As founders of the free, online fundraising platform, BetterWorld, we have seen that, despite the pandemic, thousands of our nonprofit partners continue to succeed simply by evolving their fundraising plans and moving them online. But many nonprofits remain uncertain about how to move forward with end-of-year giving campaigns.
The holidays can be a difficult time to get people’s attention, even in a pre-pandemic world. The key to a successful campaign around the holidays is – as it always has been – finding creative ways to get in front of donors. If you look at donors holistically as individuals and acknowledge what’s going on in their lives, there are far more opportunities for engagement.
This year, set your organization up for success by engaging donors in the following ways:
1. See donors as consumers. Your donors are busy shopping for the holidays. Offer them a product that can dually serve as a gift and give back to a cause. Consider an online shop or an online auction – both can be set up in a few minutes. Enabling donors to support and take care of some of their holiday shopping at the same time is a win-win!
2. Enable donors to give donations as a gift. As we all stay home, giving physical gifts becomes more challenging. Meet this need by offering the gift of donations in someone else’s name, tying it to a physical product so that the giver and the receiver understand their collective impact. Enabling donors to visualize the impact of the gift – for example, showcasing how a certain amount of funds equals three school uniforms in your name or five meals for a family in need – makes the donation more tangible and exciting, even if it’s a $10 gift.
3. Engage future donors through holiday giveaways. Running a giveaway for a $100 gift card or an experience builds relationships and is a great way to engage potential future donors, especially in a global pandemic. Taking this long-term approach, or giving forward, can provide much needed joy and demonstrate how much you value your partners. Additionally, gathering email addresses now from entrants will lead to new donors in the future.
4. Look beyond financial contributions. Everyone has something to offer, whether it be a skill, a service, or an asset. Let donors offer these gifts, such as tennis lessons, snow shoveling or a commissioned piece of art. Through an online auction, these types of offerings can raise funds and allow your supporters, who may be unable to make a financial contribution, to meaningfully give back to a cause they care about.
It’s easy to think things will go back to normal, and in some ways they will – we will have in-person fundraising galas and events again at some point. But the convenience of digital and hybrid events is also here to stay. Becoming creative with your fundraising now and familiarizing yourself with digital solutions is a long-term and necessary investment to help your nonprofit survive and thrive through this pandemic and beyond.
Whit Hunter is the co-founder and CEO of BetterWorld, a free, easy-to-use fundraising platform that helps nonprofits and individuals raise funds online.
Since the age of 18, Whit has worked in startups from Shanghai to Palo Alto. After recognizing that up to twenty percent of funds raised for nonprofits do not make it to the end cause, Whit set out to disrupt the charitable giving industry for the better. With a background in best-in-class technology and a passion for nonprofit work, Whit has dedicated his life to imagining new ways for businesses to do good. He currently lives in Charlottesville, VA.
Colin Hunter, Co-founder & Head of Strategy and Growth, BetterWorld
Colin Hunter is the co-founder and head of strategy and growth at BetterWorld, a free, online fundraising platform for nonprofits, individuals and businesses.
From his early career at Bain and Company, Colin brings with him a vast background in strategy consulting. He is also the proud founder of the premium menswear brand Alton Lane, which allows him to bring a multidimensional, entrepreneurial mindset to the team at BetterWorld.
Recognizing that a large portion of donations made to charitable causes do not make it to the end cause, he used his expertise in scaling and growing brands to found BetterWorld. He has a deep-rooted commitment to nonprofit work, having served in every role of the nonprofit ecosystem, from board member to advisor, consultant, event host and donor.
Colin received a BA from the University of Virginia and also studied at Oxford. He currently lives with his wife and two daughters in Charlottesville, VA.