When the time comes for your student organization to plan and carry out your next fundraiser, do your members’ faces light up? Are they eager to participate and vie for leadership positions? If so, it’s likely that your organization has found a unique fundraising strategy that engages your members and supporters.
However, it may be the case that your members aren’t as excited about fundraising as you’d like them to be. To transform everyone’s experience and bring your organization closer together in the process, consider a few new ways to raise money online and in person.
These strategies combine convenience and creativity for a fun and effective fundraising experience! In this guide, we’ll show you how your student organization can:
- Involve your school or campus community in a shoe drive fundraiser.
- Host an event to benefit your student organization.
- Start a crowdfunding campaign for your organization.
- Engage your members in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
- Add a donation page to your organization’s website.
- Offer text-to-give service to your organization’s supporters.
With fundraisers that your members will enjoy planning and that your school or campus community will be happy to participate in, your organization is sure to reach your fundraising goal. Let’s begin with a unique and memorable fundraiser in which anyone can take part: a shoe drive fundraiser.
1. Involve your school or campus community in a shoe drive fundraiser.
A shoe drive fundraiser is a wonderful choice for your student organization because it’s easy to plan, gets your whole community involved, and can be easily combined with an event. When you host a shoe drive fundraiser, you collect gently worn, used and new shoes from your event attendees or supporters and receive funding for your organization in return.
This eco-friendly, sporty fundraising idea also comes at a low cost for your organization and can take place anywhere. You’re sure to find the perfect location right on your campus. Ready to get started? Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Your student organization contacts a facilitator for your shoe drive fundraiser. This facilitating organization will send you the information and paperwork necessary to carry out your fundraiser and receive the profits.
Step 2: Spread the word that your group is collecting new and gently worn footwear. You can set up designated collection locations on your campus or instruct event attendees to bring the shoes as their “entrance fee.” Many people have an extra pair or two that they don’t wear lying around, and it gives them a reason to clean out their closets!
Step 3: Your facilitating organization will pick up the shoes you collect. After they have picked up the shoes, they’ll send your organization a check, basing the amount your organization receives on the number of shoes you collected. In other words, the more shoes you collect, the higher the amount of the check you will receive.
Once your shoe drive fundraiser is complete, you’ll receive your check. Need help setting your goals and pulling the whole thing together? Your facilitating organization can arrange for you to work with a fundraising coach to maximize your success. You can learn more about shoe drive fundraisers using Funds2Orgs’ guide to school fundraising ideas.
A shoe drive fundraiser is also easy for your organization to host as an independent activity. Just designate drop-off locations around your campus and spread the word among your fellow students in person and over social media.
2. Host an event to benefit your student organization.
Everyone loves a fun day spent with their friends, and it’s even better when they know they’re supporting a good cause in the process! Your school or campus community is the perfect environment to raise funds by hosting an event, with the proceeds going toward your organization.
The best events are those that are the most carefully planned. One early consideration in your planning process should be how you’re going to register attendees and collect their donations. Even if their contributions are non-monetary, as in a shoe drive fundraiser, it’s likely that you’ll want to have them register in advance so that you know how many people to expect.
One effective way to track attendance and collect donations from your guests, if you are doing so, is to distribute or sell tickets to your event. From a general admission ticket to meal tickets for in-event fun, purchasing this kind of item can also motivate some guests to commit to attending your event. Whether you’re selling tickets or tracking attendance and donations using another method, consider investing in event management software to make the whole process run more smoothly.
Once your organization has decided how you will register guests and collect their donations, you’re ready to start planning a fun and memorable event that your school will be excited to attend. Ask student musicians to perform or hire a great local band. Try hosting a benefit concert. This event can showcase student or local talent and raise money for your organization at the same time. It can also be held during any time of year.
If the weather is nice or your organization has access to indoor facilities, consider a fitness fundraiser like a fun run, an exercise challenge, or an engaging move-a-thon fundraiser. These events are popular and typically inexpensive to host. You can also combine the activity you choose with another fundraising method, such as a pledge drive or crowdfunding campaign.
Especially if your organization is concluding a fundraiser with an event, a crowdfunding campaign is an effective way to use the power of social media to raise donations and build awareness and excitement surrounding your cause and organization.
3. Start a crowdfunding campaign for your organization.
If you use any social media sites, it’s almost certain that you’ve seen crowdfunding in action. An individual or group creates a donation page in support of their chosen cause and shares it across the social media platforms they use, gathering donations from their networks of family, friends, and followers. Crowdfunding is a great way to use social media to fundraise for your student organization and build awareness for your work in the process.
Crowdfunding has the added bonus of being one of the easiest fundraising methods to start. All your organization will have to do is:
- Select a crowdfunding platform on which to host your campaign. Your organization will want to consider the fees the platform charges or the portion of your proceeds paid to them in addition to the features their pages offer.
- Use your donation page to tell your story. Encourage your online supporters to give by using your crowdfunding page to share the story of your organization’s most recent project, including information on where their donations are headed. If your crowdfunding platform facilitates the inclusion of photo and video elements, these can be compelling additions to your page.
- Share the page on social media. Social media-savvy members of your student organization can put their skills into action, sharing your page on all the platforms on which they have accounts. Marketing your crowdfunding campaign on social media is essential to the success of your campaign, so don’t forget to post progress updates and reminders to contribute.
Easy and relatively inexpensive to set up, crowdfunding campaigns have become a popular fundraising idea for schools, student organizations, and a variety of groups and individuals. For an alternative fundraising method that takes a similar social media-based approach but may be more motivating to your group’s members, consider a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
4. Engage your members in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
While peer-to-peer campaigns look a lot like crowdfunding on the surface, especially to donors who find and contribute to both types of campaign page via social media, the two fundraising methods are structured differently.
In a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, each of your members creates their own customized donation page to share with their social media friends and followers, but the contributions from each participating member’s page ultimately go back to your student organization.
While the result is the same, the peer-to-peer fundraising campaign structure allows each of your participating members more creativity in designing their individual pages. They can share their personal reasons for joining your organization and the significance that your upcoming project has for them.
This focus on their individual relationships to your organization and cause can encourage many donors to give. This is what makes them such an engaging and successful fundraiser for nonprofits and a fantastic addition to your own team’s fundraising strategy.
To start with a peer-to-peer campaign, your group will need to select fundraising software that generates customizable peer-to-peer fundraising campaign pages. You’ll also need to recruit volunteers from your organization who are willing and excited to personalize their pages and share them with their social media networks.
Peer-to-peer fundraisers are a great fundraising idea for school clubs and organizations in part because being an active volunteer fundraiser provides good leadership training! With gamification elements available through your peer-to-peer fundraising platform, such as badges, leaderboards, and trophies for the most active volunteer fundraisers, your organization can incentivize participation and even a little friendly competition among your members.
Like crowdfunding campaigns, peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns often conclude in an anchor event. If the accessibility and convenience of online donations appeal to your organization, but you would prefer a less time-sensitive and more ongoing fundraising method, add a donation page to your organization’s existing website.
5. Add a donation page to your organization’s website.
Your website or primary social media account serves as a hub for information on your student organization’s regular operations and special projects. Since both your members and your followers are already there, it’s a great fundraising location. Adding a donation page to your organization’s website makes it easy for supporters to give whenever they are inspired to do so, helping to ensure that your upcoming projects are funded.
To add a donation form to your organization’s website, you’ll first need to select an online donation form provider that allows you to customize your form. After you’ve chosen the right provider to suit your organization’s needs and are setting up your form on your website, make sure that you’re:
- Making it easy for site visitors to find and use your form. Visitors to your site are more likely to donate when they can complete the process quickly. Your homepage should have a clearly marked link to your donation page, and the page itself should be easy to understand and use.
- Customizing your form. While it’s best to keep your form as simple as possible to encourage donations, remember that it always helps to remind your donors why they are giving. Customize the form with your organization’s familiar color scheme and logo, if you have them. You may even want to include a picture of your organization at work to inspire supporters to give. For more information on donation form best practices and templates to inspire your organization’s form, check out the iATS Payments guide to donation forms.
- Sharing your donation form on social media. For many student organizations, it’s likely that you’ll interact with at least as many—if not more—supporters on social media as on your website. Let your followers know when your online donation page is ready for use, providing them with links to the page and posts reminding them that they can always make contributions.
Offering an online donation form to your supporters encourages them to give because it’s easy to access and use. Want to make giving even more convenient? Consider providing your followers with the option to give to your organization just by sending a text.
6. Offer text-to-give service to your organization’s supporters.
Even in the age of online donations, in which supporters can complete most gifts in minutes or seconds, text-to-give stands out as one of the fastest and easiest donation methods around. When your organization chooses fundraising software that offers text-to-give service, all your supporters have to do is send a text to a designated number to initiate their donation.
Curious about the process? After your organization has chosen fundraising software that offers text-to-give, here’s how it works:
Step 1: Your text-to-give provider assigns your organization a designated number. You’ll also receive a keyword or shortcode for your supporters to text to the number, starting the donation process.
Step 2: Your supporters text the keyword to the designated number. In return, they’ll receive a link to an online donation form they can complete on their smartphone, or they’ll receive an automated email that they can use to finalize their gift to your organization.
Step 3: Your supporters complete their donations on their phones. That’s it! Easy to set up and use anywhere and at any time, text-to-give is excellent for encouraging additional contributions at your fundraising event. Just have your members share your organization’s number and keyword with your attendees. Additionally, you can share this information on your social media accounts and website to motivate additional giving.
When your organization chooses fundraising methods that are both easy and fun for your supporters to use, you’re sure to motivate them to give and reach your organization’s goals.
Student organizations can draw on their campus, school, and social media networks for support using a variety of fundraising methods that are both convenient and fun. When you engage both your members and your supporters in the effort, your group is sure to plan and carry out a successful fundraiser.
Guest Author – Wayne Elsey is the founder and CEO of Elsey Enterprises (EE) and a member of the Forbes Business Development Council. Among his various independent brands, he is also the founder and CEO of Funds2Orgs, which is a social enterprise that helps schools, churches, nonprofits, individuals and other organizations raise funds while helping to support micro-enterprise (small business) opportunities in developing nations.