This week I’ve got a creative guest post about fundraising partners by Korri Piper, relationship director, project manager, writer, and general life enthusiast.
As we move into the fall fundraising season, you may feel like you’re running low on fundraising ideas. It’s time to get creative with your fundraising campaigns and think outside the box with online fundraising partners.
The term “online fundraising partners” refers to a variety of services your organization can purchase to run unique fundraisers that are a far cry from the heavy lifting of the usual auctions, galas, and 5Ks. Plus, as these services are accessible online, you’ll be able to easily get in touch with partners and run a fundraiser no matter where you are located.
To help your nonprofit explore potential fundraising partnership opportunities, this article will cover five fundraising services that range from collecting tennis shoes to letting your supporters shop for your cause:
- Online Shopping Programs
- Product Fundraisers
- Shoe Fundraisers
- Brick Engravers
- Matching Gifts
While some of these fundraisers can bring in significant revenue, many of them should be treated as supplemental fundraising methods to run alongside your core fundraisers. Don’t think of these services as replacements for core fundraisers, but as additional revenue streams of unrestricted fundraising to diversify your fundraising.
1. Online Shopping Programs
Online shopping fundraisers provide your supporters with a convenient way to give even while socially distant. Given the popularity of online shopping, it’s likely many of your supporters make purchases online as part of their routine shopping. Online shopping fundraisers allow your nonprofit to capitalize on this and earn a percentage of these online sales when supporters make purchases through your program’s app or browser extension.
Online shopping fundraisers are rather unique, and ShopRaise, an expert in online shopping programs, outlines a few basic things to know about these fundraisers:
- Online shopping programs are free for supporters and your organization. Online shopping programs are essentially free revenue for your organization. The contributions made by supporters shopping online come from the businesses they purchase from, meaning they can contribute to your nonprofit at no additional cost to themselves.
- Your online shopping program fundraising service should handle all business relationships for you. Your nonprofit should never need to handle a business partner or negotiate a donation rate. Look for an online shopping fundraising service that is partnered with businesses your supporters already shop at to provide maximum convenience. Then, your fundraising service should handle all donations and business details for you.
- With the right fundraising partner, all your nonprofit will need to do is market your fundraiser. The right online shopping program will set up your page for you and facilitate all technical services. However, online shopping programs aren’t a set-it-and-forget-it fundraiser. Regularly reach out to your supporters to remind them about your fundraiser and provide directions on how to start shopping for your cause.
Online shopping programs tend to accumulate funds slowly over time. Given that there are no fees for you or your supporters, there are few reasons not to claim the potential revenue an online shopping program can bring. However, you’ll still want to continue running your normal fundraisers to bring in reliable revenue and promote your online shopping program.
2. Product Fundraisers
Not every fundraising event revolves around giving. This means ticketed events such as galas, potlucks, and talent shows may attempt to persuade guests to make additional donations, but can only expect so much success. That doesn’t mean these events aren’t worth hosting. They can help build connections which may lead to a donation in the future.
However, if your nonprofit is looking to cut right to the chase and launch a fundraiser designed around earning money, consider hosting a product fundraiser. Unlike many fundraisers, product fundraisers also provide supporters with something valuable in exchange for their donations. Try partnering with a product fundraising service to order items in bulk at a reduced cost, then start selling them to your supporters.
Product fundraisers are especially popular for organizations such as schools, which can rely on their students to market products around their community. However, your organization doesn’t need to have hundreds of potential marketers at your disposal to run a successful product fundraiser. In fact, you can get to work setting up a product fundraiser just by opening up an online store on your website, allowing supporters to buy merchandise and support your cause at the same time.
3. Shoe Fundraisers
Shoe fundraisers are a unique way to raise money for your cause by collecting new and lightly worn shoes. Partner with an online shoe fundraising service, gather running shoes to donate, then mail the collected shoes to your partner service. Once they receive your shoes, your nonprofit can look forward to a check in the mail.
The amount you earn through your fundraiser will depend on the number of shoes collected. Your shoe fundraising partner should provide you with directions about what kinds of shoes to look for, as well as a prepaid shipping bag to reduce mailing costs.
Here are a few activities you can host to advertise your shoe fundraiser and gather shoes for your collection:
- 5Ks. Shoe fundraisers pair well with athletic events that make people naturally think of shoes. While theoretically, you could collect shoes at your gala or auction, most of your supporters will be inclined to look through their current assortment of shoes or buy new ones for physical events like a 5K.
- Walk-a-thons. Similar to 5Ks, walk-a-thons are athletic events that make people consider the state of their running shoes. However, unlike 5Ks, walk-a-thons tend to be a little more relaxed as supporters of all levels of physical fitness are invited to participate. This can help broaden your audience, earning your nonprofit even more shoes for your fundraiser.
- School events. Consider partnering with a K-12 school to gather shoes. As any parent will attest, kids grow fast, which means they likely have a few pairs of lightly used shoes they’ve already outgrown and would be happy to part with for a good cause.
Given that you need to ship all of your shoes at once when you collect them, remind supporters periodically about your upcoming shoe collection deadline. Doing so will create a sense of urgency, helping you to quickly amass a large quantity of shoes over a set period of time.
4. Brick Engravers
Some nonprofits may be interested in funding building projects, such as a veteran’s organization building a memorial. If this description fits your nonprofit, you may be interested in a brick engraving fundraiser.
Brick engraving fundraising services earn money by calling on supporters to purchase bricks that will be used in the completed structure your nonprofit is building. Supporters can have their bricks engraved with special messages honoring their loved ones or just supporting the cause.
Once your structure is complete, invite guests to visit and find the bricks they purchased. In our current health climate you’ll want to consider live-streaming your event, so guests from around the world can virtually attend and witness the unveiling.
5. Matching Gifts
Instead of running a completely new fundraiser, you can increase the number of contributions you receive with a matching gift tool. Matching gift tools allow fundraising campaigns to achieve even greater success by encouraging supporters to maximize their donations by applying for a corporate matching gift.
Matching gifts are contributions made by employers when their employees give to charitable causes. Many eligible donors are unfamiliar with matching gifts and may be unsure if they qualify, let alone how to apply for one. 360MatchPro’s matching gifts guide walks through the five-step matching gift process:
- A supporter donates to your cause.
- The supporter uses a matching gift tool to check their matching gift eligibility.
- The supporter applies for a matching gift with their employer.
- The employer reviews the matching gift form and approves the application.
- The employer submits a matching gift, earning your cause additional funds.
The right matching gift database provider will help your supporters every step of the way to completing this process. For instance, when a donor gives, the matching gift tool will prompt them to enter their company’s name and match them directly with their application materials if they qualify for a matching gift.
There are a wide variety of fundraising services available for nonprofits interested in engaging their supporters with new and creative ways to support your cause. The right fundraising partner can become a long-term resource for your organization, allowing you to continually raise funds through their service again and again.
About Our Guest Writer
Korri Piper, relationship director, project manager, writer, and general life enthusiast. Let me tell you how online shopping can solve the world’s problems.