Do-it-yourself (DIY) campaigns are one of the fastest-growing types of peer-to-peer fundraising. Nonprofits of all shapes and sizes are empowering their donors to “Fundraise Your Way!”
Putting the fundraising power in the hands of your supporters means nonprofits are able to reach more donors, raise more for their cause, and take on less work. By allowing supporters to spin up individual campaigns for occasions, personal challenges, or specific giving days, your cause can drive deeper engagement with supporters, while taking a hands-off approach to fundraising. That’s why peer-to-peer DIY is win-win fundraising strategy that more and more organizations are tapping into!
At OneCause, we’ve worked with countless nonprofits to support their DIY fundraising efforts, so we’ve seen firsthand the impact that a well-executed strategy can have for both on-the-ground and virtual fundraising. We’ll dig into top tips for DIY fundraising and examples of successful campaigns, but for now, let’s start with the basics.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
DIY fundraising is a strategy in which supporters create personal fundraising pages to raise money on behalf of your cause. These campaigns can be spun up for birthdays, weddings, graduations, tributes (in honor of others), memorials, and personal challenges (fitness, activities, personal goals, etc.). The possibilities are endless!
The difference between a regular peer-to-peer campaign and DIY fundraising (and why DIY fundraising is so great) is that rather than being tied to the specific timeframe or event, supporters can spin up a fundraising page anytime they want. This provides evergreen fundraising opportunities for you and your supporters.
At OneCause, we know fundraising is important 365 days a year. That’s why we are helping nonprofits tap into DIY fundraising. Supporters can create their own campaigns, channeling their personal passions and networks into fundraising action. They set the fundraising goal, timeframe, and theme/activity.
DIY campaigns might be:
Nonprofits have always known that the more personal an ask, the more likely that supporter will be to donate. According to the recent OneCause Giving Experience Study, 51 percent of survey respondents were motivated to give to a cause because they cared about the person who asked them to donate. What a HUGE opportunity for nonprofits to reach and engage new donors.
You may have already seen a DIY fundraising campaign online before, with supporters creating their own campaigns on Facebook, GoFundMe, etc. But why not have all the campaigns benefitting your cause in one place? Doing so would allow your organization to:
The OneCause peer-to-peer solution even allows fundraisers to customize their pages by adding their own stories, photos, and videos.
Let’s dive into a few more benefits of DIY fundraising.
There are several major benefits to DIY fundraising campaigns for both nonprofits and donors alike. If you’re on the fence about planning a P2P campaign, here are a few top benefits to keep in mind.
DIY Fundraising campaigns boost engagement by providing a fun, interactive way for supporters to get involved with your cause. With a DIY campaign, donors can see a different side of fundraising by actively engaging with a cause they care about and doing it via an activity or campaign idea they create. Making the entire giving experience more personal, more connected, and more fun!
By the end of one DIY fundraising campaign, you’ll have:
Now, imagine if you are able to replicate that among your top donors, engaged volunteers, and board members. Talk about the potential for BIG impact!
More traditional fundraising models, like crowdfunding, funnel all engagement through a single outlet, in this case your campaign page. This can limit your ability to grow your donor base.
DIY Fundraising, on the other hand, allows your supporters to share their personal story about why they’re passionate about your cause. With their support, your nonprofit can:
A DIY fundraising campaign isn’t just easy to launch – it can be highly cost-effective, too!
With DIY fundraising, your supporters take on most of the heavy lifting. They choose a campaign type, create their fundraising page, and blast it out to their networks. All your team needs to do is help bring visibility to it! This makes DIY a turn-key fundraising idea that your nonprofit can use at scale.
Plus given how many new supporters you’ll be able to reach, DIY fundraising is one of the most efficient strategies available today (when it’s backed up with the right tools and tactics.)
Here are the key features to keep in mind as you explore your options:
To keep the fundraising process easy for your supporters, you’ll want to take the time to explore peer-to-peer software that will help build out your nonprofit’s toolkit. Our roundup of top nonprofit fundraising software providers can give you a sense of the options available.
Allowing your supporters to fundraise on your behalf without any barriers can make some organizations a little hesitant. But when you put in place these best practices, you can have successful, on-brand fundraising campaigns without the heavy lift.
From recruiting the right people for the job to saying ‘thank you’ at the end of a campaign, here are our best practices to follow.
One of the most important keys to success is recruiting the right DIY fundraisers. These fundraisers should be those who are connected to your cause and their own community.
Good places to look for successful DIY fundraisers are:
Promoting the opportunity to create a DIY fundraising campaign doesn’t have to be daunting. Look for people in your network who have a passion for the mission and values of your organization.
As with any new investment, it’s important to think through a few considerations before choosing new peer-to-peer fundraising software. As you research your options, ask these questions about each platform you’re considering:
To ensure their campaign goes off without a hitch and is a huge success, introduce your supporters to the technology they’ll be using and the marketing for their campaign.
Preparing your supporters before their fundraising campaign arms them with resources and information so they can be amazing advocates for your cause and reach their fundraising goals.
To ensure the success of your supporters’ DIY campaigns, be sure to add an extra layer of social engagement and competition. These strategies can help motivate your fundraisers and their donors:
To help your DIY fundraising participants feel empowered and encouraged, be sure to set them up for success and provide support throughout their campaign.
By making it fun and easy, you not only help your supporters raise more money and reach more donors, but you also make them want to do another campaign in the future!
Here are a few top tips to ensure a pleasant experience for your fundraisers:
The final (and most important) best practice to follow is to acknowledge your supporters, thank them for their time and money, and communicate the impact of the funding!
If your organization has the capacity, consider these options for a thoughtful indication of your gratitude:
When you continue to engage with your supporters post-campaign, you emphasize to them that they are an important part of your nonprofit’s community. And in the nonprofit world, nothing is more important than maintaining healthy relationships with your supporters.
When you show your gratitude, it makes it more likely that they will want to keep creating new campaigns, sharing your mission, and raising money for your cause.
Nonprofits who see the most success with DIY fundraising are ones who set their supporters up for success. By providing some DIY fundraising ideas on your website, your supporters will feel prepared and empowered to tap into one of those ideas or get creative and come up with something new!
We’ve gathered our top ideas for powerful DIY fundraising campaigns. Let’s dive in!
When a supporter is deeply connected to your cause, celebrations in their life can also include celebrating your cause!
Spinning up a DIY fundraising campaign of a special occasion is one of the easiest and personal ways to fundraise. Top ideas include:
People can see 3-4 occasion fundraisers a day on social media – help your supporter’s campaigns stand out! Including a video about your organization’s mission can bring the campaign to life and draw people in.
Event-a-thons are one of the most popular DIY fundraising campaigns. They drive in a great deal of donations, are highly engaging, and the options are endless!
To stir up excitement, these are our favorite event-a-thon ideas. Share these with supporters who are setting up a DIY fundraising campaign!
Not sure if your supporters are ready to go in-person? Most of these ideas can be taken virtual! Visit our Virtual Fundraising Resource Center for best practices on how to make a virtual event a success.
Effectively communicating your cause via social media is simple and doesn’t require a large team or a giant budget – and they are completely virtual.
Everyone remembers the 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge, right? That viral challenge was a huge win for The ALS Association, helping them raise over $115 million!
Encourage your supporters to create their own unique challenge for supporters to complete and share online, along with a dedicated hashtag and clear instructions for donating to your cause online. Here’s how it goes:
Having a clear call-to-action (e.g. Donate Now) will be essential in gaining traffic to your supporter’s online fundraising site.
For some of your nonprofit’s projects and initiatives, crowdfunding might be the way to go!
This online fundraising method involves your supporters creating a campaign page, usually on one of many leading crowdfunding platforms, that explains why they’re raising money for your cause. Then, they encourage their peers to share their fundraising efforts far and wide.
Effective social media marketing is essential for success with crowdfunding.
With your DIY supporters posting updates and mission highlights on your behalf, they’re showcasing the value and charitable backbone of your team. Their efforts:
It’s a win-win for everyone involved!
Note that crowdfunding works best for especially eye-catching or emotionally compelling, time-bound projects. Tell your supporters that raising money for your annual fund might be best left to a traditional fundraising campaign or virtual event.
The digital transformation from COVID-19 will extend far beyond the end of the pandemic, driving innovative donor strategies. Donors have grown accustomed to engaging with and giving to their causes online!
That’s why a virtual event is the perfect DIY fundraising campaign idea. They’re relatively easy to set up and can reach a large audience. Set your supporters up for success with these top virtual event ideas:
To host a virtual event with a hub of activities, use a virtual event platform that is versatile and all-encompassing.
Pledge drives can be a tactic to generate a lot of buzz and support!
These fundraising campaigns involve encouraging donors to pledge their support in the form of donations to be collected later. While pledge drives can help you reach wide networks, they do involve post-campaign work of collecting all the outstanding donations.
We suggest focusing on easy-to-use peer-to-peer software that maximizes donations by making giving easy. Look for tools that make it easy for participants to spin up personal fundraising pages, and where supporters can complete their donations with a few clicks. (i.e., give money vs. making a pledge). Easy tools will help your participants (and you!) raise more and reach more!
Encourage your supporters to share on social media the reason(s) they’re supporting your mission as well as their personal donation page. That way they can spread the word about your mission while also gaining donations along the way!
While supporting a great mission is reason enough, some people need just a little more incentive to hit the donate button.
That’s why a product sale is such a great option! Your DIY supporters most likely have some hidden talents or fun hobbies. Have them tap into them and use them to raise money for your cause! Some of our go-to ideas include:
Offer your supporters the option to sell branded merchandise with your company’s logo! When your logo is promoted on water bottles, T-shirts, laptop stickers, and more, it’s free additional advertising for your cause (and it keeps your organization top-of-mind for those who donated).
DIY fundraising is a powerful way for nonprofits to raise support, engage donors in new ways, and reach much larger audiences than they’d be able to on their own. By putting your supporters in charge, you’ll drastically expand your reach and open up all kinds of flexible ways to make your mission stand out.
This guide walked through all the essentials, but don’t stop here. There are tons of valuable resources and nonprofit success stories to learn from, so keep exploring!