Online Fundraisers: The Basics Every Nonprofit Should Know

Online fundraisers empower nonprofits to reach global audiences, making impactful changes across communities. Embrace digital tools like Donately for accessible, convenient, and cost-effective fundraising.

Online Fundraisers: The Basics Every Nonprofit Should Know

From local community projects to global disaster relief, online fundraisers have revolutionized the way nonprofits operate. Harnessing the power of the internet and digital tools allows nonprofits to amplify their impact, engage with donors more effectively and drive positive change in their communities and beyond. And getting started doesn’t have to be a challenge. Here’s how to take your nonprofit fundraising to the next level with online fundraisers. 

What is an Online Fundraiser?

An online fundraiser, also called a virtual or digital fundraiser, is a way of raising money using online platforms. This type of fundraising uses social media and other digital tools like crowdfunding websites and email marketing to reach a broader audience and generate support. The size of an online fundraiser can vary widely, from individuals raising money for personal reasons to established nonprofits running long-term, large-scale projects. There’s one thing they all have in common: The tools they use are powered by the internet. 

Who Should Create an Online Fundraiser?

Anyone who wants to reach a wide audience, grow their following and earn more support for their cause can benefit from an online fundraiser. Individual fundraisers for emergencies, medical bills, travel plans and weddings are popular. Online fundraisers for schools bring in donations for sports teams, clubs and trips. And now, many nonprofit fundraisers are also going online as these organizations recognize the potential opportunities.

The Benefits of Online Fundraisers for Nonprofits

Nonprofits increasingly recognize the need to embrace digital fundraising platforms. With the ability to reach a global audience, online fundraisers offer numerous benefits for nonprofits of all sizes.

Online Fundraisers Boost Your Reach

By leveraging the internet, online fundraisers break down geographical boundaries, allowing nonprofits to reach supporters anywhere in the world. They have the potential to boost your organization’s reach beyond your local community and increase donor engagement. When you expand your reach, you expand your impact. And making a bigger difference in the world is something every nonprofit wants.

Online Fundraisers are Convenient for Donors

Why do online fundraisers have the potential to be so successful? One reason is that they make it easy for people to donate. With just a few clicks, donors can make donations from anywhere, at any time, on any device. Many times, they can even choose their preferred payment method. The ability to contribute from the comfort of their own homes or on-the-go, using a straightforward process, means you can catch people when they’re most likely to give and encourage participation. 

Online Fundraisers are Cost Effective

Compared to traditional fundraising methods like putting on events, putting up flyers or sending out direct mail, online fundraisers are more cost-effective. Many online platforms like Donately offer free and affordable fundraising tools, so nonprofits can save on expenses related to venue rental, catering and promotional materials. That maximizes the use of donations, putting more resources directly into your programs and initiatives.

How to Start an Online Fundraiser

If you’ve never held an online fundraiser before, you’re probably wondering: How do I set one up? Where can I promote my fundraiser online? How do I know if it was successful? With a few tips and the help of tools like Donately, the process is straightforward.

  1. Define your fundraiser: Clearly define the purpose and goals of your fundraiser. How much do you need to raise? Where will the money go, specifically? Highlight the impact donors can make by supporting your cause.
  2. Choose a platform: Make sure you choose a reliable crowdfunding platform, like Donately. Check that it has tools like social media and email integrations, donor insights and peer-to-peer fundraising.
  3. Create your campaign page: Your platform should also have customizable donation pages or forms that you can embed in your own site. That lets you craft a compelling campaign page that tells your organization's story, highlights the cause you're supporting and includes clear donation options. 
  4. Promote your fundraiser: Leverage social media, email marketing and other channels to spread the word about your online fundraiser. Encourage your supporters to not only donate, but share the campaign with their networks. 
  5. Engage with donors: Cultivate personal connections with donors by thanking them, providing updates and showcasing the impact of their contributions. Add a fundraising thermometer to your social media posts or email newsletters to show your progress.

Online fundraisers are typically more effective when they have a start and end date, although you can also set up a page for “anytime” donations or recurring donations. Once you reach your goal, be sure to send a big thank you to all your donors and save their information for the next campaign.

Online and Virtual Fundraiser Ideas

The most successful online fundraisers go beyond setting up a page and simply asking for donations. Use these online fundraiser ideas for nonprofits as a starting point. 

  • Virtual events: Everything is online these days, so why not host an online event? Webinars, online workshops, talent shows and virtual concerts are fun ways to engage supporters and raise funds at the same time.
  • Online auctions or raffles: Reach out to local businesses, supporters or sponsors to contribute products or experiences, then post them online. Sell digital “raffle tickets” and announce a winner, or let people bid on items that will go to the highest offer. 
  • Online shopping fundraisers: There are many online retailers that are willing to partner with nonprofits, donating a percentage of sales when your supporters make purchases. Or, you can sell your own merchandise online, with proceeds going to the cause.
  • Social media fundraisers: Get more creative with your social media posts. Launch campaigns that encourage participation, like digital scavenger hunts, photo contests and challenges.
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising: Empower your supporters to become fundraisers themselves by setting up their own peer-to-peer fundraising pages and encouraging their networks to donate.

Level Up Your Online Fundraiser with Donately

There’s no doubt that online fundraisers have transformed how nonprofits raise funds, providing accessibility, convenience, and cost-effectiveness. By embracing online fundraising and leveraging platforms like Donately, nonprofits can expand their reach, engage donors and drive positive change in their communities. 

If you’re still wondering how to do a virtual fundraiser, take an easy first step and sign up for an intuitive fundraising platform like Donately. With features like customizable donation pages, donor management tools and analytics, our platform is designed to help nonprofits maximize the impact of their online fundraisers. Sign up for free today.