Quick-Start Guide to DIY Fundraising

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You’ve probably already heard talk about “DIY fundraising.” It’s been something of a buzzword in the nonprofit world for a few years now! It’s a relatively new concept to lots of organizations, though.

Here’s what you need to know about DIY fundraising! We’ll go over the three groups of people who would make great DIY fundraisers, and we’ll go over how to make this fundraising style work for you.

Want to learn how to host cost-effective peer-to-peer fundraisers? Download the  DIY and Network Fundraising Toolkit to get started!

What’s DIY Fundraising?

DIY fundraising is, in many ways, similar to peer-to-peer fundraising. In peer-to-peer fundraising, individuals or teams set up their own fundraising pages to raise money for your nonprofit. Those pages are usually associated with an overall event, like a 5k or a fun run. They raise money for a set period of time, and fundraising activity ends when the event is over.

DIY fundraising also involves individuals (or groups) creating fundraising pages to raise money for your nonprofit. The difference is that these pages aren’t associated with one event. Instead, your supporters can create their own fundraising pages on their own terms. They set the goal, the time-frame, and (to an extent) the fundraising style.

It really is “do-it-yourself” in every sense of the word! The onus of creating a page, raising money, and building momentum for their campaign is entirely on the fundraiser. This can be a mixed blessing for your nonprofit! On one hand, your most passionate supporters are taking initiative and fundraising for you. On the other hand, there’s more opportunity for brand miscommunications and goof-ups unless your staff takes precautions.

So what kind of person is a good fit for this style of fundraiser? And how do you make them successful?

Let’s find out!

DIY Fundraising Candidate: Passionate Volunteer

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again! Your volunteers are donors. They may donate time instead of dollars, but they add an unbelievable amount of value to your organization!

Many volunteers are able to donate their time even if they can’t afford to donate financially. This is especially true with Millennial and Generation Z supporters! Right now, younger supporters can’t offer the same financial support their older counterparts can give. Instead, they donate their time, social media savvy, and social networks.

These passionate volunteers are ideal candidates for a DIY campaign. They may not be able to give financially themselves, but they can inspire others to give! Volunteers have already proven their commitment to your organization by giving their time. Why not invite them to make an even bigger impact with a DIY fundraiser?

How to make this work

Volunteers are passionate and excited about your mission. But, remember, they’re already giving a great deal to your organization. You’d never ask a donor to give before thanking them for their first gift (right? RIGHT??). Don’t do that to volunteers, either! Thank volunteers before asking them to raise money for you. Show them the difference they make. Tell them how valuable they are. Then you can invite them to set up a DIY page.

Your volunteers will already be familiar with your mission and your work. They’ll also have ready-to-tell stories about their own involvement at your organization. This means your organization will need to oversee them less intensely than some other DIY fundraisers!

DIY Fundraising Candidate: Board Member

It’s a common problem: your fundraising board doesn’t want to raise funds. They’ll donate, sure. But you ask them to participate in fundraising, and they don’t want to. What do you do?

There are lots of options. But one good one is setting up a DIY fundraising event exclusively for board members. Each board member can set up their own personal fundraising page. On it, they can share their story, their passion for your work, and a personal appeal. Then they can share it with their friends, family, and business networks. It’s a great way to raise money for your organization without the stress of face-to-face asks.

(Psst! Want more ideas on how to get board members involved in fundraising? We’ve got an on-demand webinar you’ll love)

How to make this work

Get your board excited! There are a few ways to build excitement around DIY fundraising, even if your board hasn’t tried it before.

First, explain why it’ll be a good tool for them. Focus on the positives, not the negatives! “Well, you won’t raise money in person, so we’re giving you this page” isn’t the best way to introduce your board to the concept. Instead, emphasize that DIY fundraising is a good way to:

  • Maintain a fundraising page year-round
  • Reach lots of potential donors
  • Send appeals to their network without seeming over-bearing
  • Build visibility for your nonprofit
  • Etc.

Then, dedicate a board meeting or special workshop to fundraising best practices. You can show members how to use their tools, and people can start putting together their pages. Focus on accessible methods! Delving into the science behind donor retention with your board may not be a good use of your time. Instead, talk about how to send good thank-you cards, how to recognize donors on social channels, etc. After the board pages are set up, invite your board to share updates and victories at future meetings. Taking time to share and celebrate milestones will keep fundraising at the fore-front of their minds between updates. It’s also a great way to encourage board members to share new ideas and encouragement with each other.

DIY Fundraising Candidate: Charitable Celebrants

DIY has become increasingly popular among people who are celebrating a milestone (weddings, birthdays, etc) but don’t want gifts. Instead of registering for fancy china or throwing huge parties, people are asking friends and family to donate to a nonprofit. In this style of DIY fundraiser, a celebrant will set up a personal page for their event or milestone. Then, they’ll share their page with friends, family, or anyone else looking to make a gift for the occasion.

A well-known example of this is charity:water’s birthday campaign. Donors set up personalized pages for their birthday and ask friends and family to donate instead of buying gifts. According to their site, charity:water has raised more than $9 million from more than 98,000 birthday campaigns! The increasing popularity of Facebook’s birthday fundraisers proves that a growing number of people are using their birthdays (and other milestones) for good. Other nonprofits have taken note and started similar programs. You can, too!

How to Make This Work

To start a successful DIY campaign for this type of fundraiser, you need to do two things. First, you need to know that this is not a “build it and they will come” situation. It’s absolutely critical to build awareness among your donor base that this is an option! Build your peer-to-peer pages, then launch a campaign to announce it. Consider using tactics like:

  • Sending a special email blast to your lists asking donors to consider participating
  • Including a note in your next newsletter
  • Showing examples of great DIY fundraisers
  • Thanking participating fundraisers

Your donors are more likely to participate if they know it’s an option, see others doing it, and know that you appreciate DIY fundraisers.

Second, you’ll need to establish why people should consider a DIY fundraising page instead of a Facebook fundraiser. To get you started, try including details like:

  • Fundraisers have more flexibility (they can add pictures, stories, etc.)
  • They can set the time they want to spend fundraising
  • It’s easier to share their page on different channels (like X and email) instead of just Facebook
  • Thanking and recognizing donors is easier than it is on Facebook

This group will need a little more guidance than volunteers or board members who are already intimately familiar with your work. Offer this type of fundraiser a point of contact who can help if they have questions!


DIY fundraising is getting more popular, and we think it’ll make a big impact in 2019. Knowing who would make a great fundraiser, giving them the tools they need, and encouraging them to succeed is an art and a science. But the payoff is increased donations, a more engaged donor base, and expanded visibility for your organization.

Want to see some examples of really great DIY fundraisers other Qgiv clients have done? Check out this article!

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