Different Levels of Online Fundraising Campaigns

Planning an online fundraising campaign is no easy task.  But, keep in mind that depending on the type of fundraiser you decide to host, the amount of effort required to plan and manage your fundraising campaign may vary significantly.

Two women using tablet computerSo what kind of fundraiser will you host? There are so many options today! From gala fundraising events, to online donations drives, to walk-a-thons to charity golf tournaments, to online auctions…how do you decide?  For starters, you may want to consider a few of the following questions:

  • What is my budget & what resources are available to me?
  • How many participants will we have? Are we engaging our whole company, school or church? How will we recruit volunteers and participants?
  • Is there online fundraising software to help us manage our specific fundraiser?

Perhaps by answering some of these questions, they will lead you in the right direction to help you decide the TYPE of fundraiser that is right for your group. With that in mind, we’ve provided examples of three different levels of online fundraising campaigns. By “levels” we mean…

  1. level of investment required,
  2. how labor-intensive is the fundraiser,
  3. level of engagement required from participants

Different Levels Online Fundraising Campaigns

fundraising-at-workExample 1: Fundraising Events. If you have some money for initial costs and a team of excited people to help out, fundraising events can not only be the most lucrative fundraisers, but also the most fun. They are a great way to bring community members together to celebrate a worthy cause. Do keep in mind, when organizing a fundraising event (such as a walk-a-thon, charity golf tournament, or gala fundraising event) you’re likely to do better with a team of people helping with the planning. From negotiating contracts with vendors, to managing physical logistics for the event venue, to looking for fundraising sponsorships, to getting participants to sign up and then engaging them to collect online pledges…there’s a lot that goes into the planning!  In addition, there may be some up-front costs (i.e. reserving the venue, paying for entertainers, food and beverages, etc.)  Again, these kinds of events have proven time and time again to bring in a great deal of money, yet they do require some up-front investments and commitment from many people, so just be prepared, and you’ll do great!

Example 2: Online Auction. An online charity auction, on the other hand is not as labor intensive, nor does it take a great deal of money up-front.  It can be managed completely online with possibly only one admin. There aren’t many out-of-pocket expenses, as auction items are typically donated.  So basically you just have to post the items online, update bid descriptions, values, etc. and let the bidding begin! The only actual cost to your organization may be the charity auction software as you’ll clearly need to have an auction website to host your event.  There are some details that must be organized, such as: reaching out to businesses and local celebrities to request donation items, organizing the details to post on the site, and promoting the event. Yet, your staff will not be challenged with some of the logistics and negotiations that come along with hosting a physical event.

Example 3: Donations Drive. This online fundraising campaign is quite easy to manage. You are basically asking people to donate money to your cause by making an online donation.  All you really need to do is set up your donations website so people have a place to go to make a secure credit card payment. Then of course, you need to promote it!  Sending emails with the link to your website, posting on your organization’s home page, making posts on your social networking sites are all great ways to drive traffic to your site. Don’t get me wrong…just cause it’s easy, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Say you are an elementary school and this is your big school fundraiser. You can motivate students, teachers and parents by providing prizes for the class who raises the most funds. This can easily be tracked on your fundraising website as people simply select student and/or teacher when making their donations. One more recommendation we have is to “suggest” a donation amount. Often people aren’t sure how much to donate, so by suggesting an amount to help you reach your goal may provide some guidance. (my son’s school did this and suggested $150 per student)

Whatever online fundraising campaign you do choose to host, we wish you the best of luck!