Types of Fundraisers: A Guide to Nonprofit Fundraising

Fundraising by Type

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When it comes to planning a fundraiser, there are plenty of options for every nonprofit to choose from. The many types of fundraisers have different pros and cons, as well as different purposes, and the needs of your organizations will greatly impact your decisions regarding what kinds of fundraisers you include in your yearly fundraising plan. But if you’re not sure what your options are, you might not know where to start. Here’s an overview of three of the most popular types of fundraisers and different ideas to make your fundraisers a success! 

Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers 

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a great fundraising option for getting your donors involved in fundraising and harnessing the power of their networks. 

Planning a Peer-to-Peer Fundraiser 

With peer-to-peer fundraisers, you recruit your donors to fundraise on your behalf. With the combined power of your supporters’ passion for your mission and fundraising knowledge you provide, your peer-to-peer participants will amplify your fundraising efforts and spread the word about your cause to their networks to raise money for your campaign. 

When you start planning a peer-to-peer fundraiser, one of the most important tools that you need is a peer-to-peer fundraising platform. This platform will serve as a one-stop-shop for all of your participants where they can get information about your fundraiser and see their fundraising progress. When you’re searching for a platform, there are a few features to look out for: 

  • Individual & team fundraising pages. When your peer-to-peer participants reach out to their networks to donate to your fundraiser, give them the ability to create individual fundraising pages for them to direct their friends and family members to. Team fundraising pages provide your peer-to-peer fundraisers with an extra element of engagement and fun. Your participants can join teams and compete against other teams to raise the most money and keep track of their team’s progress. 
  • Gamification tools. Badges, fundraising thermometers, and leaderboards are all gamification elements designed to keep your peer-to-peer participants engaged and motivated to fundraise on your behalf. Look for a peer-to-peer platform that has these tools that you can utilize during your fundraisers. 
  • Social media sharing. One of the best channels for your peer-to-peer participants to fundraise through is social media platforms. Make it easy for them to take the step to share their individual fundraising pages and your peer-to-peer campaign with social media sharing buttons. With one click, your participants can connect with their social media networks to let them know about your fundraiser and encourage people to donate or make a pledge. 

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Peer-to-Peer Fundraiser Ideas 

There are a few popular peer-to-peer fundraiser ideas you can look into when planning your next peer-to-peer campaign. 

1) Fun runs, 5Ks, and walks. Your donors and supporters can get a workout in and raise money at the same time by participating in a peer-to-peer fun run, 5K, or walk. These peer-to-peer fundraisers are one of the most popular types of peer-to-peer events because of how engaging they are. When your supporters sign up to help you fundraise for your event, they’ll reach out to their networks to let them know that they’re planning on participating in your walk or race and want to collect outright donations or pledges based on their participation. 

2) A-thon events. With creativity and effort, you can cater to your supporters’ interests and turn almost anything into an a-thon event! From bowl-a-thons to read-a-thons, bike-a-thons to dance-a-thons, hosting an a-thon peer-to-peer event is a great way to engage your supporters and raise some money. 

Auction Fundraisers 

Looking for a fun way to engage your donors? An auction is a great way to raise money for your organization and create a memorable fundraiser for your donors to engage with. 

Planning an Auction Fundraiser 

Thanks to advances in technology, you have options when it comes to hosting an auction. One of the first things to consider when planning an auction is whether you’ll be holding your auction in an in-person, virtual, or hybrid format. With an in-person auction, your supporters will get the chance to mingle, enjoy their evenings, and see the items they’re bidding on. On the other hand, a virtual auction allows your supporters to bid on items and engage with your auction from anywhere. There are pros and cons to either format, but if you can’t decide, splitting the difference with a hybrid auction is a great option! 

Another element to add to your planning checklist is finding the right auction software. Your auction software should empower your guests to easily place bids and stay on top of the items they’re interested in. With push notifications that alert your auction attendees when they’ve been outbid and features like swipe-to-bid, you can get your guests from first bid to final call seamlessly. 

Sourcing auction items is another essential part of your auction planning process. You want to pick items that will excite your donors and entice them to register for and attend your auction. If you have a themed auction, find items that correspond to that theme. Or look for items that relate to your organization’s mission. Once you’ve decided on what your auction items will be, it’s time to start sourcing them. Reach out to local businesses and sponsors to see if any of them would be willing to donate items. 

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Auction Fundraiser Ideas

If you’re looking to enhance your auction experience and make your fundraiser even more engaging for your supporters, here are a couple of ideas to add to your auction: 

1) Galas. Adding a gala to your auction event is a great way to inject some fun and glamour into your fundraiser. A gala turns your auction from a simple bidding frenzy into a celebration where your guests can socialize and enjoy your event. You can roll out the red carpet and encourage your auction participants to dress up for the night. Decorate your venue to add to the ambiance and put together a sumptuous menu for a delicious dinner. However you decide to organize a gala, it can add an extra special element to your auction for your supporters! 

2) Raffles. Some of your guests may not have the funds to bid on some of your auction items, but that doesn’t mean they should resign themselves to going home empty handed. Add a raffle to your auction to give everyone a chance to win a gift! Set up an online store in your auction software where your guests can purchase as many raffle tickets as they’d like. Hold drawings throughout the night of your auction for multiple prizes. A raffle can help keep your guests engaged and excited about your auction from start to finish. 

Online Fundraisers 

Looking to connect with your donors everywhere? An online fundraiser is a versatile fundraising option that can help you expand your reach and raise money quickly.  

Planning an Online Fundraiser 

When you’re planning an online fundraiser, the key to your campaign’s success is multi-channel marketing. While this kind of marketing is vital for any type of fundraiser, an online fundraiser is in particular need of promotion. Plan out an email campaign and combine it with a social media campaign as well to maximize your impact. Including a text-to-give campaign can also help you reach your donors and supporters wherever they are. By using multiple channels to promote your fundraiser, you can reach the majority of your supporters and beyond, no matter what anyone’s preferred channels of communication are. 

An important part of any online fundraising campaign is having a well-designed donation form. When your donors are ready to give, they’ll head to your donation form. To entice them to complete their gift, there are a few elements you should keep in mind when creating your form. 

  • Keep your form short and simple. A long, complicated donation form can quickly deter your donors from completing their gift. With endless fields to fill out or too many donation options, your supporters might feel overwhelmed. Instead, give your donors a few options to choose from when selecting a donation amount and limit the fields they need to fill out to only the most essential. If you do need to gather extra information, try creating a multi-step form to break down your form into short, easy steps. 
  • Brand your form. Make sure your donors know exactly who they’re donating to by adding your logo and your brand colors to your donation form. You can even use the same fonts and add your organization’s mission statement to the top of your donation form to make it even more obvious. Branding your donation form builds donor trust and instills confidence in your supporters regarding your organization when they’re completing their donation. 
  • Add recurring gift nudges and modals. Recurring donors are integral to driving your mission. Their consistent form of support lends financial stability to your organization and even if their donation amount is small, their recurring gifts add up. Encourage your donors to upgrade their support to your organization to a recurring gift by adding nudges and modals to your donation form. As they complete their donation, your donors will be encouraged to turn their gift into a monthly form of support and have many opportunities to do so. 

Online Fundraiser Ideas 

While an online fundraiser is a versatile fundraising option, there are a few situations in which you should consider creating an online fundraising campaign over other types of fundraisers. 

1) Giving days. If you’re planning a giving day, an online fundraiser is the perfect way to organize it. In the weeks leading up to your giving day, make sure all of your supporters know when it’s taking place and where they can go to donate. Create an email marketing campaign and plan social media posts to spread the word. Design a donation form specific to your giving day and direct all of your donors to it once your giving day begins. 

2) Emergency fundraisers. If you need to raise money quickly in the aftermath of a natural disaster or some other emergency, an online fundraiser is the perfect way to do that. Organizing an event-based fundraiser or a peer-to-peer campaign takes time and won’t bring in donations immediately after an emergency. Instead, putting together a donation form for your emergency fundraiser is quick and easy, and promoting it far and wide is simple with various online marketing channels. 

Final thoughts 

From online campaigns to peer-to-peer events, you have plenty of options for raising money for your organization. With so many different types of fundraisers to choose from, it takes time and careful consideration to decide on what type of fundraiser will work best for your fundraising needs. Factors like how quickly you need to raise money and what your donors will most likely engage with can help you determine how you can raise money most effectively. Luckily, when it comes to fundraising, the sky’s the limit. With a little creativity and flexibility, you can come up with the best fundraising plan for your organization and meet any of your needs! 

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