By: Keisha Hartman
Do-it-yourself (DIY) fundraising is an important initiative for many nonprofits because of the flexibility supporters have to start a fundraiser. Looking to improve upon your existing strategy? We’ve listed our top things to consider when building a successful DIY program.
DIY fundraising is flexible, personalized, and can also be an acquisition tool. Fundraisers can choose to fundraise for anything. They can hike a mountain and ask for donations for every foot of elevation climbed or raise awareness for animal cruelty and bake vegan cookies to sell at a bake sale. When choosing a platform to use, ensure that fundraising pages are easy for your supporters to set up and integrate with your database.
Fundraisers should have the flexibility to set up their page and solicit donations on your behalf with little to no barriers to start. Because donors tap into their own network of family and friends, your reach is far more than just sending out an email campaign and asking supporters to make a donation.
Campaign vs. Evergreen DIY
DIY fundraising can either be evergreen (available all year round) or campaign (focused on a specific time frame and could be directed towards a specific initiative).
- While still a DIY, all messaging is focused around a particular initiative such as Child Abuse Awareness Month
- Ideas to fundraise are likely more geared towards the campaign. In the Child Abuse Awareness Month example, blue is the awareness color, so messaging around “Go Blue” or wear blue is a call to action
- A thermometer is included on the landing page to create a sense of urgency since campaigns are usually time specific
- Ways to get involved could include celebrations (weddings and birthdays), athletic events (5ks and hiking), creating your own (bake sale, go vegan for a month), or as an honor or tribute fundraising event (retirement or in memory of someone)
- No thermometer is included on the landing page
- The information on the landing page is more about the organization and how easy it is to fundraise
How-To Find the Right Fundraisers
You have your site ready to go, so how do you find the right fundraisers? Start with what you know about your current supporters. Then tailor your messaging to these individuals to be your ambassadors and/or exclusive partners to help kick start your DIY fundraising program.
- Your Board Members: Board members are already dedicated to your cause, so ask them to tap into their social and professional networks
- Social Media: Take a look at who follows or interacts with you on social media. If they have a large following, you may approach them to be an ambassador for you
- Your Volunteers: Target your most active and generous volunteers and ask them to be one of your first DIY fundraisers
- Sponsor Connections and Companies: Ask your sponsors and long-time community partners if they would be interested or know someone who would be. You’d be surprised at the number of corporations and businesses that are looking to get involved beyond just writing a sponsorship check
Integrate Your Promotional Strategy
When marketing your DIY program, you’ll want to use an integrated multi-channel promotion strategy:
- Website: In addition to a recruitment email plan, add a lightbox or banner image to your website. Add a CTA in the menu dropdown or on the Ways to Give or Get Involved Page
- Social Media: Change your cover photos to highlight the program and be sure to work it into your organic posts. For paid ads, we recommend targeting your email list, page fans, followers, and lookalike audiences
- eNewsletter: Include a continuing rotating feature in your eNewsletter to highlight a fundraiser and promote your program
Empower your Fundraisers
You have people signed up and recruited, now what? You want your participants to feel empowered and encouraged, so set them up for success and provide support throughout their campaign by utilizing:
Participant Toolkit and Assets
Create a toolkit with your mission, logo, branded images, social graphics, and impact statements to help your supporters craft their personal stories. We like to think of this as a hub vs a big pdf download where the fundraiser has to search the document. Instead, create a webpage where participants can easily download assets.
Keep your fundraising motivated through these tactics:
- Leaderboards: Provide a real-time leaderboard on each DIY campaign site and individual fundraising pages to keep everyone motivated
- Social Timelines: Build in social timelines that pull in a hashtag if you’ve branded your campaign so people can see what others are saying about the campaign
- Social Media Integrations: Make it easy for your supporters to share their fundraising site. If you’re on Blackbaud’s TeamRaiser in the US we highly recommend turning on the Facebook Fundraising integration
- Recognition Features: Add milestone tracking and badges to give your fundraisers continual encouragement towards fundraising goals. This is also a really great time to not only congratulate them on their progress but also a chance to coach them to get to the next level
Create a Sense of Community
Create a group with tips, inspiration, and exclusive updates. We’ve seen nonprofits use volunteers to help moderate the group and only Team Captains or individual fundraisers are allowed to join the group to help keep it intimate and manageable. Consider hosting a virtual kick-off call or happy hour for participants
Thank You Plan
Your strategy should include a proper thank you plan:
- Use a tool like Gratavid or ThankView or record something on your phone and upload it to YouTube. Consider going live once a quarter and inviting those top fundraisers to virtually tour your facilities or meet a person who was directly impacted by their efforts
- Give a shout-out in your monthly newsletter to a top fundraiser and share on your social media channels
- Include some swag from the campaign with your logo if they reached a certain level
- Consider a post-follow-up survey to learn about their experience so you can make it even better
DIY fundraising is a powerful way to raise support, engage donors in new ways, and reach much larger audiences. Thinking of starting a DIY program or looking for fresh ideas to improve upon your current strategy? Let’s chat!