Online Fundraising: Why You Need It and 5 Tips to Maximize Results


Raising funds digitally is crucial to successful nonprofit fundraising. Understanding why online fundraisers matter and how to maximize your campaign results will help your organization get the most out of your efforts. Continue reading below to learn more about why it matters and how to boost your digital raise.

Online Fundraisers: Why They Matter

These days, everything is online, so take advantage of going virtual. Why does it matter what method your organization chooses to use? Because as the donor experience continues to evolve even as in-person events return, “virtual options” continue to allow donors to give with “ease and immediacy” and “allow donors to participate” in fundraisers “with the click of a button.”

Donor Preference

Donors prefer comfortable, convenient, and safe avenues to donate. Online fundraising provides donors with a comfortable, private experience. Donors can make the donation quickly, and most importantly, securely.

Pleasing your donors is essential. A smooth experience leads to satisfied donors, which ultimately leads to ongoing help and donations. Donors should feel you are providing an easy and private giving experience.

Expand Your Reach

Donors aren’t the only ones benefiting from the move to digital fundraising. Hosting your campaign online is a great marketing tool. It is a reminder that you have extended an ask and a way for donors to share their participation with their friends and community.

Community members who may otherwise have never known about your raise may find it online and choose to pitch in. The online method also allows people outside of your geographic zone to participate and give to your cause. This means you have access to a whole new group of donors that you could not have reached with traditional in-person fundraising.

Speed Up Your Raise

Online fundraisers offer a faster turnaround time. Funds are processed instantly and may even be deposited on the same day, allowing the non-profit to put the capital to use sooner. This is useful for those with tight deadlines or those launching an emergency raise.

Virtually raising funds is far less cost-prohibitive than raising funds using in-person methods such as events or door-to-door selling. There are no venues to rent, services to be rendered, and typically no upfront inventory costs such as buying candy boxes or purchasing merchandise to sell on-site. Without having to reach a particular dollar amount to cover your costs, your organization will begin to see a return on your raise sooner.

Types of Online Fundraisers

There are endless ways to raise capital online. Below are a few of the most popular and effective digital fundraising ideas. Use one or more for your next campaign.

Types of online fundraisers include:

  • Online donation page: Create a fundraising web page designed to share your ask and accept donations for your cause.
  • Text-to-give: Sign up for a text-to-give program to allow supporters to donate directly from their phones by text message.
  • Virtual events: Host a game night, auction, concert, or another virtual event at cost or by donation.
  • Product fundraiser: Sell products online such as food, merchandise, gifts, and more.
  • Digital raffle: Host a digital raffle for a gift, free service, or other giveaways.
  • Social media campaigns: Post a campaign on social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram.
  • Virtual contests: Host a virtual contest with a buy-in donation, or ask community members to donate dollars to support participants. (Ex: the supporter pay per turn the participant wins in a trivia game)
  • Crowdfunding: Launch a campaign with a crowdfunding platform.
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising: Ask stakeholders to launch individual fundraising pages for your organization’s cause.

Each of the above digital fundraising types offers unique pros and cons. Be sure to research and choose the method that best fits your organization’s wants and needs.


Five Tips to Maximize Results

Online fundraising is proven to be effective. It can be even more impactful if you work to maximize your raise. Below are a few tips to help you boost your digital campaign returns.

1. Share the Raise

Take advantage of social media by using these popular platforms to put your cause and your ask out there. This is low-cost marketing and helps you to expand your reach to as many social donors as possible. You can even opt to accept funds directly on your social media platforms.

Go beyond your organization’s social media accounts. Ask employees, partners, volunteers, and other stakeholders to share on their social media platforms. The further your campaign goes, the higher your return.

2. Maximize Registration

Registration is key to virtual fundraising. Maximizing your registration furthers your reach, leading to a larger return. It is important to incentivize all stakeholders in your organization to register and get involved in the raise.

Incentives may be a free lunch, a gift card, or an organization-wide event. Incentives may be based on the amount raised to encourage everyone to participate to reach the goal (at $50,000 the organization hosts a company-wide outing) or the incentive may be a reward at sign up (when you register, you receive a raffle entry for a prize).

3. Tell Your Story

Use storytelling to share your organization’s cause and mission. Don’t miss this easy opportunity to boost your raise! In a survey of 400 non-profits, 55% stated that incorporating storytelling into their campaign has improved their results.

Stories are memorable; they help us relate and even tug on our heartstrings. Stories evoke emotions- they make people care. This is exactly what you need to do to encourage donors to want to give to your cause.

4. Effective Page Design

Page design is far more critical to an effective virtual campaign than one might think. However, as mentioned earlier, a smooth and easy process leads the donor to feel good about the experience. If your donor gets frustrated with the platform halfway through making their donation, they may give up and choose not to send their funds.

Easy to use, attractive, and effective page design boosts fundraising results. This aspect of online fundraising is so vital that it may be worth outsourcing the web design. If you choose to design your page yourself, be sure to follow web design best practices.

5. Provide Additional Calls to Action

Go beyond the raise by getting donors involved in other campaigns, volunteer opportunities, and events with your organization. Your donors care about your cause- they are on your team! These relationships are important and should be fostered to the best of your ability.

This provides additional resources to your organization and makes the donor feel good. Asking your donors to participate in your organization makes them feel important and appreciated. Involve them where and when you can.

Bonus Tip: Transparency Is Key

As OneCause’s 2022 Giving Experience Study shows, transparency and trust are vital to today’s donors. Imagine a company that shares what funds will specifically be used for and past results, good and bad, versus a company that is vague and only talks about its successes. Which one would you feel more comfortable giving your hard-earned dollars to?

Tell donors what their funds will be used for and why you are raising money. If things go awry, don’t hide potential obstacles or failures. Donors appreciate your honesty and are more likely to cooperate with you and continue building a relationship if you are upfront and straightforward.

Incorporating online fundraising in your campaign efforts is going to increase your return. Digital campaigning furthers your reach and grants ease of access to your donors. To maximize your results, share your raise on social media, incentivize online stakeholder registration, and pay attention to the content and design of your fundraising page.

Author: Clay Boggess, Owner of Big Fundraising Ideas

Clay Boggess has been designing fundraising programs for schools and various nonprofit organizations throughout the US since 1999. He works with administrators, teachers, as well as outside support entities such as PTA’s and PTO’s. Clay is a Senior Consultant at Big Fundraising Ideas.

Wrapping Up

Online fundraising is here to stay. Check out these additional resources to ensure you maximize your online fundraising results: