Like many adults my age, my earliest experiences of fundraising involved going door-to-door and half-heartedly hawking cheesecakes to support my swim team and magazine subscriptions to raise money for new softball uniforms. To the delight of middle school students, their neighbors, and nonprofit organizations across the U.S, the rise of the internet has transformed the face of fundraising. Online fundraising is currently the fastest growing channel for nonprofits, and it is also incredibly effective. In 2010, nonprofits raised 1.3 billion dollars online. While it’s possible to simply harness the power of the internet to give old-school strategies more reach (like by selling those magazine subscriptions online instead of door-to-door), there are even more effective ways of fundraising online for nonprofit organizations.
1. Text-to-give campaigns: Ah, the power of mobile marketing. Evocative, spontaneous, social, and effective- a good text-to-give campaign brings out the best in all of us. In 2010 during the Haiti disaster, the American Red Cross raised over $32M from 3 million individuals who made a $10 mobile donation. Even more impressive, 43% of these donors encouraged their friends or family members to give to the campaign as well. Text-to-give campaigns work best when they’re served for true emergencies or special circumstances. Save them for when it counts.
2. Facebook: Causes, a Facebook application, is the world’s largest platform for online advocacy and fundraising. Since 2007, 170 million people have joined Causes, and members have created 500,000 causes. 27,000 nonprofits have raised a total of $40M dollars. Starting your own cause is as simple as filling out an online form and sharing the link. Causes isn’t the only way to fundraise on Facebook. Facebook’s page for nonprofits is full of great ideas. Some organizations have had success partnering with sponsors who agree to donate a $1 for every “Like” the organization receives during a set time period. Which brings us to…
3. Online Corporate Partnerships: Making it easy for your members to raise money on your behalf when they shop online can result in a healthy passive income stream for your organization. Team up with your existing corporate sponsors and SheerID to give your members unique coupon codes that will generate revenue for your nonprofit every time your members shop at your corporate partners’ websites. ( Need help getting buy in from your corporate partners? Tell them SheerID can verify every customer’s membership status to prevent fraud. You’re welcome. )