Four Unique Fundraising Ideas to Increase Donor Engagement

The vital services nonprofits provide are needed now more than ever, but economic uncertainty and limits on public gatherings are creating unprecedented challenges to nonprofits of all sizes. During this challenging time, nonprofits need to act swiftly and readjust any previously planned in-person events to stay on top of fundraising efforts.

Below are four unique fundraising ideas for nonprofits to increase donor engagement and facilitate donations.


1. Peer-to-Peer Gamification Increases Fundraising

Instead of hosting in-person events such as walks, runs, rides, and collecting donations in their communities, nonprofits across the country must adapt to a new fundraising model and find creative ways to engage supporters and fundraise for their mission.

Virtual peer-to-peer events, for example, allow participants to engage with a campaign on their own time, while still supporting your cause and even doing so in a way that improves their health. For instance, responding to nonprofits’ urgent needs, FrontStream teamed up with employee health and wellness solutions leading provider, MoveSpring, to provide a first-of-its-kind, truly virtual fundraising solution that seamlessly syncs with fan-favorite fitness trackers including wearables and smartphones accessible through the all-in-one digital fundraising platform, Panorama. It is the only solution of its kind available to nonprofits today and is specifically designed to drive participant engagement and donations through gamification and real-time activity tracking, enabling a complete, 360-degree view of fundraising efforts.

By moving events online, nonprofits can quickly and easily organize and implement fundraisers, while maintaining a branded presence throughout the virtual experience. In a time where social interaction, remaining physically active and helping out are more important than ever, leveraging the virtual fundraising solution is a fun, collective way to raise money for a cause.   


2. Virtual Fundraising Events Drive Donations   

While much of the country is under social distancing restrictions, holding virtual events helps your supporters participate and continue feeling connected to the causes they care about most. When in-person events like galas and auctions are not possible, nonprofits can pivot to hosting a virtual event such as an online charity auction. Through the Panorama platform’s cloud-hosted auction management capabilities, nonprofits can launch a charity auction online to drive donations.

Panorama enables organizations to quickly create and host an auction on, the nonprofit industry’s premier destination site for charitable auctions happening right now. Nonprofits can easily configure an event, post items online and offer remote mobile bidding and direct donations through a secure and integrated payment processing platform. Charities also get access to a public bidder community of more than 1 million bidders.

There’s no need to cancel your peer-to-peer events, either, when they can also be made virtual. For example, Misericordia, a nonprofit in Chicago, IL that provides residence, programs and services for individuals with developmental disabilities, has embraced the challenges that COVID-19 has presented head-on and has found creative ways to adapt and ensure success. This year, the team at Misericordia transformed its signature spring fundraiser, Candy Days, to be completely virtual.

Through a platform like Panorama by FrontStream, nonprofits like Misericordia are able to create unique email campaigns for donors that include opportunities to become more involved with the organization, such as participating in virtual fundraising events. Misericordia was pleased to find that their many volunteers were happy to participate virtually and create a fundraising page on their event website. Check out the blog post to learn more about the key steps Misericordia carried out to create a successful virtual fundraising campaign!


3. DIY Events Open the Door to More Giving

One of the latest trends in fundraising is Do-It-Yourself (DIY), peer-to-peer campaigns. These are a great option to target new audiences and personalize fundraising experiences. DIY fundraisers like the ice bucket challenge, for instance, deliver much-needed funds to nonprofits striving to do more good.

DIY events are specifically helpful for smaller nonprofits that may not have the resources to host large-scale events during a typical year. However, DIY campaigns are a great addition to any nonprofit’s fundraising efforts, especially when in-person events are being canceled due to current public gathering limitations. 

Through DIY events, organizers can set goals, a time frame and a method of fundraising. Since they own the event, it’s the organizer’s responsibility to create a fundraising page, build momentum for their cause and raise money. Rather than having just one or two annual signature events, this growing trend is causing leading nonprofits to move toward a portfolio of campaigns that give their supporters a variety of ways to participate and support the organization.


4. Fundraising Technology Increases Digital Donations

These new technologies allow for a fundraising component to be incorporated into the campaign, yielding more opportunities to raise money. With the amount of customization possible and the pre-existing structure of the event, these campaigns are a hybrid of a DIY and a traditional nonprofit-hosted event.

Through leveraging the latest digital fundraising technology and the unique fundraising ideas above, nonprofits can encourage their communities to continue giving what they can and supporting the missions they are most passionate about. By reimagining traditional peer-to-peer events to include virtual and DIY options, nonprofits will succeed in fundraising efforts and attract new lifetime donors.

For additional virtual fundraising inspiration, download our guide that includes 101 creative item ideas for your next online auction.


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