5 Versatile (and Easy!) Fundraising Ideas for Small Nonprofits
Small nonprofits and mid-sized nonprofits often struggle to find the perfect fundraising strategy. It can be challenging to raise funds if your giving community is smaller than you’d like, and it’s also difficult to grow this audience in the first place.
However, a few simple strategies can expand your donor base and transform the burdensome task of fundraising into an easy process!
These five fundraising techniques will make the (usually daunting) task of raising money simple and even fun!
- Hold a shoe drive fundraiser in your community.
- Leverage smart social media storytelling strategies.
- Mobilize your supporters through crowdfunding.
- Spread the word about matching gifts.
- Try selling customized products to raise money.
These affordable techniques will easily raise funds while expanding your donor base, ultimately helping your nonprofit continue to grow and fulfill its mission!
1. Hold a Shoe Drive Fundraiser in Your Community.
Did you know there is money hidden in your shoes? Whether you are an experienced fundraiser or this is your first time, shoe drive fundraisers can help get the ball rolling for any fundraising campaign.
Shoe drives allow you to collect gently worn and new shoes and exchange them for cash for your cause!
Shoe drive fundraisers are a very affordable way to begin fundraising for small nonprofits because they require little effort from both the nonprofit and their donors.
Simply ask supporters for donations of shoes, then take the shoes you collected from local community members, businesses and schools and exchange them for a check using a shoe drive fundraising company such as Funds2Orgs.
A shoe drive fundraiser will help you raise funds without ever needing to ask anyone for money, only gently worn, used, or new shoes.
Here’s how to get started with your shoe drive fundraiser:
- Keep a collection box at your headquarters. This will encourage your employees and regular visitors to participate in your event. People can come by and drop off their new and gently worn shoes to be donated for your fundraiser.
- Partner with local businesses to collect shoes. This partnership will help spread awareness of your cause as well as provide more shoe collection opportunities.
- Call on supporters to collect shoes at work or school. Individual donations from colleagues, family, and friends will help increase the number of shoes that are given, resulting in a more successful fundraiser.
Your shoe drive fundraiser will not only allow you to spread the word of your nonprofit organization, but also raise money in an easy, affordable way!
2. Leverage Smart Social Media Storytelling Strategies.
Your nonprofit has a remarkable story to tell and a cause that people want to support! Luckily, social media is the perfect platform for telling this story, engaging current supporters and enticing new audiences.
What makes social media such an excellent medium for nonprofit storytelling is that it gives your team the tools it needs to define your identity and broadcast your mission. Not only will smart social media storytelling practices establish strong bonds with your community, but it will also serve as a promotional strategy to introduce your cause to new eyes.
To most effectively tell your story, keep a few things in mind:
- Remember the purpose of each social media platform and tailor the content you create to that platform. For example, feature appealing and colorful photos on Instagram, promotional videos on Youtube and up-to-the-minute news on Twitter.
- Give your audience a compelling example! Share your impact with a testimonial so your supporters can empathize. Your followers will become more invested in your cause when they read a heartfelt story.
- Use descriptive language and imagery so your supporters can visualize your cause and the communities you impact. Imagery will help spark even more empathy from your donors and make your mission even more compelling!
No matter what strategies you employ, always remember to engage with your supporters actively.
People follow you on these platforms because they believe in your cause and already like your organization. To give supporters a way to contribute, include links to giving forms on your social media posts. That way, followers can quickly turn their support into action!
After they donate, don’t forget your own personal engagement. Tag specific users to thank them for their donations to your cause or for sharing information about your nonprofit with their followers.
3. Mobilize Your Supporters Through Crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding is a successful fundraising method which allows you to spread the word about your cause and raise money from a broad audience.
When you set up a crowdfunding page, you will have the ability to collect small sums of money from a large audience base. Sharing a link to your crowdfunding campaign page spreads your organization’s fundraiser far and wide which, in turn, also spreads the name of your cause to a wider audience.
While there are many crowdfunding platforms available, some are geared toward particular types of causes including nonprofits, the arts, personal needs and more. Be sure to choose the crowdfunding platform that is right for your organization and has all the features you need to connect with supporters.
Successful crowdfunding campaign examples tend to employ:
- Emotional visuals to capture your audience. This personifies your cause and invokes empathy in your donors.
- Plenty of background information for the donors explaining the purpose of your cause. Use lots of descriptive language, so they know exactly what you will do with their money.
- A reasonable financial goal. Consider the capacity of your supporters and your fundraising track record when setting fundraising goals. Also, don’t forget to look into crowdfunding platforms for potential fees and requirements regarding goals.
Using these campaign strategies, your nonprofit can quickly spread the news of your crowdfunding campaign on social media!
Encouraging people to donate and repost this online fundraising campaign will spread the word far and wide across the internet, inspiring more and more people to give.
4. Spread the Word About Matching Gifts.
Your donors could be doubling their donations to your nonprofit! Ensuring donors know about matching gifts programs can drastically increase your fundraising.
Matching gifts are a part of many corporate philanthropy programs where businesses will match donations their employees make to nonprofit organizations. Many donors are unaware of these options, so telling them can drastically increase your gifts.
Even if you have a small donor base, current donations can be maxed out using existing matching gifts programs. By using these options, your contributions can skyrocket without asking for additional funds!
You can spread the word about matching gifts by:
- Posting on social media. In your regular fundraising communications, tell potential donors how they can maximize their donations to your company through matching gifts programs that may already be available to them.
- Emphasizing matching gifts on your Ways to Give page. In addition to social media, explaining matching gifts on your website’s "Ways to Give" page will ensure site visitors will be aware of ways to increase their donation impact.
- Include a matching gifts database on your fundraising forms. A matching gifts database allows donors to type in the name of their company to see available matching gifts programs and the details for the submission process.
No matter the size of your donor base, ensuring your current donors know about matching gifts will boost your cause’s fundraising progress.
5. Try selling customized products to raise money.
These donors could be motivated to donate again if they receive branded merchandise in return for a donation. Every dollar counts for your nonprofit!
Product fundraising incentivizes donors to give money for your cause. In addition, customized products are an excellent tool for marketing your brand name!
But where do you start?
- First, create a logo. Logos market your organization and can be used to commemorate the fantastic fundraising events you organize. Be ready to see this logo on all sorts of merchandise!
- Next, choose your merchandise. For example, sites like Bonfire allow you to design your own customized t-shirts for fundraising. When people see your cool products, they’ll be lining up to donate to your cause!
- Finally, promote your product using your social media storytelling skills. Encourage your supporters to share and feature the products on their social media pages, too!
Make sure you get the most out of your product fundraising. Many product fundraising platforms allow your nonprofit to add a donation button to your fundraising page. With this button, people can give directly to your cause in addition to purchasing your stunning t-shirt.
Though small nonprofits sometimes feel it is a struggle to get started fundraising, remember that raising money doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Whether you implement all of these techniques, or just one or two, your nonprofit can get a kickstart on fundraising and reach your campaign goals in no time.
Wayne Elsey is the founder and CEO of Elsey Enterprises. Among his various
independent brands, he is also the founder and CEO of Funds2Orgs, a social enterprise that helps nonprofits, schools, churches, civic groups, individuals and others raise funds, while helping to support micro-enterprise (small business) opportunities in developing nations and the environment. You can learn more about Wayne and obtain free resources, including his books on his blog, Not Your Father’s Charity.