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Top Online Fundraising Ideas for Non-Profits

When you are a non-profit organization, One of the most customary ways for you to raise money is through fundraising. With the internet taking the world by storm, it is no wonder that virtual fundraising is also growing.

Have you ever done online fundraising? Are you searching for some new, creative approaches?

Whatever may be the case, it’s time for you to brush up on your peer-to-peer fundraising chops and try out fresh ideas that you can use to draw donors to your charity online fundraising.

Before we dive into the full list of the best online fundraising ideas, let us first take a look at the reasons why you should raise funds online…

Benefits of Online Fundraising

Did you know? 45% of worldwide donors are enrolled in a monthly giving program. It would be best if you, too considered online fundraising. Let’s see some reasons why!

1. Online fundraising saves you time and money

To save you time and money, online fundraising builds automation into the process. When you get a check in the mail, think of all the steps you have to take: wait for the check to be sent, wait for the check to be delivered, manually type the check into your database, send out a letter of thanks, and tax receipt. The entire cycle depends on you doing all the work.

A man with lots of money

To save you time and money, online fundraising builds automation into the process. Think of when you get a check in the mail and the endless manual work that you have to do, from registering the check into your database to sending out a letter of thanks. The process is so cumbersome, right?

With online donations, the donation is instantly entered into your database, and without raising a finger, an automated thank you and tax receipt is sent out. That’s the beauty of collecting funds online!

No more manual entry into spreadsheets, because the entire operation is automated! This automation eliminates operating costs and makes it possible for the company to concentrate on carrying out the mission of the nonprofit.

2. You get better data and reporting

Have you ever made a mistake while manually entering data into your system? Don’t worry, we all have been there. Online fundraising gives you better documentation and monitoring without the margin of human error.

You can access the data anytime, anywhere! It also gives you a clear image of your fundraising activities, and also allows you to track your incoming funds in real-time and run reports. Additionally, it enables you to direct your funds to your services more efficiently.

3. Online fundraising expands your reach

Imagine how cool it would be if your donors could be spread across the globe? Virtual fundraising makes that possible for you. You are no longer restricted to meeting your donors face-to-face, but you can also have donors raise funds on your behalf through crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising!

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A fundraiser networking with different people

This allows you to expand your donor base without putting in a lot of effort into networking and reaching out to people!

We’ve got some ideas if you’re scratching your head wondering what virtual fundraiser or online event to try. Look at our list of 18 virtual fundraising ideas to see what stands out for you. There are sure going to be one or two ideas in the list that resonate with you and that the people who love your cause will gain support. Let’s dive right in!

List of Top Online Fundraising Ideas

#1. Virtual Walk or Run

There are plenty of innovative ways for a virtual walk to take place. You could ask participants to pay a fee for admission and then serve as fundraisers, asking their peers and social groups to pledge or contribute to their efforts. They record their distances and receive their entry fees and commitments from you. And the terrific news? There’s no need to find a location, hire volunteers, pass out t-shirts, or worry about insurance.

People can walk for your cause or donate around the world! Themed walks or runs will attract many more participants into them. A Star Wars-themed walk, for instance, will make you “walk anywhere in the galaxy.”

#2. Watch Party

Find a documentary or film important to your cause and hold a watch party to get people together to watch it together practically. Using their Watch Party feature, Facebook makes this very simple to do. Pick a movie, schedule a time, and ask for donations.

A party for raising funds

Alternatively, sell “tickets” to the case and even have movie treats and candy delivered in advance to watchers. To help you host a Facebook Watch Party, a lot of information is available. You may want to check copyright issues and get permission to display a specific film, primarily if you sell “tickets.”

#3. Online Gift Card Auction

Online auctions are super simple and have been super popular. They can be organized easily and you can hand out gift cards to the winning bidders all over the world! Ask your local businesses, donors, and volunteers to donate gift cards.

Try to get gift cards to cater to a wide range of customers for a variety of services and items, such as automobile services, hotels, national chains, and restaurants. Capterra has a list of 10 successful resources for online auctions.

#4. Open House / Virtual Tour

In this method, you will host your facility’s open house, show all of the places that you need assistance, and explain why you need to collect funds! Show how you operate from home, how your volunteers devote their money, and how you’re thinking beyond the box to get through this time in case you don’t have a facility.

Think of this as a virtual ask or pledge experience where individuals get to learn and make a promise first-hand about the work of your nonprofit.

#5. Online Contests / Competitions

There are engaging, simple, and interactive online contests and competitions you can conduct. Participants pay to join, and voters pay to vote afterward! You can create a competition that is somehow linked to your cause.

Contest for fundraising

Some ideas are:

  • Talent contest.
  • Photography.
  • Costume Contest.
  • Art/drawing contest.
  • Essay contest.

#6. Fundraisers T-shirt

T-shirt fundraisers can be more than just a basic booster campaign. You should ask your supporters to send entries for your next shirt for the logo! Graphic designers and creative, imaginative styles can submit their submissions for a small fee, and votes can decide the winning design.

You can then sell those shirts with the winning logo! If children make the designs, this can be extremely powerful because parents and grandparents can vote a lot!

#7. Social Media Takeover

Ask a business supporter or local community member if they would be willing to “donate their social media” to take over for you! Throughout the day, you can post content that links back to the website or social media accounts of your organization.

You will teach new individuals, make the most of your relationship, and develop your group credibility. This will help you introduce yourself to a new audience, support your relationship with the company you are taking over, and link your resources to individuals who may not yet know about you!

#8. Virtual Class

Give a class if you or someone in your company has a good skill set! To host a lesson, you may also employ a professional to volunteer.

A virtual class illustration

Build a private event, pay admission, and teach your skills! Ideas for classes:

  • Cooking
  • Yoga
  • Photography
  • Dance
  • Painting/Drawing

#9. Virtual Animal Adoption Event

If you’re an animal welfare agency, your adoptions need not be stopped by a quarantine. Across the world, online adoption events are taking off. Live videos and puppy or kitty cams will give your animals that need homes a lot of attention. Inform people all about your available pets when live-streaming and even ask for donations!

#10. Wishlist Drive

Instead of money, many donors feel better about donating things, so build up your Amazon Wishlist of any supplies you need and share it in your social media and newsletter!

Ask people to help your organization, add them to your wishlist, and let them know that whatever they buy will be delivered to your door right away! Copper’s Cat Commune recently dropped a quick alert on their Facebook page and soon afterward received a range of packages of products from its WishList. Isn’t that awesome?

#11. Virtual Speaking Engagement

Next up, try to hire a local celebrity, athlete, motivational speaker, or professional, and ask them to engage you in virtual speaking. The subject matter may apply to your particular cause, or it may be a fun thing, such as a comedian, a local author, or a TV personality. Charge and broadcast access for this engagement only to those who bought tickets!

#12. Virtual Concert

This can be a simple way to get a lot of individuals involved, somewhat close to virtual speaking participation. There are still local musicians looking for attention! Find a band or an ensemble ready to play and charge for tickets. After their show, you can also invite the talent to do a special Q&A session or take requests to add to the live experience.

#13. Build a Distinctive Landing Page

Just like what we’ve seen with other organizations, it’s crucial to have a unique website landing page specifically for the event. This gives you a custom URL to push traffic to a remarkable landing page and, for easy bookmarking, provides a reference point that is relevant to the case.

#14. Virtual Open Mic Night

How about turning on the camera and microphone when it’s your audience that has the expertise and artistic talents to share?

Open mic night for raising funds

You might host an open mic night, where all participants would enter a community video meeting and then raise their hand digitally to host the microphone. Give a subject to the evening, get participants together, and away you go!

#15. Virtual Wine Pull

Have you heard of Wine Pulls? These events operate by gathering and organizing several wines varying in values such that their names can not be seen. Then, donors buy tickets to get a random bottle of wine and see what they’ve won.

It might seem like a difficult idea but it’s really not! You will still collect a range of wines, but you will let supporters buy a numbered mystery bottle through your online store or virtual event center instead of displaying them in person. When you have purchased all the bottles, please send a letter to each donor to tell them what they have earned.

This is an entertaining addition to all sorts of virtual fundraising activities such as galas and auctions, but as a standalone, raffle-style event, it can also be easily adapted. Sounds like a-lco-hol lot of fun, right?

#16. Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Try a scavenger hunt online for a fun, virtual-friendly activity to engage donors. This concept is incredibly fun for schools, but it can be easily modified to suit its audience by any organization that wants to help supporters learn more about its mission.

Take some time to create a scavenger hunt that guides donors around the web to find clues relating to your mission (especially your website). For example, on your About Us page, they can find a clue concealed in an image. With your scavenger hunt, get imaginative, and be sure to give the first person who can find all of your secret messages a win!

#17. Virtual Giving Day

Giving days is a popular fundraising campaign for charities because they allow you to hyper-focus your efforts. Giving days can, however, be planned and held at any time of year. They need detailed planning and a lot of marketing.

Day of charity for raising funds

Take a versatile approach to building the most engaging day-giving campaign yet with the transition to the virtual sphere. Using email and social media, heavily promote your giving day a month or more in advance. Partner with other organizations and local companies to spawn a mini-movement that raises awareness of your cause and grows your audience.

Build a comprehensive schedule of engaging, interactive events such as live-streamed appeals, online raffles, social media tournaments, and more for the big day. Just make sure that to accommodate the increased traffic, you have an excellent donation application in place!

#18. Contest on Social Media

You can host a social media contest can be held either as a standalone activity or as part of a more extensive campaign or event and is a fast and straightforward way to engage donors.

Encourage supporters to share your mission-related pictures or posts and to tag them with a unique hashtag you have decided in advance. Supporters’ selfies wearing your goods, images of adorable pets, and inspiring stories about your mission are all perfect ideas for a contest on social media.

Look at all the entries when the contest ends and pick a handful of winners. Then, reveal the winners and reward them with awards such as your own created merch or tickets for virtual events.

Ask supporters to include a link to your website or donation page in their submissions to get the most out of this online fundraiser idea and to invite their friends and family to share their messages, as well.


Don’t feel like you’re “settling” for a virtual fundraising event, because doing it has some pretty cool advantages! You have the potential to reach a much bigger audience and bring people around the world to your cause. And you may be opening up a chance for people to support you that they may not have had before!

Pick a fun-looking virtual fundraiser and give it a go. Let us know whichever is your favorite in the comments/tweeting to us!

Further reads:

The Top 45 Best Small Business Ideas for Beginners!

Top Must-Have tools for Non-Profits: Free and Paid

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