When it comes to fundraising for your nonprofit, creativity is key. Launching a unique campaign can set your organization apart by creating a buzz around your mission, engaging new audiences, and getting people excited to participate in something meaningful.
Below, we’ve highlighted four creative angles to consider for your next fundraising campaign, complete with four nonprofit examples to show how these ideas can be brought to life.
Creative Angles to Take on Your Next Campaign
1. Host a Contest With Multiple Ways to Participate
Hosting a contest can be an effective way to raise funds and encourage participation, but it’s important to remember that friendly competition isn’t for everyone. There should be a way for every supporter to get involved and enjoy the experience, whether it’s participating in the contest, voting for the winner, purchasing merchandise, or fundraising for the cause.
The Helen Woodward Animal Center ran with this approach for their Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon event. Since it’s safe to assume that not every donor has a dog or lives near the ocean, their team offered alternative ways to show support by inviting everyone to register for the Couch Surfing Pet Photo Contest, vote online for the People’s Choice surfing dog, buy merchandise at their virtual store, or fundraise for the cause.
This campaign was structured as a registration with fundraising event, which encourages event attendees to also fundraise on top of their event registration. Implementing peer-to-peer fundraising into your event can open the door to exponential fundraising potential. In fact, Classy’s registration with fundraising campaigns typically raise a median amount 4.5 times greater than ticketed events.
If you registered for the dog surf contest, a fundraising page was automatically created for you. If you chose not to hit the waves with your pup, you could sign up as a non-participant fundraiser and invite your network to help you raise money. And by bringing this event online as a virtual fundraiser, people were able to participate from anywhere in the world.
Download our guide, The Anatomy of a Successful Registration With Fundraising Campaign, for more on how to leverage this campaign type at your organization.
2. Establish an Annual Giving Day
Hosting an annual giving day campaign is a great way to consistently engage donors and get them excited about your latest initiatives. Identify a specific day within a month or season that’s relevant to your cause, like the first day of cancer awareness month for the American Cancer Society, and dedicate your marketing efforts toward generating a buzz around the specific campaign goal your organization has set.
St. Benedict’s Preparatory School hosted their 2021 Best of Benedict’s Giving Day campaign in May to drive engagement and excitement prior to their end-of-school-year fundraising push. Since the organization’s annual spring gala was postponed due to COVID-19, the team invited all supporters to join in celebrating their students virtually instead. Giving Day is followed by a day dedicated to faculty, which consists of a virtual auction, and a third day dedicated to alumni, which includes a virtual reunion.
Best of Benedict’s Giving Day is structured as a peer-to-peer campaign with the options to donate or fundraise on behalf of a team. The teams included academic departments, sports teams, a scholarship fund, and more. With a goal to mirror their success from 2020, the team started marketing the event in April with an ad in their spring magazine, then followed up with a strong email and social media presence starting about one month out from the event.
For tips on how to create an outreach strategy that will activate your donors and keep them engaged all year long, download these nine email templates.
3. Partner With a Business to Create a Virtual Store
Ask a local business or corporation that aligns with your mission if they’d be interested in teaming up to sell their products in support of a good cause. It’s important to understand your audience before seeking out this opportunity in order to avoid partnering with a business that your supporters have no interest in, but finding the right match could build positive press for the corporation while amplifying the impact of your organization’s mission.
NARAL Pro-Choice Washington linked their supporters to self-care products and services from locally-, women-, and BIPOC-led self-care businesses in hopes of raising money toward their mission to advance reproductive freedom. The campaign leveraged a ticketed events template to sell these self-care bundles, offering the option to either buy items online or donate via a traditional Classy donation form.
Similarly to finding the right corporate partner for your Giving Tuesday campaign or other initiatives, finding a partnership for your virtual store fundraising event all starts with identifying your mission, knowing your audience, and understanding your unique value as an organization. Make sure your supporters match with the company’s customers, and then continue to nurture this relationship far beyond the end of your event. This strong partnership can continue serving your organization if it’s nurtured.
4. Build Relationships With Influential Members of Your Community
Establishing strong relationships with local personalities or influential members of your community can generate buzz around your organization and amplify your campaigns. Whether it’s a radio show host, TV personality, athlete, or government official, this public figure can spread awareness of your mission to their network and help organically grow your donor base.
The Food Bank for Larimer County and Weld Food Bank invited local radio host, Scott James, back two years in a row to raise money for their organizations by breaking his own record of 50 consecutive hours on the Johnstown ferris wheel. With the goal to provide more than 150,000 meals to those in need in their community, these food banks asked their donors to pledge $1 an hour toward Scott’s 51-hour ferris wheel ride.
Leveraging the influence of an impactful member of your community can engage new supporters, motivate them to get involved, and get them excited to participate in your fundraising campaigns. In addition, you can promote this influencer’s involvement with your campaign on social media channels to generate additional momentum.
Learning how to take advantage of particular seasons, corporate partnerships, and relationships with members of your community can boost your nonprofit’s fundraising success and provide you with fresh ideas to engage new and existing donors.
Consider ways that your organization can leverage these creative angles, and then put them into action with the help of our fundraising campaign checklists.