How to Fundraise on a Limited Budget

How to Fundraise on a Limited Budget

Most of the time, nonprofits only have so many resources to connect with new and sometimes even existing donors.

In this post, we’ll share some ways you can fundraise when you only have a small budget to work with or towards the end of the year when your marketing budget is nearly exhausted.

Here are 7 tips for successful fundraising on a limited budget:

Start with your existing donors

They've already invested your organization, so start with them. Maybe you ask them to give again or find a creative way for them to introduce your organization to a friend.

If you host events, offer your attendees (donors) an extra ticket and encourage them to bring a new face. Or, create a video or piece of content that’s share-worthy that your social media followers and email subscribers will naturally want to share with their friends and coworkers.

Social Media

Also known as peer-to-peer fundraising, social media offers up a variety of ways to get in front of potential donors for free or a very low cost-per-click, if you’re running an ad.

Facebook, for example, has a tool now where individuals can start their own fundraising campaign. Encourage your staff and friends to host a birthday fundraiser for your organization.

Or, if you’re at an event that’s popular on Twitter or Instagram, jump on that hashtag and have some fun with everyone else following along. Get creative with your message vs. opting for the blunt ask of “Donate to us please! #trendingevent #desperatefordonations”


Sponsor or host an event that brings the community together in a fun and unique way.

If you’re an animal shelter, why not host a “Pet Pictures with Santa” event? Partner with a local photographer, pick up some hot cocoa and candy canes and call the North Pole to see if Santa wants to hang out with dogs and cats one afternoon. (Jealous!)

Or, perhaps you offer up your space to one of the local networking groups to host their next meeting. They’ll usually let you say a few words to welcome everyone to your space, offer up a tour (if that is relevant) and serve hot coffee. This is a great way to get in front of people who may not even know what you’re all about.

Drop it in their inbox

Email can be your best friend when you need to get in front of your supporters quickly, and for free.

Without sending an e-blast every day, craft a personalized and automated drip campaign for your existing donors with a “more” ask and segment new subscribers so they receive a completely different message, more background on the organization before being asked to donate.

It’s important to also take into account the different motivations for your donors. Are your donors connected to someone that your organization supports, or does your organization have a direct impact on their job or neighborhood?

Remember, you’re welcome be lighthearted and playful with your emails, too.

Throw in a GIF or funny video to brighten up someone’s day. Holidays are the perfect time of year to try this approach on, and they give you an excuse to send another email on top of your marketing communications.

BUT! It’s important to remember that you should only send an email if you have something to say. If you’re just emailing your list to say “happy Thanksgiving,” then it may not be the best use of your energy and resources because every other business is sending that email.

Other ideas of things to include in an email to your donors:

  • Stories
  • Testimonials
  • Tools or resources
  • Upcoming events
  • CTA (this one is the most important!)

Don’t forget about your board members & employees

Lean on those who are already working alongside you. Most board members have a day job and are well connected in the community, so start by asking them if they know of people or resources that you can lean on to help facilitate your event or fundraising campaign.

They too may not have thought about providing certain services until you bring up a few ideas, such as hosting an event or running a social media campaign.

It could be someone on their team that is really talented at designing posters, or it could be a free venue space in a building one of the board members owns. Every little bit counts, right?

Keep things and people organized

Assign roles and tasks to the fundraising crew and keep everything organized, whether that’s in a spreadsheet or through an online software. This will allow you and your team to spend less time tracking things down and more time on the productive tasks.

Ask for feedback

Whether you email out a survey after each of your fundraising events, or send it once a year, ask your donors for their honest opinions about your events and communications. It can bring insights on what worked and what might not have worked, and it can also spark new ideas.

Wrapping Up

As we reviewed, there are many ways to reach your donors with little to no marketing budget.

At the end of the day, get creative and do what resonates best with your nonprofit organization and your donors. Keep it simple, don’t over think it and have fun!

If your organization needs help managing online donations, Donately might be the perfect solution for you. Learn more about our features and how it can help you fundraise.

Author Bio

This guest post was contributed by our friends at Thrive Internet Marketing.

Amber Ooley is a Digital Marketing Manager at Thrive Internet Marketing Agency. She loves donuts, spends most of her free time reading and blogging, and enjoys a good hike through the woods.