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Silent Auction Tips

7 Fundraising Ideas for Charities: Smart Best Practices

As part of a charitable organization, you know better than anyone else how much of a challenge fundraising can be. No matter how much experience you have raising money, with each new campaign it can feel tougher and tougher to find strategies that really work.

Want to take a fresh approach to your fundraising efforts? It’s time to try out these awesome fundraising ideas for your next big event or campaign!

In this article, we’ll review our 7 favorite fundraising ideas that can work for any kind of charity.

These include:

  1. Leverage online fundraising.
  2. Try t-shirt fundraising.
  3. Hold a charity auction.
  4. Offer peer-to-peer fundraising.
  5. Promote matching gifts.
  6. Partner with a fundraising consultant.
  7. Engage in text-to-give fundraising.

Ready to take a look at these innovative fundraising strategies? Let’s dive into our list and review our expert best practices.

1. Leverage online fundraising.

Online Fundraising

One of the fundamentals of smart fundraising is making giving easier and more convenient for your supporters. After all, when you make donating a seamless part of your constituents’ lives, they’ll be more likely to continue to support your organization.

If your charity is looking for a way to make giving a no-brainer for your community, try online fundraising. Online fundraising is a great fundraising method because it’s:

  • Online fundraising software and tools can be used for long-term campaigns, short-term fundraisers, on-site fundraising events, and even for mobile giving.
  • Your team can choose a solution that is uniquely designed for your needs no matter your mission, the size of your community, or your goals.
  • There’s an option out there for every budget. Whether you want a comprehensive suite of tools or individual solutions, you’ll never have to pay more than you can afford.

Ready to give online fundraising a try? Check out Bonfire’s list of the best fundraising websites for nonprofit organizations.

2. Try t-shirt fundraising.

Now, it stands to reason that your supporters will be more inspired to give when they can get something back in return. Because of this, more and more charities are turning to t-shirt fundraising as a way to boost contributions to their campaigns.

T-shirt fundraising is a fun, creative way to strengthen your community and increase giving at the same time. With t-shirt fundraising, your charity can:

  • Design beautiful merchandise that matches your identity. Customize t-shirts, tank tops, sweatshirts, and other apparel to reflect your brand and community.
  • Plan campaigns for your t-shirt fundraiser that you can share across the web. Create attractive sales pages that tell the story of your organization and inspire supporters.
  • Diversify the way that supporters give back to your cause. They can purchase apparel, make a gift on your fundraising page, or do both in a single transaction!

Not only is t-shirt fundraising a great way to encourage supporters to give back, but it’s also an excellent tool for nonprofits that are just getting their start. Find a free-to-use platform to boost your ROI when leveraging this strategy.

3. Hold a charity auction.

Charity auctions are one of the oldest fundraising ideas in the book, and if your nonprofit has held events in the past, it’s likely that you’ve tried hosting an auction before. However, did you know that with the right software you can get more out of these events?

Charity auction software can help your team open up a world of fundraising opportunities. We love software-driven auctions because they’re:

  • With the right auction tools, you can easily plan events behind the scenes, manage bidding, and oversee the close-out of your event.
  • Whether you’re looking for a small solution for occasional events or a robust software for regular auctions, there’s a platform out there for your team.
  • Mobile-friendly. In a world where more and more people use smartphones, having a mobile-friendly auction solution is a must!

Take your charity auctions up a notch! When your team finds a smart auction platform that meets your needs, you’ll never have to worry about the logistics of hosting a successful auction.

Handbid's Mobile apps

4. Offer peer-to-peer fundraising.

If there’s one challenge all charities face, it’s that it can sometimes be difficult to balance growing your organization with strengthening your fundraising strategy. When you engage in peer-to-peer fundraising, your team can do both.

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a form of online fundraising driven by your supporters. When you launch a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, it works like this:

  1. You’ll create customized peer to peer fundraising pages that are hosted by supporters. They’ll share these with their networks and ask for gifts.
  2. Volunteer fundraisers will drive these pages and help your team reach your goals. These pages might be anchored around a specific fundraising event or campaign.
  3. Your team can encourage your volunteers with gamification tools like fundraising badges, leaderboards, and thermometers, as well as social posts and email messages.

With peer-to-peer fundraising, your charity can grow its community online by reaching entire networks of inspired givers you might not have before. No wonder more and more charities love this method!

5. Promote matching gifts.

What’s one way to increase the impact of your supporters’ donations without asking them to give more than they can afford? Try matching gifts! Tapping into employer matching gift programs is a great way to boost your fundraising success and inspire giving.

In a corporate matching gift program, companies commit to matching employee gifts up to a certain dollar amount. Promoting matching gift programs to your community is great because:

  • You can double (or even triple) how far your supporters’ gifts go. If they don’t get their gifts matched, you’re potentially leaving significant donations on the table!
  • It incentivizes supporters to give. An individual who can only afford to make a donation of $X is more likely to decide to donate when they know their gift can be multiplied.
  • The programs encourage giving throughout the year. Supporters can get their gifts matched for nearly any campaign, so they’ll be more inclined to give frequently.

Best of all? Promoting matching gifts is easy! One simple way to do so is to add a matching gift database to your website that compiles information on corporate giving programs. All donors need to do is search their employer and they’ll know how to secure their gift match.

6. Partner with a fundraising consultant.

Event consultants and volunteersIf you feel like your fundraising strategy has gotten off track, try partnering with a fundraising consultant. Fundraising consultants and consulting firms offer many services like campaign planning, strategy assessment, and fundraising direction that can be right for your needs.

Not only that, but with the right fundraising consultant as your partner, your nonprofit can also reap immense benefits.

These include:

  • Third-party insight. Fundraising consultants work with all kinds of organizations across sectors; consultants can bring their unique insight and expertise to your team to identify historical blind spots.
  • Flexible partnership. Whether you want to find a one-off partner for a single fundraising project or need a long-term partner to carry out your strategy, you can set the terms for a partnership that work for your needs.
  • Lasting assets. When you work with a consultant, you can develop case studies, fundraising plans, gift range charts, and other assets you’ll need for achieving your goals.

Thinking of hiring a fundraising consultant? Check out Averill Fundraising Solutions’ comprehensive guide to pick the right partner for your nonprofit.

7. Engage in text-to-give fundraising.

Another online fundraising strategy that can help boost your charity’s fundraising success is text-to-give fundraising. This mobile-friendly giving tactic empowers your supporters to make donations directly from their smartphones anywhere in the world.

When you adopt text-to-give fundraising software, you make giving more convenient for your community. Text-to-give fundraising is one of our favorite ideas because:

  • It widens your pool of potential givers. Many of your supporters exclusively access the web through their phones so having a mobile giving option makes it easier for them to donate.
  • It’s a flexible fundraising tool. Text-to-give fundraising can be leveraged at on-site events or remotely, giving supporters more freedom in when they donate.
  • It’s scalable to all nonprofits. There are many text-to-give software options out there to meet the needs of charities large and small, no matter their means.

What we love most about text-to-donate fundraising, though, is that it can be adapted to any kind of campaign. Whether you’re raising money for your annual fund, encouraging year-end gifts, or launching a capital campaign, text-to-give fits right in with your strategy.

Can’t wait to start improving the way your charity raises money? With these awesome ideas, there’s no stopping your team from reaching (and exceeding) your goals!

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