Fundraising ideas for a nonprofit organization can be difficult during any season. After COVID struck, your board and others like it were forced to face the possibility of a drop in donations due to lockdowns and quarantines. Public fundraisers with crowds of people had to be canceled, postponed, or modified. To make matters worse, would-be donors tightened their belts and put donations on pause due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Obviously, these issues and events created cash flow problems for nonprofits. For some, the lack of donations could even threaten their livelihood.
In many cases, nonprofit boards did exactly what for-profit companies did—looked for innovative ways to keep their operations going. Perhaps your board regrouped and started brainstorming ways to continue your annual fundraisers or made plans to create new virtual or socially distanced events.
And how do things look for 2021? With vaccines readily available and the COVID numbers slowing way down, large in-person events may be possible soon. Perhaps the pandemic was an opportunity for nonprofits to explore out-of-the-box ideas for new fundraising events. Post-pandemic is a good time to explore which of the virtual or contactless fundraising events were successful enough to continue them.
As your board makes decisions about how to move forward, consider the benefits of virtual or contactless fundraising events. They may cost less to put on or they may require fewer volunteers. These are good reasons to continue doing them now and in the future as your nonprofit will get to keep more of the funds.
Post-Covid Fundraising Ideas for Your Nonprofit Organization
It may be worthwhile to continue some or all of the fundraisers that you’ve had in the past, as well. Bear in mind, not everyone feels 100% safe attending large events, so such events might not be as fruitful as they’ve been in the past.
To give you some new ideas to keep your nonprofit going during these challenging times, we’re giving you 8 new ideas for virtual and contactless fundraisers.
If you know of a band or other performer that is interested in your cause, consider partnering with them to put on a live-streaming concert, and start selling tickets. Reach out to your regular supporters and invite them to attend or donate if they can’t. You might also consider some type of freebie or another incentive. You could also set up a virtual meet-and-greet with band members for a slightly larger donation.
Set up a website where you can use images and videos to showcase auction items. An online auction platform is perfect for this type of event. Choose an emcee to announce the winners at your virtual auction. Interject some dialogue and make announcements about your mission and why you’re raising funds. An online meter-board will tell your guests how close you’re getting to your goal.
There’s no need to cancel your 5K walk/run because your supporters don’t feel safe enough to attend. Races lend themselves well to a virtual environment. Ask participants to get pledges per mile or kilometer just as they would for an in-person event. Each walker or runner runs on their own and turns in their donations after their virtual race. Set up a website where they can showcase photos and videos of their participation.
Virtual Movie Night
Everyone loves movies, and a virtual movie night makes a great fundraiser when you sell tickets for a great documentary that’s related to your cause. Set up a date and time for everyone to watch the movie at home. Open up chat rooms for online group discussions. You might even consider having an expert online who can answer viewer’s questions. Be sure to add a donate button to your website, promote the event as a fundraiser, and refer to the donation site throughout the event.
A growing trend for nonprofits is birthday fundraisers. Why not ask your board, staff, and volunteers to hold a Facebook birthday fundraiser to donate to your cause? It’s the same concept as “many hands make light work.” Another suggestion is to ask people to set up a Zoom birthday party and ask for donations in lieu of gifts. Make it festive, keep it fun!
Set up a date and time for a virtual trivia night. Encourage attendees to grab a beverage and a light snack and get ready for some trivia. Choose a lively host, add some music, and sell tickets. It would be fun to choose some questions that relate to your mission and your cause. If your trivia night is successful, you might consider doing it monthly or a few times a year. Local businesses may be interested in partnering with your organization to offer gifts or prizes.
Virtual Class or Workshop
Workshops and classes are popular events. Host a virtual event. Think about things like painting, poetry, cooking, yoga, meditation, exercise, or a craft and ask for a donation to attend. There’s no limit to the possibilities.
You don’t have to cancel your annual conference, just host it virtually. Get a big lineup of excellent speakers and create an online schedule of events where attendees can enjoy your virtual conference from the comfort of their homes. Offer an online store where attendees can purchase merchandise, books, and other materials.
As a final tip, this is a perfect time to bolster your fundraising efforts by making sure that your donation button is prominent on your website and that all your promotions point to it. Highlight the good work that your organization does and set up a contact form with an invitation to receive your newsletter.
This is also a good time for your board to get organized and put together a game plan for how to ramp up your fundraising efforts once your supporters feel more comfortable attending all the events they enjoyed before the pandemic began. Hopefully, our fundraising ideas for your nonprofit organization will help breathe new life into your fundraising efforts.
To help your board continue working virtually, the BoardEffect board management system is a valuable tool for managing all your board activities whether your board meets in person or not. With BoardEffect, you can create online board books quickly and share them with board members just as easily. Shared calendars, secure file-sharing, and secure messaging tools give you the ability to conduct board business regardless of the circumstances. With granular permissions, you have total control over access to board materials.
Challenging times are never fun, but they provide valuable opportunities for your nonprofit to learn and grow. The lessons you learn may pave new paths to prosperity and sustainability in the future.