A (Very) Quick Guide to Building a Fundraising Community

lego character around a lego christmas tree

Why should you be interested in building a fundraising community? Because it provides your nonprofit organization with a committed network of people and groups who will support your cause year-round, are genuinely interested in making significant strides towards your cause and make sure their personal networks are informed about your work.

1. Enable

First things first, you should make sure your supporters have access to an infrastructure that allows them to fundraise for you. If fundraising on behalf of your organization is too complex, even the most engaged supporters will be discouraged from taking action. Whether you use a custom built platform, Classy or another peer-2-peer enabling software, make “Start Fundraising” discoverable and simple.

The Livestrong Foundation makes it easy to start fundraising.

2. Empower

What good is enabling someone to create a fundraising page without providing any resources on how to be a successful fundraiser? A lot of fundraisers – and nonprofit organizations – are unpleasantly surprised when they have a donation page up but flop on actually getting donations. Fundraising takes thoughtful messaging, effective storytelling and a lot of effort. Don’t let fundraisers fail – provide them with the support they need to raise money on behalf of your cause and you’ll see your fundraising community feel more empowered, motivated and engaged with your mission.

Charity:Water has an incredible assets section to support fundraisers’ efforts.

Community is based on rallying around shared core values and a story we’ve been similarly moved by. Giving fundraisers freedom to express their personal connection to your cause is very important, but maintaining cohesiveness in your branding and story will also be important in empowering fundraisers with well-thought-out messaging. Create assets that express the main tenets of your mission and work so fundraisers can provide their networks with the appropriate messages that will motivate others to take action.

3. Recognize

Building a strong fundraising community entails consistently recognizing the effort and successes of those community members. Highlighting your organization’s appreciation for its community’s work will serve as a joyful reminder about moving towards an important goal, together. Successful fundraising communities applaud one another’s work, offer each other support and maintain a uniform vision of success.

Barbells for Boobs motivates the community by highlighting top fundraisers.

4. Map

It’s becoming more and more important for organizations to provide visual markers of their impact. Mapping is an amazing (and increasingly easy) way for nonprofits to demonstrate the reach of their work. Bolster your fundraising community’s identity by connecting them with the world and people they are serving. Empower them to discover more about these communities and find ways to personally connect them with your constituents. The world is smaller than we think, and oftentimes this realization emboldens our motivation to help others.

Charity:Water visually demonstrates the reach of their supporters.

5. Report

Like mapping, effective reporting demonstrates the tangible impact your work is having in various sectors and communities. Making these reports clear, visual and shareable will help your fundraising community spread the word about why they are supporting your work, how their efforts are making a difference and communicating your cause to new people that might not have encountered your organization before.

Acumen provides a clear snapshot of investment impact per project.

Image Credit: Michael Li

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