Alternative Virtual Fundraising Options for Year-Round Giving

A non-profit fundraising event, no matter the size, scale, or type, should offer something for the donors to get excited about as they support an important cause.

Creating an exciting online environment that encourages giving, while celebrating your community takes a different approach than a traditional gala and silent auction. The sense of community that naturally occurs during an in-person event can’t be conveyed in the same way through a screen, yet it is so important for reaching fundraising goals.

There are many tactics you can use to reach out to your donor community with an appeal throughout the year. Some are old ideas, updated for the times; and some are new ideas that embrace the digital world. Design a year-long strategy that combines several well-timed, well-balanced tactics that will have the greatest impact on your supporters.

Online Raffles

If you’re interested in hosting an online raffle, you’ll first want to research the laws regarding the income gained by a nonprofit. Next, you’ll need to decide to either run your raffle through social media or a raffle hosting online platform. Make your decisions ticketing options, prizes, and when and how to start the event and how long it will run. Post images of the prizes, along with a detailed description, in a post on your social media page or on your dedicated website, then email the link to everyone you know so they can win a fabulous prize. After choosing the winner, deliver the prize in person or send it through the mail. Afterward, follow up with a customized thank you email to everyone who purchased a raffle ticket.

Crowdfunding with corporate partners

 For tips on managing and executing a virtual fundraiser check out Greater Giving’s blog post “7 Virtual Event Execution Tips.” It offers suggestions that will take you through the entire event, from start to finish.

Peer to peer, or crowdfunding, events are a standard way to raise money online. Take it up a notch by working with your corporate partners to get the message out to even more people. Collaborate with them to provide incentives that will entice their employees to participate and share the raffle across their social networks. If the partnership is fruitful, approach them about making it a regular, annual event that will offer them an opportunity to promote the company alongside the fundraiser.

One-day email flash fundraisers

Put urgency into your fundraising efforts with a single day of sharing event. These “flash” fundraisers appeal to people who want to give but don’t have the time to dedicate to a larger, more involved fundraising activity. Advertise on social media prior to the event, then go live on the scheduled day to record the great gifts that come in. You can do this all day, or at specific points during the day, but be sure to advertise your live event along with the fundraiser itself. Follow up with a taped thank you message to tell your contributors how much was money was raised and how their donation will help your organization’s mission. The annual day of giving called #GivingTuesday is a great example of a one-day flash fundraiser.

Donation matching drives

Turn one donation into two, three, or four donations with a “matching” contribution from your corporate sponsors. Offering space on your website and social media posts to advertise their generous contribution and include them in your post-event thank to promote their business to a new group of people.

Online challenges

Ever since that first bucket of water was dumped on someone’s head to raise money for the ALS Foundation, online challenges have become a fun trend that people are excited to get participate in. Based on the awareness these challenges bring to a cause, they can be effective in introducing a new or relatively unknown cause to a greater audience. It can be a dare, a sports challenge, a coordination test, or many other things. Just make it fun and easy for most people to be able to complete. And, make sure all the information about the challenge, where the money will go, and a prominent way to donate is available on your website and social media pages for people who want to give.

Online talent shows

Some of us remember those long telethons that took over our television set once a year to raise money for muscular dystrophy. That format can be duplicated online. Host a talent show that will generate interest and sprinkle in your appeals throughout the telecast. It can be live or pre-recorded, but be sure to include a countdown clock that is displayed in a highly-visible place to create a sense of urgency.


Take to the airwaves with a podcast that is solely dedicated to raising money. Between your appeals you can conduct interviews, provide interesting information, and host performers who will define the atmosphere of your event. There is a lot of help online that can help you develop a podcast, or you can work with an established podcaster to get on their production to make your appeal.

Planned giving campaign

With its ease and security, donor subscriber programs on the internet have become commonplace. People are automatically charged on their credit card each time they’ve scheduled a donation, and they can choose the amount and when the recurring donation will be processed when they sign up, making it one easiest and safest ways to donate. Keep this option available year-round and promote it during your other events and on your social networks regularly.

Social media takeovers

Social media takeovers are a fun way to reach a new group of people. Ask a corporate sponsor or celebrity if they would be interested in hosting the event on their social media pages. They can be a part of the production, with video, live posting, streaming video, images, and more. Their support and the larger audience they could bring in could put you over the top of your goal.

Find more ways your donors can contribute virtually to your mission throughout the year. It will offer them more options and more opportunities to donate to their favorite nonprofit and help your organization become known as a productive online fundraiser.

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