Spring is often a favorite season, and it’s not hard to see why: The temperature starts to rise, the trees and flowers start to bloom after the cold winter, and the sun begins shining once again.
Spring holds a lot of promise, which is why it’s a great season for fundraising. It’s the perfect time of year to engage donors to raise more gifts and, most important, transform the impact of your cause. Here are a few of our favorite spring fundraising ideas — and how to enact them with a cutting-edge technology twist.
Active Event (Run, Walk, Swim, or Ride)
Nicer weather means people are excited to get outside and get active. This is a great time to hold an event like a 10K, color run, or charity walk or ride to get people outdoors to support your cause.
An online peer-to-peer fundraising software is the easiest way to boost donations for these types of events. Peer-to-peer fundraising is a popular type of crowdfunding that gives participants the ability to either donate directly to your cause or become a fundraiser for the event on your behalf.
Pro tip: Integrate your event registration form and your crowdfunding sign-up page to ensure that all participants have their own peer-to-peer fundraising page.
Remember, making sure every form and page is mobile-friendly is critical. Mobile devices account for 17% of crowdfunding donations, and, especially at an active event, participants will likely only have their phone with them. Mobile-friendly donation pages empower your participants to continue fundraising for your cause throughout the event using only their mobile device, allowing you to capture as many donations as possible.
Charity Softball or Basketball Game
Baseball season is here, so now is the perfect time to gear up and play ball. Softball and basketball games are very popular fundraising events. They are also a great opportunity to attract local celebrities and athletes in the area who can help promote your event.
Team crowdfunding software is a fun way to generate more donations using friendly competition to your advantage. Set each team up with its own fundraising page and have team members reach out to their personal networks for donations. They’ll then work together to meet their team’s goal as they try to beat out other teams. It’s a win-win for everyone. Want to get people involved who couldn’t otherwise attend? Live streaming your event on social media is great way to capture excitement and ask for donations during the game.
Best practices for live streaming fundraising events:
- Invite supporters who can’t attend your in-person event to join the event on Facebook Live or another live stream platform.
- Highlight team stats and performances.
- Mention virtual attendees’ online comments during the event.
- Use a simple CTA to ask viewers to give online, and recognize those who do.
- Empower a member of your staff (or a talented volunteer) to be your Facebook Live “producer” and provide a selfie stick, tripod, and all-access press pass.
(Don’t know where to start? Find out how to choose the best live video platform that works best for your organization so you can take advantage of this new technology.)
Scavenger hunts are fun for all ages and easily scaled, so they’re the perfect spring fundraising idea. A scavenger hunt can be easily transformed into a lucrative fundraising opportunity.
Elevate your event to the next level by inviting supporters to your very own Amazing Race-style scavenger hunt for a large-scale take on the spring classic. Using technology like text message keywords can help turn your scavenger hunt into a successful fundraising event that’s tons of fun for participants.
Text message keywords are words that supporters can text to a five-digit short code, like 51555 or 91999, to perform specific actions—in this case, make a donation or sign up for an event. One way you can use text message keywords during a scavenger hunt is to have participants text to access the next clue.
As an added bonus, you’ll be growing your mobile marketing list at the same time. Everyone who texts your keyword to your code will be added to a list of supporters that you can use to follow up with participants after the event. You can thank them for participating, keep them updated about the next event, and even ask for donations via text.
It’s the time of year to freshen up our homes and clear out unwanted items. Many people have bags of clothes, toys, or other items that they want to get rid of as well as other spring cleaning tasks. They may be happy to make a donation to your cause in exchange for a volunteer to help them.
Use two different online forms: one to sign up volunteers and one to let supporters make a donation in exchange for volunteers hauling their items away.
Online volunteer forms will make it easy to grow your crew of spring cleaners. You can reach out to your supporters by text message, email, or social media to ask for volunteers. The more volunteers you get, the more houses you can service during the campaign.
While you are asking for volunteers to help, you can simultaneously promote the other online form, where people can purchase their spring cleaning services. These donations will go straight to your organization, helping you further your cause.
Pro tip: Make your forms as simple as possible! Keep the number of form fields to the bare minimum to increase submissions and donations. For example, you might include three different suggested donation amounts that correlate with amounts of time the volunteer will be helping. This will make it easy for your prospective donors to fill out the form quickly and easily.
Dinner Gala / Luncheon
A traditional fundraising staple is the charity dinner gala or luncheon. Most nonprofits hold these every year—and make them the same every year. Traditional ways nonprofits raise money at these events include silent auctions, paper credit card forms, checks, cash, and tickets.
The methods listed above are fine, but if you want to create an exciting moment of giving during your event, a dynamic fundraising thermometer is the way to go. Any guest with a mobile device will be able to text in a donation that will show up in the thermometer in real time.
As donations come in, the thermometer rises, donations are totaled, and donors are counted, creating an exciting shared experience as donors contribute to the event goal. No paper forms are required.
Pro tip: For maximum participation, the event emcee should thank donors from the stage as names appear on screen. You can also manually enter offline and out-of-towner gifts to keep the giving momentum going.
The Masters Tournament is one of the most well-known golf tournaments in the world, and it happens to take place in the spring of each year. Your organization can capitalize on this excitement (and great weather!) to host a golf tournament of your own.
Everyone knows that golf can be difficult—that is why mulligans were invented. A mulligan is widely known as a “do-over” in the golfing world and comes in handy during golf tournaments. No matter how good your supporters are at golf, they’d likely love to have one or more mulligans during a tournament so they can make their bad shots disappear from their score. So, what many organizations do to give a boost to their fundraising totals is sell mulligans to players before and during the tournament.
A convenient way to sell mulligans is to use a text message keyword. This way, no matter where they are on the golf course, your players can use their mobile device to buy more mulligans. You can text “MULLI” to 41444 to see how a form like this would work. A great way to remind players that they can buy mulligans throughout the game is to include a sign with the text message keyword and short code in each golf cart. Based on how the average golfer plays, you should have no shortage of people wanting to buy mulligans!
After the golf tournament, host a dinner, auction, or raffle that can add to your fundraising totals.
These are just a handful of spring fundraising ideas. If you want more, take a look at this list of 50+ fundraising ideas for nonprofits.
Technology is changing fast, but it’s making it increasingly easy for organizations like yours to raise more money in less time. Fundraising campaigns can go viral and reach millions because of the technology that is available to nonprofit organizations.
With innovations in artificial intelligence, voice recognition, augmented reality, and much more, there will be no shortage of cool fundraising technologies that will simplify the giving process in the future. For now, online fundraising solutions can help you raise more money with less effort this springtime and beyond—and that’s something everyone can feel good about.
About the Author
Steve Page is a marketer and webmaster for MobileCause, mobile and online software for the next generation of fundraising. MobileCause helps organizations of all sizes strengthen traditional and digital campaigns across mobile, social, and online channels. When he’s not at MobileCause, Steve can usually be found helping organizations with their websites, learning the latest marketing trends or working on his golf game.