Many nonprofits have a lot more to handle now with the rising needs in their communities. So, that means that fundraising is crucial at this time with fundraisers seeking proven fundraising ideas. With the general unease in communities, nonprofits have had to think fast to maintain revenue. But as we know, donors and the public want to support a good cause, which is why virtual fundraising ideas have taken hold. At a time when many people and families are staying close to home, and where in-person events have subsided, online fundraisers are the top way to raise funds.
Virtual Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits
As has gotten reported, nonprofit groups and donors have embraced online fundraising. For instance, March of Dimes took its signature March for Babies walk into a virtual fundraiser called March for Babies Step Up! The campaign asks supporters to march inside of their homes or in their neighborhoods using the app, Charity Miles, to track their efforts. Also, Half of Pancreative Cancer Action Network has a 58 PurpleStride Walk. It too has gotten transformed from an in-person walk to a virtual one. Further, the group mobilized its fundraisers with regular communication, town halls, and online forums. So, let’s take a look at how you too can get creative by doing virtual fundraising, which is here to stay.
1) Virtual fundraising with shoe drive fundraisers
Our top online fundraising idea is shoe drive fundraisers. Why is this such a great idea? It’s simple. Your supporters help you raise funds from the comfort of their homes just by cleaning out their closet. Most families have 10 to 15 shoes lying around the house, per person, no longer worn. Those shoes still have value, and they mean fundraising dollars for your nonprofit group. All you have to do is to encourage your supporters to clean out their closets and storage areas and give you the shoes. Once the shoe drive fundraiser ends, you receive a check from your social enterprise partner.
A shoe drive fundraiser is excellent for online fundraising because it’s easy to promote it creatively—and no one has to sell or give money. For instance, nonprofits do outreach through email marketing and social media to crowdsource shoes. It’s one of those fundraisers where you can let your imagination go to promote it in so many ways. As an example, you can motivate supporters to walk their homes in the shoes they plan to give you and to share their virtual walks (and shoe collections) on their social platforms. You can also partner with businesses, schools, and shops to serve as drop off locations for shoes. Doing so not only raises your brand, but also that of your partners.
2) Online run/walk event health and nonprofit fundraising
We don’t know how long the public will feel that they have to restrict their movement. And, that means people may stay at home more or limit their outings. As we know, it’s essential for everyone’s health to keep moving. So, another awesome online fundraising idea your nonprofit can do is an online run/walk event. When you do an online run/walk event, you ask people to get up and move for their health and your group!
Essentially, your supporters pledge to walk or run a specific amount of miles. As we mentioned, this could be done at home using stairs or backyards. It can also take place with runs or walks in the neighborhoods where your supporters live. To keep track of the miles, as was mentioned earlier, you can use Charity Miles. Your supporters and champions will appreciate the opportunity to raise money for themselves while they also keep themselves healthy!
3) Video gaming tournament for all video players
Have you ever thought about hosting a video gaming tournament as one of your virtual fundraising ideas? We have all of the information you need to know in our free gaming fundraising guide. As you will see in the guide, 43 percent of adults in the U.S. play video games. Gaming is expanding beyond video games played on consoles, and people of all ages enjoy it. For instance, 62 percent of the population enjoys puzzle and strategy games, and mobile apps and games on computers have made it so easy for everyone to get in on the fun!
As you can read in the gaming fundraising guide, the gaming community is charitable. And, that’s one of the reasons why nonprofits such as Save the Children, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and GameChanger Charity all participate in gaming tournaments. Your nonprofit can do it too! You can choose to do your event in person, but you can also do online fundraising. For a virtual event, all you have to do is to choose a cross-platform video game or two to play so everyone can join, no matter their consoles.
4) Reimagine a gala as an ‘ungala’
Many charities love the idea of hosting a gala. Sure, it’s a chance for people to get dressed in their best for a night out in support of a good cause. However, we also know that galas have become stale, even if nonprofits like doing them. You can be a nonprofit leader by reimagining the gala for a while new audience to dominate fundraising. All you have to do is to promote an ‘ungala’ as one of your virtual fundraising ideas.
Follow the lead of a nonprofit group like, Girls Inc. When you do an ungala, you ask your supporters to join you in peer-to-peer fundraising at a virtual fundraising event. Just choose a peer-to-peer fundraising platform that works for your organization. Set a night for your virtual fundraising party, with great entertainment and speakers, and you can even suggest a menu. If you want people to get dressed up, ask them to do it in the invitation. Then have a great night—at home—sharing a fun, engaging, and successful virtual fundraising event.
5) Paint and sip online fundraising
You may have participated in quarantine events, and often at night, they involve a toast with a drink. Well, how about creating a fun, lively, and creative virtual fundraising event with a paint and sip party? People will love the chance to mix it up with friends and others in this kind of event, where everyone can become a painting master! All you need to do is to connect with a painting store, such as Pinot’s Palette or Painting with a twist, where you can get a percentage of revenue. Also, you can make a deal with a local painting supply store to give you a percentage of the proceeds for encouraging people to get their supplies at that store.
Make sure to invite a local painter or artist to lead your participants through a painting class. Ask your attendees to pick up their painting supplies from your partner store or organization. And, you can also ask people to make an online fundraising donation to your cause for participating during your paint and sip party. Don’t forget that this can be a fun activity for your entire community. So, make it a point to ask supporters to share the information of your fundraiser, and ask for sponsorship from local businesses, church groups, and clubs as well.
Sure, fundraising has changed a bit, but you can still raise money for your cause. And don’t forget that one of the best things you can do is mix and match events. For instance, you can include a shoe drive fundraiser (it helps you and 300 million people!) with a video gaming tournament as another way for people to support your cause. So, let your virtual creativity soar!
The virtual fundraising realm is bursting with potential so long as you get creative. If you need more inspiration for your next online fundraiser, check out this awesome resource from Soapbox Engage: 40+ Virtual Fundraising Ideas [Updated Fall 2020]
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