3 Fundraising Innovations to Keep on Your Radar in 2022

Cassie Losquadro • Dec 13, 2021

Many nonprofits stick with the tried-and-true fundraising methods when planning their fundraising calendars year after year. These organizations see innovative, on-the-rise donor engagement efforts as a risk— and they’re not willing to take that risk on the chance that the new method doesn’t achieve the results of their bread-and-butter fundraising efforts.

While sticking to the basics can help you reach comparable fundraising goals that you’ve achieved in the past, that’s about all that these well-worn strategies will achieve. But if you want to go beyond past achievements and actually grow your fundraising and impact over time, you need to embrace an entrepreneurial mindset and try out a few innovative approaches.

In this guide, we’re going to cover three fundraising innovations to keep on your nonprofit’s radar as you plan your fundraising calendar in 2022:

Each of these rising fundraising and donor engagement efforts has been used by real-world nonprofits to great success, so there aren’t uncharted waters. You simply need to explore and find ways to make each strategy your own.

With that in mind, let’s get started!

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1. Social Giving

Social giving, also known a virtual-first or virtual-native fundraising, is a type of fundraising that takes place entirely online through social media networks. A few examples of this would be the “Donate” buttons on Facebook (Meta), Instagram, and TikTok, Facebook (Meta) birthday fundraisers, and even social network-based peer-to-peer challenges.

This type of fundraising is rising in popularity for a few different reasons:

  1. It empowers supporters to conduct campaigns on behalf of nonprofits independently. Whether through Facebook (Meta), Instagram, or TikTok, when individuals are given the autonomy to raise funds on behalf of their favorite cause, they’ve been shown to embrace the opportunity eagerly.
  2. It has unlimited reach. As billions of people spanning the globe use social media, social giving campaigns can raise more funding than nonprofits could have conceivably raised at a comparable scale in the past.
  3. It allows people to raise funds where they spend time. Think of your social network use—if you’re like most adults, you may have multiple accounts that you check intermittently throughout the day. Scrolling through news feeds is part of societal culture. Social giving allows supporters to fundraise where they’re already spending a significant amount of time.

The impact of social giving has outpaced what anyone would have predicted at its creation in 2015. On Facebook (Meta) alone, over $5 billion has been raised using the platform’s fundraising tools. TikTok, which only released fundraising tools in 2020, has already seen hundreds of thousands raised through the platform.

To incorporate this fundraising innovation into your nonprofit’s strategy, follow these best practices:

  • Embrace social giving internally. Some nonprofits see social giving as a trend that will fizzle out with time. The widespread adoption of these tools so far suggests otherwise. Align your organizational culture with a digital-first mindset and begin researching the various social giving opportunities available.
  • Share the opportunity across your various communications channels. This includes on social networks themselves as well as on your website and in your text-messaged communications, emailed newsletters, and direct mail.
  • Equip supporters with the tools they need to succeed. Social giving is supporter-driven, meaning individuals can create and complete campaigns without any intervention from your team. These individuals aren’t fundraising professionals and may not understand the best practices to help them reach their goals. Create educational guides and resources that include fundraising tips and an overview of how social giving works and share them widely.

Social giving allows your nonprofit to connect with the next generation of supporters and begin stewarding them into a lifetime of support. However, that’s not done through simply educating your audience about social giving. The following two tips are what will take someone from a one-time fundraiser to a long-term supporter.

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2. Challenge Fundraisers on Facebook (Meta)

Challenges on Facebook (Meta) are one type of social giving that stepped into the spotlight in 2020 and 2021, largely driven by nonprofits that were at risk of fundraising declines due to the mass pivot of in-person fundraising events to virtual.

Challenges on Facebook (Meta) are time-bound peer-to-peer campaigns that take place entirely on the social network. During a Challenge, participants complete a task (such as walking, running, biking, or calisthenics) each day for a set duration (such as two weeks to one month). While doing so, they raise funds for your nonprofit using Facebook (Meta)’s built-in fundraising tools.

Challenges are popular for a few different reasons:

  • They’re easy for your nonprofit to plan and easy for supporters to join. Because both parties likely already have accounts on Facebook, the infrastructure for the fundraiser already exists.
  • They’re an additive fundraising method. With GoodUnited Challenges on Facebook (Meta), we’ve found that 90%+ of the individuals who participate in a Challenge are either new to the cause or the nonprofit itself. You’re not pulling supporters away from other fundraising efforts but rather engaging with an audience that you’ve never encountered previously.

To incorporate Challenges on Facebook (Meta) into your nonprofit’s strategy, complete the following steps:

  1. Outline the parameters for your Challenge, including the start/end dates, the task participants will complete, and individual and campaign-wide fundraising goals.
  2. Create a Facebook (Meta) group for participants to gather in, share encouragement, donate to one another’s campaigns, and experience the camaraderie of an in-person event online.
  3. Use Facebook (Meta) Ads to spread the word about the campaign, targeting both known supporters and lookalike audiences.
  4. Engage with participants for the duration of the Challenge, sharing fundraising tips, encouragement, and group engagement prompts.

The community-aspect of Challenges, created using Facebook (Meta) groups, is what helps participants reach their goals and build a connection to your nonprofit. When a participant feels connected to this community, they’ll be more likely to participate in other campaigns your organization holds in the future.

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3. Conversational Messaging

Conversational messaging describes one-on-one conversations held between a supporter and a representative from your nonprofit— just like speaking in person, except it takes place using digital tools such as the messenger functionality on a social media network.

Conversational messaging is powerful because it:

  • Allows your nonprofit to build one-on-one connections with supporters near and far.
  • Opens a channel for supporter communications throughout the year, rather than just during campaigns.
  • Gives supporters tailored answers to their individual inquiries about your nonprofit.

Not only does conversational messaging allow you to connect with individuals that you may not have been able to speak with previously, but it provides a better experience for those individuals when you do connect. That said, few (if any) nonprofits have the team capacity to hand-type customized responses to every supporter who messages them on social media, which we’ve discussed has unlimited reach.

If you’re considering incorporating messaging into your nonprofit’s strategy, partner with a social fundraising services provider that offers messaging automation.

Many organizations avoid messaging automation, fearing it gives supporters a stale, robotic, and generally unpleasant experience. However, automation has evolved. Your services provider will be able to customize communications sequences to not only fit your nonprofit’s branding and key messaging but also program them to adjust and evolve depending on your supporters’ responses.

The truth is, it’s challenging to simply post thank-you notes to all of your nonprofit’s social supporters by hand, let alone hold individualized conversations with each. With automation, you can do both and ensure that every supporter has a positive experience with your nonprofit— regardless of how many supporters you’re engaging with at any given point.

While some nonprofits avoid incorporating innovative fundraising strategies into their yearly planning, taking a risk on up-and-coming strategies can be what elevates your nonprofit from simply “getting by” to making a major impact.

Social giving has been growing in the past few years, and a digital-first approach can set your organization apart from the crowd. From there, Challenges on Facebook (Meta) and automated conversational messaging can seal the deal. Good luck!

About the author:

Cassie Losquadro, Solutions Executive, GoodUnited

Cassie Losquadro is a sales leader at GoodUnited, the social giving solution. Cassie has spent the last 5 years in the fundraising technology space. Cassie is energized by working with nonprofit leaders and changemakers who are to a person, saving the world through their initiatives. Hailing from Rhode Island, Cassie lives and works from Charleston, SC with her husband, two children, and a rescue pup Bella.

Connect with Cassie on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cassiefaella/