Over the years, charitable giving has witnessed a transformation and online donations have steadily grown in popularity. According to the Charitable Giving Report, in 2020, online giving in the United States grew by 21% compared to 2019 and donor retention rates also showed improvement for the first time in many years. Further, end goals for nonprofits have also evolved. Today, most nonprofits aim to not just raise money but also develop meaningful and lasting donor relationships by building a community and fostering engagement.
A key catalyst influencing this shift was the COVID-19 pandemic. To adapt to the new normal, many businesses and organizations moved their operations online. Nonprofits and charities were not far behind adopting this trend; they soon followed suit.
In this new virtual environment, raising funds and keeping donors engaged requires a digital approach, one that focuses on meeting donors where they spend most of their time. To this effect, there are several innovative online fundraising strategies that nonprofits have started exploring. As more people work remotely and opt to donate virtually, these fundraising methods are emerging as the new way forward.
In this article, we’ll focus on online fundraising ideas for GivingTuesday that are guaranteed to help you achieve (and exceed) your goals this holiday season. As a bonus, you’ll also learn the basics of GivingTuesday: its definition and effectiveness.
What is GivingTuesday?
Created in 2012 as a simple idea that encourages people to do good, GivingTuesday has now become an independent nonprofit and a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate and celebrate generosity. As of October 2021, it has 75 country movements around the world and 240+ community campaigns in the United States (U.S.). The movement is organized in partnership with GivingTuesday’s global network of leaders, partners, communities and generous individuals.
GivingTuesday is also regarded as the international day of giving and aims at encouraging, motivating and inspiring people to give back to the community in whatever way they can. Fundraising campaigns, events, activities, and posts related to this day are often shared on social media with the hashtag #GivingTuesday.
When is GivingTuesday?
GivingTuesday occurs every Tuesday during the year with the main event taking place on the Tuesday following U.S. Thanksgiving. In 2021, GivingTuesday will be held on November 30, 2021.
GivingTuesday is an excellent opportunity for nonprofits and charities to fundraise. To make the most of this day, we recommend incorporating GivingTuesday campaigns in your annual fundraising calendar and planning your fundraising strategies well in advance.
Effectiveness of fundraising campaigns for GivingTuesday
Consider the following statistics from GivingTuesday campaigns:
- In 2020, 34.8 million people participated in GivingTuesday, a 29% increase over 2019.
- Supporters gave an estimated $2.47 billion during the 24 hours of GivingTuesday 2020 in the U.S.
- 52% of people participating in GivingTuesday say that they’re doing it because it allows them to be part of a larger group of people doing good.
- In 2019, the GivingTuesday hashtag received more than 20 billion social media impressions.
These figures demonstrate the effectiveness of GivingTuesday and highlight the potential (despite the global crisis) this day holds for any nonprofits or charities looking to fundraise. Some helpful advice: Given that there are several nonprofits vying for donor attention on GivingTuesday, it does take preparation, planning and novel fundraising ideas to truly make your campaign stand out.
Since virtual fundraisers are known to require less investment and provide a high return on investment (ROI), here are some ideas to help you finalize your next virtual fundraiser.
Online fundraising ideas to attract and retain donors on GivingTuesday
Having covered an overview of GivingTuesday and its effectiveness, let’s explore some online high-engagement fundraising ideas that are easy to implement and can not only help you meet your revenue targets but also attract and retain donors.
1. Plan a fundraising event with online 50/50 raffles
The pandemic, combined with the shift in consumer behaviour and the widespread use of the internet and technology have collectively given rise to a new generation of gaming-based fundraising. These catalysts have made online fundraising not only attractive but an essential option to meet fundraising goals and engage existing donors.
50/50 raffles are an engaging and fun way to fundraise. In an online 50/50, ticket sales are held through a dedicated website or landing page. The revenue from the sale of tickets is called “the pot”. The nonprofit or charity organizing the raffle equally splits the total amount (the pot) collected from the sale of tickets with the winner. Donors earn a chance to win large sums of money while contributing to a cause which makes 50/50 draws very appealing.
This simple, easy, and cost-effective method of raising funds far outpaces traditional fundraising efforts, making it the smarter choice for savvy nonprofits. Another lucrative aspect of 50/50 raffles is that they can be run over several weeks or months, thus attracting more donors and garnering more interest as the pot grows.
Online raffles are also great charity events to be hosted in conjunction with other fundraisers such as auctions, galas, concerts, or virtual runs and marathons as they help boost the engagement and excitement quotients.
Teaming up with a solutions provider for implementation
Depending on how involved you want to be in the raffle implementation and execution, a solutions provider like Ascend Fundraising Solutions (versus a technology supplier) might be a better fit. Ascend provides a world-class, licensed, lab-tested platform and technology solution along with full-lifecycle service assistance (such as marketing, promotions, licensing, analytics, and much more) and end-to-end program execution for online charitable gaming events such as 50/50, Catch the Ace and Sweepstakes.
For those that need even more help, Ascend can help with running the entire program end-to-end as a fully outsourced partner. Ascend is the only provider with the ability to provide a full turnkey solution for any nonprofit, charity or foundation looking to run an online raffle or lottery.
Scale up your fundraising game
Questions? Curious? Let us show you how it works.
2. Conduct virtual auctions
Virtual auctions are similar to in-person auctions but are held online. The successful execution of a virtual auction depends on various factors such as clearly defined rules for participants, online promotion of the items to be auctioned, and the set up of competitive bidding options.
Remember, highly engaged donors help improve the success rate of your auction. You can plan supporting fundraisers such as online raffles to go with the auction or you can even ask for donations separately during the event. Consider tapping donors who were outbid on their desired item and inform them that they can still donate their bid to your organization directly.
3. Organize virtual tours to showcase your cause and the impact of donations
Pre-pandemic, online virtual tours had started to gain momentum. Virtual tours work well for individuals who want to be involved in supporting a cause but lead busy lives. As many nonprofits switched to virtual fundraisers during the pandemic, this trend further accelerated, making it more appealing to charities and donors alike.
To organize a virtual tour, you can showcase your facilities or properties that could use some upgrades, demonstrate the impact of donations by highlighting how they are being utilized, or show how volunteers dedicate their time and effort to your cause. Remember to use social media and relevant hashtags to amplify donor reach.
4. Offer gift matching programs
Gift matching programs for nonprofits are a proven way to grow funds raised in a campaign. In a gift matching program, companies/corporations match donations made by their employees to eligible organizations, usually in a 1:1 ratio.
Some of the essential tasks to get this program up and running involve setting up a dedicated website where donors can learn about the guidelines, qualification criteria, donation timelines, and find/search their employer’s gift matching program.
5. Hold virtual runs or marathons, virtual happy hours and/or performances
The pandemic has changed how we live our daily lives. Many events including marathons, walk-a-thons, galas, and concerts moved online, allowing viewers to tune in from any part of the world. These events have an entry fee and participants request contributions from their friends, family and colleagues to fund their training and the event. The nonprofit or charity then collects the entry fee and the contributions as donations.
Virtual runs, happy hours, and performances require lesser effort as well as overheads, making them easier to plan. They also have a wider reach which helps increase donations and attract more participants.
Trends from the past year and a half have indicated that online fundraisers provide a greater potential for donor reach and retention, making them incredibly effective to be included in long-term sustainable fundraising strategies. Therefore, as you plan your next fundraiser, be sure to include a virtual component and back your campaign with strong promotions and marketing.