketing efforts. Through his previous roles at the Human Rights Campaign and OneCause, he has a passion for helping to create positive change and helping nonprofits engage new donors and achieve their fundraising goals.

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