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3 Smart Online Ways to Raise Funds For Your Nonprofit (+Case Studies)

Online fundraising has become a popular way for nonprofits to raise money. Based on the Blackbaud Institute’s annual report, where data from over 8,000 nonprofit organizations were analyzed, overall giving in 2021 grew 9% on a year-over-year basis.

In fact, Blackbaud’s senior analyst and VP noted that fundraising grew by nearly 20% over the last three years!

And while online fundraising can be a great way to reach more people, it’s not always easy to stand out in the crowd. With so many different causes competing for attention, how can you make sure your nonprofit’s fundraising campaign stands out?

We’ve done some research for you. We reviewed the innumerable ways you can raise money online for your nonprofit, and we whittled them down to three of the most popular and smart ways we will examine in this article.

What Is Online Fundraising And How Does It Work

First things first. Let’s be on the same page with what online fundraising is. Simply put, online fundraising is when nonprofits use the internet to solicit donations from individuals or groups.

Online fundraising is a powerful tool that can help nonprofits to achieve their goals. By harnessing the power of the internet, online fundraising allows your nonprofit to reach a wider audience and collect donations from a larger pool of potential donors.

And, because it is easier to set up and manage an online fundraiser than a traditional in-person fundraiser, online fundraising can be a great option if your nonprofit is short on time and resources.

Nonprofits will typically promote their online fundraising campaigns through social media and email marketing. Still, it’s important to remember that not everyone is comfortable making donations online. For this reason, you need to have other donation options available as well.

Why Should Your Nonprofit Consider Online Fundraising?

These days, more and more nonprofits are turning to online fundraising to help them meet their financial goals. Surely, it makes sense! Online fundraising comes with a number of advantages that traditional fundraising methods (direct mail, onsite fundraising events like giving days, selling merchandise like t-shirts, raffle tickets, walkathons, sponsorships, and so on) simply can’t match.

For one thing, online fundraising is incredibly convenient for both donors and organizations. By harnessing the power of the internet, online fundraising allows nonprofits to reach a global audience of potential donors.

Donors can make contributions and secure donations with just a few clicks from the comfort of their own homes or workplaces. Donors can make a big impact by supporting the causes they care about effortlessly. Besides, organizations can save time and money by eliminating the need for paper mailings and in-person solicitations.

What’s more, online fundraising provides donors with a greater sense of transparency, allowing them to see exactly how their contributions are being used, thus, motivating them to proceed with recurring donations.

With online giving platforms, nonprofits can easily track their progress and measure their results. In short, online fundraising is a cost-effective way to reach potential donors and save on costs associated with traditional fundraising methods like onsite fundraising events, print advertising, and mailing costs.

The Benefits Of Online Fundraising For Your Nonprofit

Though online fundraising has been around for less than two decades, it’s already changed the face of giving. In the past, raising money for a nonprofit typically meant hosting onsite events, going door-to-door, or calling people on the phone.

While these methods are still used today, online fundraising has become one of the most popular and effective ways to solicit donations. And it’s not just big national organizations that are benefitting from this shift–local nonprofits are also seeing the advantages of online giving.

Several reasons explain why online fundraising is so beneficial for nonprofits:

3 Smart Online Ways To Raise Funds For Your Nonprofit

1Use a Digital Fundraising Platform

Set up a donation page on your website. This makes it easy for people to donate without having to leave your site. Be sure to include a clear call to action and information about how the donation will be used.

An online donation platform, along with a donation page, is the single most important thing you need to invest in to acquire donors online. Be sure that your website provides a smooth and user-friendly experience to your prospects.

When running an online fundraiser, it is important to keep in mind the various fees that can accumulate. These include charges for platforms and payment processing as well costs related to building your audience who will be able to help raise money through donations on this site or another page like Facebook. On your social media page people are already engaged with what you’re doing so they’ll want more information before making their decision about donating!

“Every nonprofit should have a donation page on its website and mobile app that provides an easy way for prospective donors to contribute online.”

When people visit your website or app, chances are that they have an interest in your organization and the cause(s) that it supports.

Having a “click to donate” link on each page of your organization’s website that leads directly to a page where people can contribute, makes it easy for website visitors to chip in while your organization is on their minds. Of course, your website and app should also have information about your organization’s services and mission and information on how to get involved as a volunteer.

Online Donation Pages Tools

Here are five popular tools you can use to build your donation page online.

A free-to-use donation platform funded by philanthropists. It has no platform fees -other than the payment processors who charge a fee depending on how the money is donated- and provides free and unlimited access to all of its features, such as event ticketing, peer-to-peer fundraising, and text message donations.

Sign-up takes longer than other donation tools. Before you can be accepted as a member, you must sign up for Stripe. In the case of a fundraising event that falls within those 7-10 days, expedited applications may be considered.

Neon Fundraise

With Neon Fundraise you can create and manage donation pages with ticketing functionality for single fundraising events or campaigns using online forms that support multiple ticket structures, recurring giving, and more.

To get information about pricing, you need to schedule a call with a Neon salesperson for a demo.

Qgiv

A simple yet powerful donation tool for nonprofit organizations. In 2021, Qgiv won a BIG Innovation Award for upgrades to their donation forms, which include customizable recurring upgrade prompts a multistep layout that increases conversions, and a mobile-first design.

The updated forms also include the option to add impact images for individual donation amounts. This tool provides flexible pricing starting from $25/month

Bloomerang

With Bloomerang, nonprofits have access to a comprehensive toolkit for reaching out to donors online. You can create custom donation and event landing pages and sell tickets to an event with just a few clicks.

Bloomerang’s pricing depends on the number of records (or contacts) you track. You get unlimited users with every plan.

DonorPerfect

DonorPerfect offers a pretty comprehensive solution that can meet most of your fundraising needs. Some of its key features consist of an online customizable fundraising and donor management system with integrated online donation and event donation forms, integrated payment processing, email marketing tool, mobile app, event registration, report builder, custom reporting and dashboard analytics, and resource of standard reports.

This donation tool offers five different pricing packages, starting from $99/month.

2Make Use Of Crowdfunding & Peer-To-Peer Fundraising

Crowdfunding is all about many individuals each giving a (usually) small donation — $5, $10, $50, $100. It has become a popular type of fundraising with corporate organizations and nonprofits alike.

To get the most out of donation-based crowdfunding, we suggest that you post regular updates, use compelling images and videos, offer incentives, and share via email, and on social media.

“Make sure to tell a story – a story is what fuels crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising.”

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a crowdfunding method that utilizes an organization’s donors’ existing networks. These types of fundraisers encourage supporters to reach out to their peers (friends, co-workers, and family members) and ask them to donate.

With peer-to-peer fundraising, every individual supporter/fundraiser sets up a personal fundraising page where they accept donations. On these pages, fundraisers lend their own voice to the nonprofit’s mission, sharing with their networks why that specific cause matters to them. These donations are ultimately received by the nonprofit.

Peer-to-peer fundraising helps build social proof. We are more likely to trust the recommendations of friends or family members. This can help nonprofits acquire more donors and acquire them much faster.

Crowdfunding Platforms & Peer-to-peer Fundraising Software

Neon Fundraise

Neon Fundraise provides several nonprofit fundraising options, apart from the creation and management of donation pages. It also provides a peer-to-peer fundraising tool, supporting programs of all sizes and virtual events to run engaging virtual fundraising campaigns that encourage more donor and fundraiser adoption.

Qgiv

In addition to donation pages, as we mentioned in the previous section of our article, Qgiv offers a full suite of fundraising tools, such as peer-to-peer software, mobile giving, and auction software, all of which contribute to reaching your fundraising goals.

Salsa

Salsa’s peer-to-peer platform allows you to inspire and empower your supporters to fundraise for your cause. You can customize donation pages and brand them to match your organization’s look and feel.

Using custom dashboards, you can track the real-time progress of your crowdfunding campaign and send targeted coaching emails to encourage fundraising success.

For information on pricing, you need to contact Salsa on their website for a custom quote.

OneCause

OneCause offers a peer-to-peer fundraising platform that helps your nonprofit acquire, motivate, and empower supporters during your fundraising efforts.

It supports gamification, social listening, feeds, and multiple pre-built templates and integrations, allowing your supporters to fundraise their own way by hosting and live-streaming events, creating challenges, and more.

There are different pricing packages provided by OneCause for which you need to contact the company to schedule a consultation.

Donately

Donately claims to provide the perfect peer-to-peer fundraising solution, making it easy for supporters to create giving forms for their peer fundraising campaigns and share their personal pages via social networks, email campaigns, and the like.

Once a supporter gives through these pages, they are able to share their generosity with their peers, enabling more people to see the page.

There are a variety of pricing plans available, starting with a free plan for small organizations.

3Sell Online Courses

One of the most important resources we have is knowledge. The key to selling knowledge online is being the solution to your audience’s problems.

“Selling online courses is a novel fundraising idea that gains traction over time.”

Selling online courses enables you to provide a point of entry for customers to support your nonprofit through a more business-like transaction. Also, it helps you secure an excellent way to reach your fundraising goals with a second revenue stream.

You may ask, what is the rationale behind selling online courses? Well, You will discover many more reasons when we give you the most obvious ones:

Sell Online Courses Using a Learning Management System (LMS)

In today’s world, professional education is more important than ever. With the advent of the internet, there are now more opportunities than ever to learn new skills and gain new knowledge. People are now able to access a wealth of knowledge from all over the world.

However, professional education can be expensive and time-consuming.

Online courses provide a solution to this problem by allowing people to access professional education at their own pace and in their own time.

As online courses are often less expensive and more flexible than traditional brick-and-mortar courses, they make a great option for busy professionals. You can leverage the popularity of online learning and combine it with your nonprofit’s cause. Learners will be more engaged knowing that their tuition dollars are going to a good cause.

People are always looking to learn new skills or upskill their existing ones. Taking an online course is a great way to make professional education more accessible.

As a nonprofit organization, you don’t have to worry whether you have experience in teaching online courses or you have never done this before. There are online learning management systems like LearnWorlds that help you put an online course together in no time and build a thriving online academy for your nonprofit.

With a learning management system like LearnWorlds, you could easily create and sell online courses without any technical expertise. Thanks to the platform’s ease of use and engaging features, you can customize your courses to match your own unique brand. Best of all, the platform makes it easy for your learners to access content, collaborate, and interact with one another.

Keep in mind that you can enrich your online courses with live classes and webinars; a magnificent way to teach, coach, and interact with your learners.

You can further grow your audience and increase your nonprofit’s revenue by leveraging LearnWorlds’ built-in marketing and sales tools. Easily create coupons and promotions to upsell and cross-sell your online courses with irresistible offers. You can even sell memberships, subscriptions, and online course bundles; literally all types of digital marketing products you will ever need!

💡 Check out this article as well: eLearning for Nonprofits: The 7 Most Important Features Your LMS Should Have

For more information and loads of inspiration on fundraising tips and fundraising ideas through selling online courses, check out “The Ultimate Guide To Selling & Marketing Online Courses.” Download the guide to access everything you need to know on how to create your next-level profitable online course.

From learning how to prepare your courses to be sales-ready, to how to promote them through various digital marketing channels to scale your nonprofit organization, this free guide offers it all and will elevate your fundraising efforts!

Case Studies Of Online Fundraisers Using Online Courses

LearnWorlds is used by some of the world’s top nonprofits to offer courses to millions of students worldwide. Here are a couple of nonprofit organizations that trust LearnWorlds to raise funds through online courses.

Open Academy

Open Academy wants to change the world by offering various courses on personal and professional development. This nonprofit returns parts of its revenue to institutions and charities. Its vision is to promote a culture of lifelong learning.

Open Academy offers high-quality online video courses and webinars on various subjects like career coaching, nutrition, relationships, anxiety, self-leadership, and more. They offer both paid and private courses to individuals, local businesses, and corporate professionals along with subscriptions with a permanent discount. They even offer coupons and promotions with 1st-course free offerings and provide exceptionally enriched learning activities.

The Digital Nomad Project

The Digital Nomad Project is a nonprofit organization focusing on training the next generation of Freelancers in the digital skills needed to help them choose their own future at work. Their vision is to grow local communities through upskilling, giving nomads an opportunity to take an active role in their communities.

They provide courses for both soft and technical skills to equip young people with the confidence, mindset, and motive to work with their wellbeing in mind. They have even built a network of versatile and dynamic freelancers, striving to make space for a community of like-minded young professionals to raise social capital both locally and globally.

The Digital Nomad Project partners with governments (via connections, contracts, introductions, recruitment, and funding opportunities), large companies (for environmental, social, and corporate governance, and CSR initiatives), and charities.

fundsforNGOs

FundsforNGOs is an online initiative working for the sustainability of NGOs by increasing their access to donors, resources, and skills. They are actually a nonprofit organization helping nonprofits! And they sell professional education through online courses to raise funds for their cause.

Through its online initiatives, FundsforNGOs spreads knowledge about organizational sustainability and promotes creative ideas for the long-term creation of institutional funds for development interventions, improves professional efforts in resource mobilization, and advocates for increased allocations of donor funds for building the skills and capacities of NGOs.

NEXA The Nigerian Export Academy

The Nigerian Export Academy (NEXA) is an official digital learning platform for all exporters in Nigeria and in other parts of Africa. Its mission is to educate companies and professionals about how to start and scale their export business and they do it through online courses presented by international trade experts who share their expertise.

NEXA provides its courses also on a subscription basis, making it possible to fund its mission.

DEC School

DEC School is a nonprofit online learning platform supporting the delivery of the award-winning Design Engineer Construct! learning program. Developed in collaboration with built environment professionals from around the world, DEC School gives young people the chance to experience what it is like to work in the design sector.

DEC School’s mission is to educate the future of construction, the young generation of promising engineers. Although most of its online courses are provided for free, as it is a nonprofit educational platform, it does have certain paid online courses to further strengthen its fundraising efforts.

Final Thoughts

Whatever way you choose to raise funds for your nonprofit organization, always remember to incorporate social media and use them to your advantage. Make sure to post regularly and use engaging visuals to capture people’s attention.

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are great for spreading the word about your cause and helping in raising funds. They even provide you with their own fundraising tools. One example would be the Facebook fundraising functionality.

Remember that everything is digital these days and a good online fundraising campaign keeps your organization current and competitive. While it may take time to build, digital fundraising can yield significant long-term results.

No matter which online fundraising idea you choose, the important thing is to get started and to keep at it. Online fundraising can be daunting, but remember that every little bit counts. So get out there, outreach your audience, start building your successful fundraising, and make a difference!

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Rosemary is a Content Marketing Manager for the LearnWorlds team. Her mission is to improve the customer experience across all possible touchpoints through content. She has a solid background in omnichannel marketing and content writing. Her superpower is making sense out of any content mess. In her free time, she likes assembling jigsaw puzzles.