Your Easy Guide to Nonprofit Fundraising

You’re not like a traditional business, but you still need revenue to be able to exist. Welcome to the sometimes challenging world of nonprofit fundraising, where you can collect donations that’ll help you fund the great work you do. 

Whether this is your first time creating a fundraising plan or you want a refresher, here are some super ways you can raise that much-needed revenue for your nonprofit. 

What Is Nonprofit Fundraising? 

Fundraising is one of the major ways that nonprofits and charitable organizations raise revenue. Nonprofit fundraising is where you raise money from various sources to fund your activities. You might run fundraising campaigns targeted at individuals, or build connections with local businesses through company fundraising. If you can do both — even better. 

Nonprofit fundraising is a stellar way to bring in much-needed support for organizations. Because of this, it’s highly regulated. In most cases you’ll need to register with the state you plan to fundraise in, and comply with other state requirements for charitable fundraising. You don’t want to get stuck on the wrong side of the law. Before you jump in to planning your next campaign, it’s best to consult a professional for legal advice to make sure you have everything ready. 

Our Absolute Best Nonprofit Fundraising Ideas

nonprofit fundraising: woman drawing about fundraising

Sometimes it’s all about knowing what options are out there. Here are some tried-and-tested ways to raise funds for your nonprofit. There’s something for everyone here — from live events to turning supporters into ambassadors. And we’ve got plenty of ways to liven them up and help you stand out from what others are doing. 


You might be familiar with crowdfunding as a way for a startup to raise funds for an innovative new product. Most of us have chipped in to fund a strange new idea or two. The same fundraising system can be used for nonprofits, too. 

With crowdfunding, you raise the funds your nonprofit needs by asking lots of people to contribute a small amount of money. The idea is that this smaller ask is more affordable for a wider group of people, and they’re likely to be happy and able to donate. If it’s the cost of a coffee, it’s suddenly way more realistic than a regular monthly donation. At scale, crowdfunding can help you reach an ambitious fundraising target — without relying on a handful of large donations. 

Charity Auctions

nonprofit fundraising: people raising numbers for auction

Charity auctions are one of the most popular types of fundraiser. That’s not surprising. They’re a great way to raise much-needed revenue for your nonprofit, build relationships with your community and businesses, and offer your supporters something in return. Usually that’s entertainment, great food and drink, and the chance to walk away with something interesting. 

The most successful charity auctions are those that bring together the right people, the right auction pieces, and the right atmosphere. Think about what suits your organization and your audience best. This might be a dazzling gala with art pieces for auction, or it could be a fun, casual auction where the prizes involve family days. You could even run a virtual charity auction and increase your reach even further. 

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

If you have an active group of supporters, peer-to-peer fundraising can be a fun way to bring in extra revenue for your nonprofit. With this activity, your supporters actually do the fundraising for you — acting as a kind of ambassador. Doesn’t that sound great? 

They might host a bake sale or a community event, and use a personalized donation page to collect contributions. This kind of fundraising is also popular with events like sponsored walks or runs, where supporters ask friends and family to help them reach their fundraising goal. 

Support your donors to make the best possible impact by giving them plenty of resources and encouragement. Make it easy for them to set up custom fundraising pages, direct them to any printed resources they might need, and motivate them to reach their target with personalized video messages. A little love goes a long way. 

Pledge Fundraising

Another interesting way to raise funds for your nonprofit organization is with pledge fundraising. This is where you create pledges or goals that your supporters feel aligned with, and they commit to making this donation at a future time. 

Pledge fundraising works well when combined with an event or a milestone celebration, like an anniversary date. What’s great about this route of raising funds is that you’ll have a good idea of how close you are to your target in advance. This means you can ramp up or scale down other fundraising efforts in response. And if your target is further away than you thought, it’s time to pull out something spectacular. 

Live Events

nonprofit fundraising: man playing guitar

Using events as fundraisers is a popular way to create an experience that benefits everyone. Your attendees get to enjoy a moment of happiness or learn something new, while your nonprofit pulls in funds. 

Event fundraising doesn’t have to be limited to in-person events. Virtual events are an increasingly popular way to bring in donations, and they have the added bonus of being accessible to more potential donors. Live music performances, cooking demonstrations, and game nights are just a few examples of events that can be transformed into online fundraising events. They’re also a great way to test drive weird and wonderful ideas before you layer on extra production, venue, and people costs. 

Major Gifts

While it’s more likely that your fundraising efforts will bring in smaller donations from a larger group of people, major gifts can be a great way to help you reach your goals. Major gifts are larger than average donations from supporters, and are usually targeted to a specific project or cause that’s close to the donor’s heart.

Finding success with major donors is all down to relationship building. If someone really connects with your message and can donate comfortably, you could find your nonprofit receiving major gifts from them often. Nurture the relationship you have with your donors with thank you videos and personalized messages through direct mail that show how grateful you are for their support. Your major donors should be majorly important to you. 

How To Raise Funds From Corporate Sponsors

people holding donation boxes

Donations from individuals are an ideal way to keep your nonprofit running successfully. Don’t forget about corporate donors though — there’s a lot of opportunity here to benefit from large one-off donations and regular support. Here’s how to raise funds from businesses. 

Grant Funding

Grant funding can be an ideal way to boost donations from corporate sponsors and local businesses. You might also find grants available from the government or through your state. It’s where you apply to a fund designed for a specific purpose. You’re then awarded funds to help you reach a goal or milestone, usually with payment given at specific points. 

This can be a useful fundraising activity if you have a project in mind. For example, maybe you want to do some repair work on your community center or start an outreach project in a new city. Applying for grants can seem challenging, but we’ve created this super easy guide to help you get started.

Matching Gifts

Build a strong relationship with your local business community and raise more funds at the same time by creating a matching gifts program. This involves bringing together businesses that are happy to match their employees’ donations, usually to the same dollar amount. Donations multiplying sounds pretty great, right? 

With so many small businesses and large corporations looking to give back, this can be a positive fundraising strategy. There’ll be some work to do in setting up and running your campaign, but once it’s ready you’ll be able to maximize the support of your existing donor base. 

Donations in Kind

Donations in kind come in lots of different forms. You might find that an organization is willing to donate products and supplies, or that they’re happy to give their staff the day off to donate their time to you. 

While these aren’t monetary donations, that doesn’t mean they’re any less useful. Donations in kind can help you provide catering at a fundraising event, stage a bigger celebration thanks to donated event space, or take your event online in a more professional way. You could also use donated items to create a charity auction, or offer as prizes for a fundraiser for students. 

Tips for Successful Nonprofit Fundraising

smiling woman celebrating

Knowing how to fundraise is only half of it. Planning and running a successful campaign is almost like an art form, but not one you have to learn alone. Here are some of our best tips to help your nonprofit fundraising campaign find success. 

Know Your Goal

Before you jump into your next nonprofit fundraising activity, make sure you’re clear on your goal. Do you want to raise funds to help you continue the services you already offer? Launch a new support program? Deliver a specific number of outcomes? 

Once you know your goal you’ll find it much easier to plan the right fundraising efforts. If you want to raise enough money to send out 1,000 support packages, try a pledge campaign — supporters can easily see how their donation contributes to the larger goal. For more consistent revenue throughout the year, create an events calendar that includes an annual charity auction and plenty of bake sales and community events. 

Share Your Story

People want to get to know your nonprofit and understand why you do what you do. They want to know what drives you, who you help, and how you work. Share your story through your website, your content, and your actions in the community. 

Building real, genuine connections with your supporters goes a long way. Sharing your story has never been easier — social media and virtual gatherings give you plenty of opportunities to find and attract new donors. You can even use ThankView to share the stories of people you’ve helped, so your supporters can see just how valuable their contribution is. 

Make the Experience Seamless

You want to make it as simple as possible for people to donate. Whether that’s through online giving or a live event — the moment needs to feel seamless. 

Avoid unnecessary barriers by testing out the donation process your supporters would go through. See if it works, and if it doesn’t then think about how you could improve it. This might mean switching to a different fundraising software, simplifying your donation form, or offering more ways to make an online donation. It’s also a great idea to look at your communications with supporters and make sure they’re clear, uplifting, and encourage engagement. 

Use Technology to Stand Out

With so much focus on the digital world, it’s the perfect time to stand out by creating new and exciting experiences for your supporters. 

There are lots of fun ways you can use technology to help your fundraising efforts stand out. You might decide to host a daily livestream with a different host each day, giving an insight into how your nonprofit works. You could move your annual charity auction online into an immersive digital space, or create a fun pledge campaign that people will feel compelled to share on social media. Look for ways you can use technology to make your donors feel valued, encouraged, and surprised. 

Nonprofit Fundraising Made Easy

Nonprofit fundraising is the ideal source of revenue to keep your organization running, fund new projects, and help you make a difference to the world and people around you. With so many different activity ideas, there’s a fundraising campaign to suit every nonprofit and every audience. It’s all about finding the right match. 

Help your fundraising efforts stand out and build valuable connections with your supporters with personalized thank you videos. To find out more about how it all works, sign up for a demo.

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