The ONE thing you need to have in your next online fundraising campaign

Written by
Rachel MillsWhite arrow icon

The ONE thing you need to have in your next online fundraising campaign

Globally, we’re all doing our best to "flatten the curve" of the coronavirus outbreak. While this global response varies significantly from country to country, right now, in America, flattening the curve looks like social distancing. It’s amazing to see the creative lengths individuals are going to uplift community members in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus and social isolation.

Social distancing is hard for all of us - really, it is. But it’s especially challenging for nonprofit community members. Many nonprofit organization’s fundraising models are built around face-to-face interaction with major donors, board members, and foundations through meetings and fundraising events. Social distancing makes it particularly challenging to engage with supporters to raise money to keep critical missions afloat.

One of the obvious solutions for nonprofits is putting online fundraising into overdrive. Team fundraising (aka “Peer-to-Peer” fundraising) is the one thing you need to have in your next online campaign. Team Fundraising is arguably the most fun, cost-effective, and proven form of online social fundraising.

Which is why in this blog, we’ll be talking about:

  • why social fundraising works,
  • the benefits of team fundraising,
  • how to build community in team fundraising,
  • team fundraising inspiration,
  • and last but not least, Givebutter’s free solution for team fundraising.

Social proof is important for online fundraising.

It’s a Tuesday night, and as you're mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, you see two birthday fundraisers for charity back-to-back. One birthday fundraiser is for someone you respect from a previous job and has already started to raise funds. They have an inspiring, personal connection to the charity, and there are a few comments with support. The other birthday fundraiser is by someone you met once in college, and they only included their fundraising goal - nothing yet. Still, you’re sort of interested in the cause. 

In this scenario, if you were directly messaged and asked to donate, would you be more likely to contribute to your former co-worker or college acquaintance's birthday fundraiser? 

If you’re like most people, you’re clicking ‘donate now’ on your former co-worker’s birthday fundraiser. And that, my friends, is social proof.

In 1984, Robert Cialdini first coined the term ‘social proof’ in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. In it, Cialdini says that “we assume the actions of others, as long as we are led to believe they reflect correct behavior.” According to social proof theory, we are most likely to assume the actions of others if a.) we find them respectable, and b.) we feel like we "belong" in some way as a result. While there are countless theories to explain our greatest psychological needs, belonging ranks as one of the most agreed upon in modern research.

Digital marketing and social media platforms are heavily influenced by social proof theory. ‘Push and pull’ marketing methods drive the way websites are built, ads are run, and personas are crafted, just to name a few. Social proof explains why you see so many reviews, customer quotes, client case studies, and awards on company websites. Among others, social proof is one of the primary reasons for the influx of social media influencers and, ultimately, social media addiction

Social proof isn’t as commonplace for nonprofit organizations as it is in businesses. Still, many fundraisers unknowingly design fundraising campaigns around the theory (e.g., crowdfunding campaigns, donation pages, silent auctions, matching gifts). In team fundraising, every development professional knows it’s essential to have some sort of donor feed. That way, viewers can see names and pictures of contributors to increase online donations. 

However, so often, the mindset in online fundraising is still to get people to donate to charity. The truth is, people aren’t as motivated to give to our cause as much as they are to the people they respect. People give to people. Friends might donate to our individual or team campaigns for our charity and become interested in the cause as a result. But at the end of the day, they give because of their connection to us. Development professionals must strive to keep that in the forefront of their minds. Individual and team fundraisers are the ultimate MVPs and reason why new donors have and will give to online fundraising campaigns.

The bottom line is, we use social proof theory because it works. Nonprofits can make it work wonders for good through leveraging the power of social relationships in peer fundraising.

Peer Fundraising: Raise a lot of money for a good cause and have fun doing it.

Some of the benefits of team fundraising include:

1. Individual messages of support

The fundraising effort of making a personal “ask” can give your fundraisers a 1 and 4 chance of receiving a donation.

Social Proof Tip: Tell your fundraisers to start by asking people they have the strongest relationships with, those they most respect, and those they feel respected by.

2. Personalized fundraising pages

The difference between a customized fundraising page and a generic fundraising page is the difference between landing a donation or not. Supporters want to know WHY your donors care about your nonprofit enough to try raising money from their network. 

Social Proof Tip: Solve the storytelling problem for your fundraisers. Give them a script to work with and examples from previous successful fundraisers. The Red Cross has a great example of this. This way, you can also control the message of your brand.

3. Friendly competition (optional)

On the one hand, team fundraising builds an important sense of camaraderie that cannot be replaced. On the other hand, it also gamifies the process and creates a friendly sense of competition. There’s bound to be someone on the team who wants to raise more than everyone else, and that can help the nonprofit raise and do more good!

Social Proof Tip: Encourage your fundraisers to compete with their teammates to see who can raise the most money. (Ex. “GUYS. I need your help. Tim has raised the most money on our team so far for charity: water… and you all know how competitive I am! 😂 Help me outdo Tim and raise the most money for clean water!”)

4. One-click social media sharing

With social media sharing, you can amplify your online fundraising campaign and reach more people. Your nonprofit can and should share your online fundraiser with its supporters. Still, it's mostly dependent on fundraisers to reach new donors. Fundraisers do this by creating their own team fundraising pages for your nonprofit’s online campaign and use social media sharing to rally support from friends and family. 

Social Proof Tip: Make sure your fundraisers NEVER share a team fundraising page on social media without making the first donation. This builds momentum for social proof and also communicates the level of commitment the fundraiser has for your cause to their network.

5. Automated one-to-one email marketing

Similar to social media sharing, automated, one-to-one email marketing allows your fundraisers to easily ask and reach their networks. Emailing is important to do in addition to social media sharing because it often allows donors to reach supporters who may have missed the social media post or older demographics that maybe aren’t on social media but have a high giving capacity. 

Social Proof Tip: Have your fundraisers include a quote from your recipients, an award or recognition you've received, or impact statements to their emails. This will increase trust in your charity with your fundraiser’s network.

Want to engage 75% or more of your donors online? Two words: Supporter. Feed.

Supporter feeds are incredibly important to helping your supporters build a sense of community on online giving campaigns. Givebutter has found that on its team fundraising Live Supporter Stream feature, more than 75% of all donors leave a personalized message of support including GIFs, drawings, pictures. Not only are supporter feeds successful in building donor engagement, but they are a FUN fundraising idea! Unfortunately, that’s not a word all fundraisers use to describe raising money. Make it fun for your fundraisers and supporters. The more fun they have, the more excited they will be, and the more excited they will be, the more likely they are to share the fundraiser with their loved ones.

The team fundraising event inspiration you need right now.

Teams will have to be exceptionally creative with online fundraisers during the coronavirus to capture the attention of their networks. Some of these easy fundraising ideas include:

  • Raffles and online charity auctions.
  • Giveaways with local business gift cards.
  • A-thons: walk-a-thons, ride-a-thons, run-a-thons, watch-a-thons, dance-a-thons, etc.
  • Trivia Night.
  • Game Nights: video games, board games, etc.
  • One-day only campaigns.
  • Family-friendly household scavenger hunts and obstacle courses.
  • Talent shows. Couch concerts featuring local artists, anyone?
  • Cook-off with baked goods
  • Holiday season / national holiday themes. I'll give you a head start: April 2nd is National Autism Awareness Day, April 7th is World Health Day, April 22nd is Earth Day, and April 23rd is World Book Day, just to name a few.

Check out these fundraising ideas to help your team fundraisers be more successful.

Start your next online fundraising campaign - for free - on Givebutter 💛

During a time when individuals are practicing social distancing, team fundraising is more important than ever for building donor engagement.

Givebutter is a totally free team fundraising alternative for individual fundraisers, teams, and nonprofits alike with features that can’t be beaten. Givebutter’s team fundraising platform includes:

  • 😍 Beautiful, fully-customizable fundraising pages
  • 🏅 Trackable group progress and secure access to donor data
  • 🎨 Live Supporter Feeds including GIFs, images, videos, and drawings
  • 📣 Share everywhere, effortlessly, with everyone

If you’re anything like me, you’re the kind of person who needs to see things to believe them. Thankfully, you can check all of these Givebutter Team Fundraising features (and more!) in a live demo now!


Ready to raise money for a good cause and have fun doing it?

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Written By

Written by
Rachel Mills
Rachel is a fundraising and marketing consultant for nonprofits whose aspiration since she was 16-years-old is simply this: help others, help others.