The State of Nonprofit Fundraising Today — 9 Top Fundraising Methods

Nonprofit fundraising had been due an upgrade to catapult it into the modern era for a while. When the pandemic hit, that event finally came. Most charities had used the same tried-and-tested methods for decades (namely, galas and sponsored endeavors), but with new health and safety guidelines to contend with, this was no longer possible. Innovation was a “need right now” rather than a “maybe later,” and nonprofits were forced to join the twenty-first century — breeding all kinds of virtual solutions.

That brings us to the state of nonprofit fundraising today. Nonprofits now have a range of remote and hybrid events to choose between, and they can make the most of them thanks to platforms like PayBee that facilitate streaming and other digital tools. For a clearer picture of the sector, let’s look at some of the best nonprofit fundraising methods out there — encompassing a range of old and new methods.

9 Modern Nonprofit Fundraising Methods

Anything a charity does to engage its supporters and facilitate donations can be classed as a fundraising event, so they can take various forms, especially given the modern tools available for nonprofits today. Here are a few of our favorite methods.

1) In-person fundraisers

Let’s start off with the oldest, most classic way to fundraise: An in-person fundraiser. This consists of guests attending an event at a physical location, but it can take many different forms — from a gala to a themed event, such as a concert or a carnival with many stalls and activities. 

Although in-person fundraisers are the most traditional fundraising method, the fact they were out of the question during the two years of the pandemic has resulted in a surge in popularity. More than ever, people want to get out there and have real social experiences with other people. However, there are still ways to make these events more modern and efficient using technology.

2) Virtual fundraisers

As the name suggests, virtual fundraisers aim to do everything their in-person equivalents do, but remotely. At the height of the pandemic, this was the only viable option for most nonprofits, with many organizations opting to livestream their events. This way, people from all around the world could suddenly “attend” through their laptops.

Technology can now imitate many aspects of in-person events, from chat functions that mimic group conversations to interactive games and events through a screen.

3) Hybrid fundraisers

Why should you make a binary decision between virtual or in-person fundraisers? These days, we no longer have to make everyone online by default, and — fingers crossed — things will remain that way for a while. Some people want the convenience they’re used to that come with virtual events, while others prefer the social aspects of in-person events. 

Nonprofits can now capitalize on both markets by livestreaming in-person events to attract a wider range of people from all across the globe, yet still selling tickets to a local audience that can attend the physical event. 

4) Live auctions

Now we’ve covered the underlying types of events you can choose between, let’s focus on the kinds of activities you can expect from these events.

Live auctions are an old staple of fundraising events, but technology has made them even better — and even more profitable. Now, people can bid through their digital devices at auctions if they prefer, while others tune in from a completely different location to participate.

5) Silent auctions

Auctions are great, but there’s one major problem with them: They take place over a limited timeframe, so if a guess somehow misses them, you’ve missed out on donations.

This is where silent auctions come in. With a silent auction, bidding takes place before the event happens, giving people more time to get involved. It’s also a great marketing campaign for the main event.

6) Recurring donation fundraising 

Many nonprofits worry about “spamming” their supporters with constant requests for donations. To get around this problem, give them a way to set up a recurring donation, meaning they commit to donating a small amount each month (or at some other frequency).

This is preferable for many people since they can donate in smaller quantities each time rather than parting with a significant sum of money upfront.

7) Peer-to-peer fundraising 

Imagine if you could tap into the networks of all of your donors. Wouldn’t that increase your network by tenfold (or maybe even more)? Well, thanks to peer-to-peer fundraisers, you can. Just give your supporters a way to create their very own fundraising portal or landing page and send it to their friends.

8) Selling branded merchandise 

A fun way to bring in a few extra donations is to start a range of cute merchandise sporting your nonprofit’s logo. Opt for small and useful items, such as clothing, mugs, and calendars. Or, feel free to get creative!

9) Gift fundraising

Not everyone wants to or can support you through financial donations, but some would be more than happy to donate in the form of gifts instead — especially businesses. Why not reach out to local organizations or wealthy individuals to see if they’re willing to help? You could even use their gifts in auctions.

Bring Your Nonprofit to the Modern Day

If any of the ideas above have caught your attention, you might be wondering how to put them into action. The biggest hurdle for many nonprofits is simply a lack of know-how when it comes to implementing modern fundraising methods — that’s where technology and digital tools come into play.

PayBee is an online platform designed specifically for nonprofits, and it can help with everything from running livestreams to setting up auctions to managing your email campaign. If you’d like to learn more about how it can help you reach the next level with your fundraising efforts, sign up for a free demo today.

About the Author

Kevin Santiago is the Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at Paybee – a nonprofit fundraising events platform specializing in virtual and hybrid event formats. When he’s not managing a fundraising event you can find him at the gym or working on side projects at home in Palo Alto, CA.

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