[Guest Post] 5 Online Fundraising Campaigns Religious Charities Can Try

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[Guest Post] 5 Online Fundraising Campaigns Religious Charities Can Try

As you know, the coronavirus outbreak has completely altered the way that nonprofits and organizations of all shapes and sizes raise money for their missions. In fact, it’s likely that the fundraising revenue at your own religious organization has taken a bit of a hit amid the disruption.

These unexpected events have also led to a shift to online giving in order to retain support throughout this difficult time. Despite everything, the move to online giving can actually have a positive impact on your organization.

In fact, studies show that donors to religious charities tend to give more than the average individual—both in terms of overall dollars and in percentage of income. That being said, your dedicated supporters are going to be looking for ways to continue to get involved without relying on face-to-face interaction. After all, their connection to your cause hasn’t gone away—you might just have to adjust your asks to get donations streaming in again.

If you’re new to online fundraising and internet-based campaign ideas, it might seem a bit overwhelming to jump in. That’s why we’ve put together a quick list of our top online fundraising campaigns to raise money for a church or another religious organization:

  1. Face mask fundraiser
  2. Crowdfunding
  3. Text-to-tithe
  4. Online auction
  5. eCard campaign

Are you ready to learn more about raising money for your mission and engaging with supporters online? Let’s get started!

1. Face mask fundraiser

Our all-time favorite idea for fundraising in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is definitely a custom face mask fundraiser. That’s because it’s a great way to promote social distancing, raise much-needed funds for your organization, and boost awareness for your mission. 

Take a look at this example here:

By partnering with a top product fundraiser company, all you have to do is email their team a copy of your organization’s logo and start selling! Plus, many product fundraising partners have shifted their efforts to include online sales to provide a hands-free experience for buyers and sellers alike.

For example, ABC Fundraising is an experienced product fundraising partner that will even set you up with a branded custom-build web store where you can  sell your face masks (and any other products that you choose!).

Face masks are in high demand right now, so it makes sense to invest in a product fundraiser that will definitely pay off.

2. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a unique online fundraiser that utilizes the power of social media to bring in donations from a constantly increasing network of support. 

Instead of soliciting large contributions from a smaller range of donors, crowdfunding campaigns seek small to mid-range donations from thousands of individuals. And before you know it, those gifts add up to make a big difference!

These campaigns work best when raising funds for a specific program or goal within your overall cause. For example, let’s say you need to raise $X thousands of dollars for a new community outreach program or you need to purchase or renovate a building for your organization. Because of their concrete goals and specific cause, these can be excellent crowdfunding campaigns

On the other hand, if your fundraiser is simply to fill your annual fund or another more generalized cause, one of our other favorite ideas might be a better fit.

3. Text-to-tithe

Contrary to its title, text-to-tithe giving is not limited to the standard Sunday gift of 10% of each individual’s income. In fact, text-to-tithe and other mobile fundraising efforts can be used to collect donations in a variety of ways—including alongside a number of other fundraisers.

Here’s a quick step-by-step breakdown of the process:

  1. Register your organization with a text-to-give provider. There are many providers to choose from, including those offering general text-to-give for nonprofits (such as GiveCentral!) and religious-catered providers for text-to-tithe. Be sure to find one that best suits your organization’s needs.
  2. Receive a dedicated mobile giving number. Depending on your provider of choice, some numbers may be shortcodes (i.e. 5-digits) while others use 10-digit, full-length phone numbers. Each has its own unique pros and cons, so you might want to do some research before choosing.
  3. Set a memorable keyword(s). Your keyword is what donors will text to your mobile giving number in order to make a gift. That means it should be memorable, easy to type, and unique to your campaign.
  4. Promote this giving method to your supporters. Encourage your supporters to text [your fundraising keyword] to [your mobile giving number]. Once you get the word out about this new method of fundraising, you’ll start collecting donations in no time.

A text-to-tithe fundraiser can be powerful by itself or in cahoots with other fundraisers and events. The most important part about this campaign is spreading awareness far and wide!

4. Online auction

According to Snowball’s guide to virtual auctions, online charity auctions are one of the most profitable fundraising events that any organization can host. That’s because they provide a unique and engaging online event experience that allows donors to have a great time while supporting an important cause.

If you’re not sure what to put up for auction, here are a few tried-and-true examples:

  • Artwork: Whether this is artwork completed by a well-known artist or a local student in your youth group, high-quality and meaningful artwork is very popular for auctions. Then, the winner gets a nice new item to display.
  • Experiences: Travel packages, hot air balloon flights, or rides in a private airplane all make for excellent auction items. Plus, many companies are willing to donate their time and resources to charitable organizations, meaning you may be able to acquire these items for significantly less than their retail value.
  • Baskets: Baskets are popular auction items because they can contain a multitude of items that gathered together will often sell for greater than the value of the individual elements. Fun basket themes include pampering baskets, camping trip baskets, cooking baskets, etc.

One of the reasons why auctions are so well-regarded is because supporters receive a powerful incentive in response to their financial contributions. This follows a similar line of reasoning to why product fundraisers are so popular as well!

5. eCard campaign

An eCard campaign is a fun way for donors to support your cause and brighten a friend’s day all at the same time. You can think of this fundraiser as a sort of virtual candygram. Here’s how it works:

  1. A supporter selects from a set of premade eCard images.
  2. The supporter types their own personal message to a friend or family member.
  3. The supporter enters the intended recipient’s email address.
  4. The supporter submits their payment information.
  5. The eCard is sent via email to the recipient.

The price for each card will vary, but we recommend keeping it low so that you can encourage individuals to send to multiple recipients. For example, this guide suggests setting a $6-10 minimum per recipient, along with the choice to include an additional donation of their choice.

For even greater results, you can pair an eCard campaign with another fundraiser to get more supporters engaged and giving! For example, after a donor has confirmed their face mask purchase (as mentioned above), you can direct them to your eCard page. That way, they have the choice to further their involvement by sending an eCard to a family member or friend. 

While this is certainly an expected time for everyone—fundraisers and donors alike—it has the possibility to bring about positive engagements with your supporters. When you plan and host strategic online fundraisers, you can set the framework for powerful donor relationships going forward. Good luck!

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