The Ultimate Ideas for Online Fundraising

Read our experts’ tips for 8 easy and reliable ways to raise money online for your cause.

Did you know that as a nation we spend an astonishing 8 hours a day consuming online content? So it’s no wonder fundraising has shifted to the online arena. Whether you’re a Facebook novice or a Twitter pro, it makes sense to know how to share, engage, and persuade your online audience to donate and fundraise for your cause.

We’ve got everything you need to know for success online. And you know what they say: practice makes perfect. So if you’ve already had a go at some online fundraising, we’ll give you hints and tips for new ways of doing it so you can raise even more money for your cause next time.

First, the good news: online fundraising is brilliant if you don’t have the resources to stage a big event or activity. But to make it really successful, you’re going to need great communication skills. First you need to know where your audience spend their time online. If they’re on YouTube make a video; if it’s Facebook set up a page. Cover every angle, from Email to Instagram, and you stand more chance of your message being seen by the masses.

8 Great Online Fundraising Ideas


1. Viral Videos

Don’t be put off by the label. Even if YouTube is a mystery to you, you will have heard of, been involved in or donated because of a viral video campaign. Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Your video doesn’t have to be polished, it just needs to be a great idea that people will love to watch and take part in. And you don’t need fancy equipment either. Simply grab a smartphone and go for it.

The trick is to make your video so exciting people want to share it. To find out how, watch Jonah Berger’s scientifically proven facts about videos that go viral. Think about who you know, and what would make them share your video with their friends. If you can nail that ripple effect, you’re really going to start making an impact.

Don’t forget: include an easy way to donate, and make it stand out, so that all that online sharing pays off.

Viral video fundraisers we love:  

  • The Ice Bucket Challenge
  • The No Make Up Selfie
  • Movember

2. Text to Give

Sending a text from a mobile is one of the easiest ways to get fast donations. Simply announce your charity’s text number on your video, social media accounts, or even a radio show, and people can text from their mobile phones to donate a specified amount. Your cause will need to be signed up with a service provider (find an example here).

3. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

You’ll almost certainly have been involved in this at some point. Put simply, it involves setting up an online donation mechanic for a cause close to your heart, then asking friends to donate, and spread the word. The trick here is to make sure your cause story provokes a reaction, so that even people who don’t know you feel compelled to donate and share. Use Facebook, Twitter, email – anything people can forward or reshare. You can even add a link to your viral video!

4. Online Charity Auctions

Like a standard charity auction, but online. You’ll need to secure some great items to auction, then create your event online, and start spreading the word. Charity Fundraising Auctions and Galabid are two organisations that can help you set up and manage a simple mechanism for online bidding.

5. Donation Match Drive

This requires a bit more work, but if you fancy a challenge and have time to spend on it, it can bring in BIG results. You’ll need a willing donor who has the funds and motivation to match whatever you raise through your own contacts. A large corporate organisation, or sports club, or a wealthy celebrity is your best bet – the more well known, the better. Then create your online campaign, and get your contacts buzzing with the news of the potential to double your donations! Have a look at The Big Give for inspiration.

6. Online Make and Sell

There’s a national craze for all things homemade right now. Craft is huge, so if you have a flair for felt, skill with soap, or jewellery genius, why not set aside some of your creations for a charity sale? As well as traditional sales, lots of people sell their homemade items on Etsy, or via a Facebook shop. They’re simple to set up, and could be a regular source of income. Have a look at our Make and Sell for Charity ideas here.

7. Online Giving Days

Think of these as Flash Fundraisers – focused days when everyone in your networks concentrates on raising money for your cause. It could be a monthly event, or a single day every year that you mark with a concentrated fundraising effort. You’ll need to do lots of online promotion ahead of the big day, and then really go to town with updates and thank-you’s as the donations start coming in. Set up a Facebook event specifically for you day to get people excited and sharing your news.

8. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a simple way to raise online donations, usually for a cause, but sometimes for a product in development. Just create your story on a crowdfunding platform (there are lots – choose one that has similar causes to yours), and start spreading the word. Keep your donors up to date with regular email or social media posts about your progress, and your fundraising goals and achievements.

Don’t Forget!

Of course, there’s nothing like a face-to-face conversation for getting your point over. But remember, most of your audience will be online in some capacity, even if you’re not, so make sure to include some of these tips for online fundraising in your other campaigns, so that people always have ways that suit them to donate and spread the word.

What Next?

Share these tips with everyone connected with your cause, and look into ways of incorporating some online fundraising into your next campaign. Let us know if you’ve held a great online fundraiser, so we can share it with our community.

More helpful tips

Crafty Make and Sell Ideas for Charities

Make Fun a Bigger Part of your Fundraising

Fundraising Events Guaranteed to be Winners for your cause

Fundraising Expert

Fundraising Expert is a driving force for effective fundraising and increasing donations. Helping you raise more!
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