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Online Fundraising Ideas: How to Get More Donations Online

8 min read
March 22, 2024
Shannon Whitehead headshot
Shannon Whitehead
Content Strategist, Neon One
Person talking to a laptop showing four people on the screen and a chat sidebar

People spend more time online than ever. In fact, the average internet user will spend 6.5 hours online every day in 2024. They’re sending their friends memes on social media, sending emails they hope will find you well, and yes—they’re interacting with their favorite nonprofits, too. This is why online fundraising is such an essential part of your nonprofit’s overall fundraising strategy!

If you need ideas, you’ve come to the right place. Check out these online fundraising ideas for nonprofits to help you reach your annual goals and have a good time doing it! But first, let’s talk about the benefits of online fundraising.

What Are the Advantages of Online Fundraising?

Of course, online fundraising can be more convenient for both organizations and their supporters, but it’s so much more than that. Fundraising virtually comes with a host of benefits for nonprofits, including:

  1. It’s cost-effective. It typically costs a lot less to create an online fundraising campaign than an in-person one. When you can cut down on what fundraising costs your organization, more of those funds can go directly to your cause.
  2. It expands your reach. Traditional fundraisers allow you to engage your local community—and that’s fantastic! However, online fundraising broadens your reach and helps your mission reach potential donors all over the world.
  3. It allows you to meet supporters and potential donors where they are. Remember what we said about people spending so much time online? Those who socialize online, shop online, and get their entertainment online may prefer to participate in donating online as well.

Now that we’ve covered why, let’s get into what you can do to fundraise online successfully.

Online Fundraising Ideas Using Video

A person wearing headphones standing over a laptop managing a livestream video
A person wearing headphones standing over a laptop managing a livestream video

These online fundraising ideas focus on one of the most highly engaging mediums available today—video. It’s no longer the expensive undertaking it used to be. Thanks to smartphones, free editing apps, and the popularity of short videos, you can easily use video in a number of powerful ways.

Here are seven online fundraising ideas that use video.

Virtual Gala

Host a live-streamed gala event with performances, guest speakers, and donation appeals. This can help you engage a wider global audience while breaking down geographic barriers. 

Video Storytelling

Emotionally compelling videos showcasing your organization’s impact can help humanize your cause by showing the real people behind your organization’s efforts. 

Online Auctions

Auction off donated items or organization merchandise. You can use a video streaming platform to encourage global participation. Make it fun and engaging! Showcase the items, generate excitement, and encourage healthy competition among bidders. 

Virtual Reality Tour

Offer a live virtual reality experience, taking viewers on a tour of your nonprofit’s projects and the people you serve. This provides an immersive and interactive way for supporters to experience the impact of their contributions and makes the cause feel more tangible and real. Ask your current donors to invite friends and family to experience the tour and include an opportunity to give.

Educational Webinars

Educational webinars can help your organization raise funds through registrations and build credibility by positioning you as an authority. This drives trust that can drive future giving.

Virtual Dance Party

Energize your online fundraising with a virtual dance party! Supporters can join from anywhere, dance to the music, and make a difference by donating to your cause.

Video Challenges

Create viral video challenges related to your nonprofit’s mission. Encourage participants to donate and nominate others to join the cause. For a good example, look to the 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge, a viral video-based social media campaign that raised $115 million for ALS research in only six weeks.

Online Fundraising Ideas Using Email

A hand drawing an arrow with a black marker on a dry erase board that points to the word audience
A hand drawing an arrow with a black marker on a dry erase board that points to the word audience

Email is a very popular option for online fundraising for nonprofits because of its low cost and accessibility. With a great email strategy, you can send fundraising emails that feel personal and engaging to your audience.

Segment your donors to get the most out of your email campaigns. Segmenting means assigning donors to specific groups based on their activity with your organization. For example, if you have someone who always gives to causes related to children and someone who always gives to research, you’d create two different groups for those individuals. Group 1 would get appeals related to children, while Group 2 would receive appeals based on research. 

This type of personalization can increase interest, engagement, and donations. Here are a few ideas for nonprofit email marketing campaigns that support online fundraising using data segmentation and personalization.

New Donor Series

Create a personalized email series for new donors to welcome them, introduce your organization’s work, and show how their contribution makes a difference. This will connect them to your cause right from the start and present an opportunity to remind them of other ways they can contribute in the future.


GivingTuesday is a global philanthropic movement celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. It allows organizations to benefit from the collaborative efforts of other nonprofits. You can plan special email campaigns around GivingTuesday and encourage donors to contribute to your organization on this special occasion.

Geographic Impact

Segment your email list by location and send targeted messages highlighting the impact of your nonprofit’s work in each region. By connecting the work you do directly to their local area, you foster a sense of ownership and relevance and send targeted fundraising emails that encourage them to give to a cause that impacts their own community.

Re-Engagement Campaign

For re-engagement campaigns, you can group your inactive or lapsed donors (sometimes called LYBUNTs and SYBUNTs) into separate segments. These messages should acknowledge their past support while reigniting their interest in your cause. You can also highlight your organization’s recent impact and upcoming projects.

Personalized Milestone Emails

Emails celebrating donor milestones, like the anniversary of their first donation, can strengthen donor relationships. Acknowledging and celebrating these important moments in your supporters’ journey shows them their contributions are valued and appreciated and can even prompt them to give a special donation.

Year-End Giving Campaign

Year-end giving campaigns play a pivotal role in a nonprofit’s financial success. Don’t hesitate to emphasize this fact! With December accounting for one-quarter of the average organization’s annual revenue, these campaigns provide a crucial opportunity to engage donors and secure vital support.

Matching Gift Challenge

Challenge your donors to match or surpass their past gifts and create an even greater impact! In personalized emails, express gratitude for their support and invite them to participate in a special giving challenge. Show them the difference their previous contributions have made and emphasize the importance of their continued commitment.

Online Fundraising Ideas Using Social Media

An iPhone screen showing the Social Media folder open with Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, and X app icons inside
An iPhone screen showing the Social Media folder open with Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, and X app icons inside

Using social media for online fundraising is a chance to connect with your donors on a more personal level. That’s why your organization’s social media presence needs to be as much about building connections as it is about seeking donations. 

A good social media presence is not one filled with appeals; it also informs, engages, captivates, and inspires the audience. Ideally, your social media content should contain 80% information and 20% appeals.

Here are social media fundraising ideas that help you build connections. 

Social Media Ambassadors

Social media fundraising is valuable because it allows a personal connection, but speaking as an organization can feel less so. By working with individuals (including current donors!) to represent your cause, you put a human face on your nonprofit and attract donations from their audience. 

Giving Days

Giving Days are intense 24-hour fundraising drives well-suited for social media platforms due to their real-time nature. During a social media Giving Day campaign, you can keep participants informed about progress and express gratitude for their contributions instantly.   

Live Donation Challenges

Host live donation challenges on platforms like Facebook Live or Instagram Live, where supporters can pledge donations in real-time.

Influencer Collaborations

Partner with social media influencers who are passionate about your cause. Their endorsement and support can significantly boost your campaign’s reach and engagement. Keep in mind that these individuals don’t have to be celebrities with millions of followers. Your best bet is influencers within your niche with smaller but more active fan bases. 

Go Live

Connect with your audience in real-time through live video streaming on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube. Streaming adds an authentic and dynamic touch, allowing you to interact directly with your supporters, answer questions on the spot, and create engaging content that captures their attention. Use these live features to host online fundraising events.

Using Neon CRM to Boost Your Online Fundraising 

Online fundraising can be a major source of revenue for your nonprofit, but it’s vital to personalize and target your messages to connect with your supporters.

A constituent relationship management platform (CRM) simplifies the process, allowing you to analyze donor records, customize emails with compelling content, and track results.

By leveraging technology, you strengthen donor relationships, drive engagement, and maximize your nonprofit’s impact.

Neon CRM is a powerful platform that can streamline your nonprofit’s online fundraising and help you make deeper connections with donors. Contact us for a demo to learn more. 

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