Looking for the best ways to raise money for charity? Crowdfunding has become an essential fundraising tool, especially for individuals and small groups. It provides a simple, efficient way to accept donations from anyone—including sympathetic strangers from around the world.
At YouCaring, we’ve helped people raise nearly a billion dollars on our crowdfunding platform (and unlike other platforms, we never take any of the funds people raise). YouCaring makes it easy for anyone to create an easy-to-share fundraising page and accept donations. We also offer a wide range of free tips and ideas to help you make the most of your campaign.
Seven strategies for charity fundraising success
1. Talk to the nonprofit you’re raising funds for
While people can raise money for nonprofit organizations without ever contacting them, there can be advantages to reaching out. If you let the organization know about your fundraiser, ask if they have any upcoming events or promotions you could tie into—for example, if they’re hosting a 5K run, you could leverage that as a fundraising event with your supporters.
Even if the nonprofit doesn’t have anything going on in your area, it may be able to offer advice or gifts (such as key chains, bumper stickers, or logo pens) that you can give to supporters when they make a donation. Also ask about successful fundraising campaigns the organization has done in the past, and use any good ideas they share.
2. Run your own fundraising event
If the charity you’re raising funds for doesn’t have any upcoming events in your area, or if you represent a charity, consider organizing your own event. An event is a big undertaking, so don’t go it alone—get everyone who’s passionate about your cause to volunteer time, and delegate tasks to the group.
A fundraising event requires an upfront financial investment, but you can cut down on expenses by asking local businesses to donate food and other needed items. You could also ask a restaurant or other business to host the event—they’ll be happy to if it’s a win-win. Many businesses, such as local pizza places and pubs, frequently host charity events and already have a menu of options available for charities. In other words, you may not have to reinvent the wheel.
Before the event (and during, if necessary), ask guests to donate to your crowdfunding campaign as the price of entry, or as the price of specific items or activities at the event. Having them donate this way, rather than with cash, will help you keep donors in the loop with updates as your campaign moves forward.
Your event should fit well with your cause. It could be a casual potluck or a formal dinner—or any number of other cool event ideas. Facebook events are usually an efficient way to send out the invite. On social media and in person, encourage friends to invite their own friends—the more the merrier.
3. Launch a social media competition
On average, every time someone shares your fundraiser with friends on Facebook, you’ll net $37 for your cause. If you’re looking to go beyond sharing to raise funds for charity, consider running a social media contest.
Social media contests can include photo and video submissions that meet your specifications, submissions of the best unique hashtag for your cause or campaign, slogan writing contests, or “tell us your story” campaigns (ask people to share stories about the positive impact of the charity on their lives; select the best stories as winners). Prizes are optional—social capital is its own reward.
It’s a good idea to create at least one custom graphic (try using Canva) for your contest. Ideally, use your own hashtag. You could also connect with a local celebrity with a lot of social media clout, and ask him or her to share the news of your contest. You might also reach out to local media.
Of course, it isn’t a contest until there’s a deadline—or multiple rounds of competition, with each successive round increasing the stakes. Choose an end date to instill urgency in your supporters.
4. Convert volunteer labor into funds
When you’re raising funds for charity, you’ll often hear supporters ask how they can help beyond making donations. Ask them to volunteer their labor—which can be converted into funds.
What are your volunteers experts at? If a volunteer is a fantastic baker, ask him or her to bake items you can sell, perhaps at a lunch or dinner event, you host for the charity (depending on the scale, you might want to provide the basic ingredients, or rent a commercial kitchen for a half day). Can an artist volunteer donate art you can sell at a gallery event? If you’re raising money for a sports team, can the coach and players host an afternoon sports camp as a fundraiser? There are so many ways to convert volunteer labor into funds.
5. Empower others to do their own outreach
So you have friends and family who want to help you raise funds for your cause, and each of them has an address book. Write a template for them to share with their contacts (for email sharing, include a subject line in the template that incorporates the name of your fundraiser). Don’t forget to include your custom URL to your fundraising page. Ideally, you could also include an image or custom graphic. You’ve provided your team with the tools they need to reach out to friends and family more effectively.
Another approach: Craft the perfect public Facebook post about your fundraiser, tag your team in the post, and ask them (via a channel like text, email, or Facebook Messenger) to share the post on their own timelines. If the original post was made on your Facebook charity page, pay to boost its visibility. See our post How to Use Facebook Advertising for Your Fundraiser. Pairing this approach with a compelling video is a great way to get people to stop scrolling and pay attention to your message.
6. Get your community together—online and off
Some of the most successful charity fundraisers use a mix of in-person fundraising events and online crowdfunding, which can reach sympathetic people around the globe.
Fundraising events can be a ton of fun, and they’re a great opportunity to build relationships with people you might not have known before. The more your volunteers and supporters enjoy what they’re doing, the more likely they are to do more of it—and to share your online campaign, creating a benevolent circle between your fundraising events and your online fundraiser.
To put it charitably…
With this list of the best ways to raise money for charity, you’re well on your way toward raising every dollar you need. Check out more fundraising ideas at YouCaring, and run your entire charity fundraiser for free on our platform. Looking for charities to raise money for? Check out these 11 weird charities you didn’t know existed.
For more information on raising money for charity read Eight Great Sources for Charity Funding.
Looking for more ways to give back? Read Charitable Giving: 12 Easy Ways to Make an Impact.