engaging members

Modern technology has opened up more possibilities for nonprofits, associations, and other membership organizations to connect and engage with their members. By planning a virtual fundraising campaign, you can make it easy for members to support your funding goal and even reach a wider audience.

The right virtual fundraising strategy can produce impressive results and secure the long-term success of your membership program. Here are five tips for engaging members in virtual fundraising.

1. Make it easy to give.

When your members feel inspired to contribute to your virtual fundraising campaign, make it as easy as possible.

Start by making sure your website is mobile-friendly. 57% of nonprofit website traffic comes from mobile users, while only 43% comes from desktop users. Then, review your online giving process and identify ways to make it more convenient for donors.

Fortunately, there are many nonprofit tools available to support your virtual fundraising efforts, such as:

Online Fundraising Platforms

An online fundraising platform is an all-in-one system that allows you to create and promote a donation page and collect donor details. Robust solutions offer a wide range of features, allowing you to track fundraising progress, enable recurring gifts, send automatic follow-up emails, and more.

With this technology, your organization can analyze your fundraising results and identify ways to encourage more giving in the future.

Merchandise Fundraising

A merchandise fundraising platform allows your organization to create and sell custom goods, such as t-shirts, tote bags, mugs, and more. Merchandise fundraising can be an effective funding source for all types of campaigns, including virtual ones. Find a platform that allows you to design and sell custom merchandise so you can brand your merchandise with your organization’s logo and colors.

Social Media Marketing Tools

There are plenty of social media management tools that facilitate the process of promoting your virtual fundraising campaign on these platforms. For example, you can schedule posts for certain dates and times according to your content calendar. This way, you can regularly get in front of members and keep them updated about your fundraising efforts.

Email Marketing Tools

One tried and true online vehicle for raising funds is through email. You can use email to announce your fundraiser, track it, and show your progress. Include clear calls to action (CTAs) to direct recipients to donate on your organization’s website.

2. Spark friendly competition.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising is an excellent way to get your members more deeply involved in your virtual fundraising campaign through friendly competition. Participants will reach out to friends, family, and co-workers to help them raise funds for your organization.

Enhance your results with these tips:

  • Use P2P fundraising software to streamline and maximize your efforts.
  • Provide messaging templates and branded assets to support your participants.
  • Offer incentives to inspire participants, such as free merchandise or gift cards.
  • Share a fundraising toolkit, including tips and background information about your mission.

Encourage participants to personalize messaging with their supporters and share personal stories regarding their involvement with your organization. These stories can inspire empathy and motivate more people to contribute.

3. Share the impact of fundraising contributions.

donor relationsBefore your members decide to participate in your virtual fundraising efforts, many of them likely want to know how their contributions will make an impact on your goals. For example, you should specify what your organization will accomplish with the help of donations and who will benefit. 

Furthermore, take this opportunity to share additional ways members can get involved in supporting your organization’s success beyond donating. You can promote volunteer roles, encourage them to participate in your advocacy activities, and more. Use the information you have collected in your member database to highlight opportunities that your members are most likely to be interested in.

4. Promote matching gift opportunities.

More than 26 million individuals work for companies with matching gift programs, though 78% are unaware that these opportunities exist. Through matching gifts, companies will match the donations that their employees make to nonprofits, often at a 1:1 ratio. This means that, when an eligible member makes a gift to your organization, they can have twice the impact by submitting a matching gift request.

Your organization can benefit from these matching gift programs by spreading awareness among your members. You can promote matching gifts through:

  • Email newsletters. You can promote matching gifts through email newsletters by highlighting local companies that match gifts. Encourage people to contact their employer to see if they have a matching gift program.
  • Social media. Create social media posts that discuss the process of matching gifts and link to your website for more information.
  • Matching gifts web page. Create a page specifically to highlight matching gift programs and include details on how members can check their eligibility. Discuss the process of securing matching gifts and the impact these funds will have on your organization.

Matching gift programs allow members to maximize the impact of their contributions. This means members can make an even greater impact on your online fundraising efforts without having to reach back into their own wallets. Use your membership software to keep up-to-date information on your members’ employers so you can better identify match-eligible donors.

5. Host a virtual event.

fundraising event

Modern technology is making it easier than ever to create, host, and raise funds through virtual events. An event can give a face to your campaign, generate excitement, and provide an opportunity to engage with members. These can include:

  • Galas
  • Facility tours
  • Social hours
  • Trivia competitions
  • Movie nights

A survey can help uncover virtual events that may appeal to your members, increasing the odds of your events’ success. Whether your event is in-person, virtual, or hybrid, make sure you have event software to facilitate your planning, event management, and attendee follow-up.

The Bottom Line

By embracing technology and employing effective virtual fundraising strategies, your organization can connect with a broader audience, engage members more deeply, and secure essential funding in creative and impactful ways. Well-planned virtual fundraising campaigns will not only ensure the sustainability of your organization but also enhance the overall experience for members, building a stronger and more connected community.

About the Author

Marleena Moore is the Marketing Manager at Personify for the WildApricot brand. Her goal is to create impactful content to empower nonprofits and associations in their mission-driven work.