Digital Giving: 4 Powerful Ways to Boost Your Events

Guest Expert - Andrew Berry • May 22, 2020

Charitable organizations across the globe are swarming to adopt the best virtual fundraising practices in order to minimize the staggering effects of the coronavirus pandemic. As a nonprofit professional, your team is likely doing the same. From optimizing your digital giving efforts to hosting virtual events and more, it’s crucial that you create a flexible, modern approach to sustain your nonprofit finances during this time.

Although this can seem overwhelming at first— especially if it’s your first experience in the digital fundraising realm— it can actually be quite simple. Before you get started, let’s walk through four of our tried-and-true online giving strategies:

  • Online donation pages
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising
  • Pledge fundraisers
  • Branded merchandise sales

Equipping your team with the right online donation tools is an essential first step to successful digital fundraising. After all, every virtual fundraising campaign or event you host will be grounded in the existence of well-crafted fundraising software. Ready to jump in and learn more about digital giving in relation to your nonprofit events? Let’s get started!

Peer to peer diagram

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Online donation pages

As you start to build out your digital fundraising strategies, it’s important to note that a solid online donation page is the cornerstone of any well-designed campaign. It allows you to collect donor information, spread the word about your mission, and accept gifts from a distance.

When creating your own online donation page, consider these top tips:

  • Ensure it’s mobile friendly so that donors can give on-the-go.
  • Brand it to your organization with your logo, color scheme, images, and fonts.
  • Encourage supporters to continue giving through recurring donations.
  • Make it easily accessible through your website, social media, and emails.
  • Only require essential information to reduce donation form abandonment.

Spark inspiration by exploring more best practices for designing your donation page here, and then get started crafting your own as soon as possible! After all, a well-designed donation page can drive fundraising revenue and donor engagement, while a poorly crafted one may lead to an increase in donor abandonment.


Peer-to-Peer Fundrasing

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a relatively new engagement strategy that’s great for furthering supporter involvement and reaching new potential donors. In a peer-to-peer fundraiser, your passionate supporters take on a new role as volunteer fundraisers and solicit donations from their social networks to raise money for your cause.

Each fundraiser receives an individual fundraising page that can be personalized to highlight their own connection to your organization. Then, they’re encouraged to share it with friends and family to effectively secure funds and spread the word about your mission.

Peer-to-peer fundraisers allow your nonprofit to:

  • Spread your reach to your donors’ personal networks.
  • Leverage social proof.
  • Maximize emotional connections to your mission.
  • Encourage friendly competition between fundraisers.

If you’re looking to host a peer-to-peer fundraiser, the most fundamentally crucial component is having a strong group of volunteers and supporters that are willing to fundraise on your behalf. After all, these dedicated individuals are taking increased responsibility on themselves and advocating for your mission!

That’s also why it’s so important that you equip these fundraisers with the tools they’ll need to succeed. For instance, make sure to provide each individual with a customizable fundraising page, social media and outreach templates, and resources for tracking their progress.

Virtual Fundraising Events

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Use this FREE planner to help your team visualize how much work needs to be done and what should be prioritized prior to the event. 


Pledge fundraisers

A pledge campaign is a unique nonprofit fundraiser where prospects promise to make future donations which are processed at a later date. Oftentimes, supporters are more willing to pledge support and fulfill the donation later, rather than be put on the spot for a gift right away.

Pledge campaigns often go hand-in-hand with fundraising events, whether in-person or via digital means. For instance, “event-a-thon” style fundraisers are common pledge campaigns where supporters pledge a certain amount per activity completed— like a lap walked, song danced, or lap swam.

This is the basic process that a pledge fundraiser follows to collect support from generous donors:

  1. Donors pledge their support for a particular fundraiser, but gifts are not processed yet.
  2. The campaign ends in response to a preset deadline, met goal, or activity completed.
  3. Pledged donations are collected and processed.

The most successful pledge fundraisers make use of pledge-specific software to provide a quick, easy, and flexible user experience. After all, the entire purpose behind pledge drives is to secure support without being bogged down by a complicated giving process. When users can commit to a gift in mere seconds, they’ll be more likely to become engaged with your organization and ultimately complete the donation.


Branded merchandise sales

One of the best ways to raise money for your mission, get supporters excited about your organization, and provide a unique incentive for giving is with branded nonprofit merchandise sales. 

When paired with a big event, pre-selling merchandise can boost engagement and drive support for the event ahead of time. Plus, with everyone stuck at home due to social distancing guidelines, there’s been significantly more time for online shopping!

Here are some great examples of merchandise that your supporters will love:

  • T-shirt
  • Hoodie
  • Coffee mug
  • Baseball cap
  • Drawstring bag

Be sure to sell items that are practical, well-designed, and of high-quality material. That way, supporters are making a solid investment into something they’ll be able to use regularly, while also supporting a cause they care about. As an added bonus, supporters sporting your merchandise in public work effectively as personal billboards for your nonprofit.

No matter how you choose to engage with your supporters in the midst of a crisis, the bottom line is that it’s not the time to stop fundraising. Providing unique opportunities for donors to get involved with your mission is a great way to promote positivity and stay top-of-mind. Whether you’re optimizing your donation page or hosting a social fundraiser, be sure to follow up and thank your donors for every contribution to your cause. Best of luck!

About the author:

Andrew is the head of marketing and customer success for Donately. After getting involved with nonprofits at a young age, he discovered a passion for helping the organizations that are making the world a better place. Knowing how vital online fundraising has become, his goal is to help nonprofits raise more money online each year! In his spare time, you will find him cooking up dinner, playing with his dog or cheering on Boston sports teams.