The best ways to fundraise
There are good ways to fundraise, and then there are bad ways to fundraise.
Obviously, any method to raise funds and awareness for a charitable cause is a worthwhile endeavour. But in order to make a real impact, you need to ensure you are fundraising in an innovative and effective way. This will make the difference between raising a couple of hundreds to a couple of thousands if not millions of pounds for your cause.
From our humble beginnings as a social impact startup to becoming an established authority on digital fundraising and contactless giving, we’re made a name for ourselves in helping charities optimise how they fundraise. To date, we have over 750 charities on our books and have raised over 2 million pounds for charities through our award-winning contactless collection devices. So, it’s safe to say that we know more than a thing or two about the best ways to fundraise. Lucky for you, our experienced team has put together their best fundraising tips to help you turn your idea into a huge success. What can we say, we’re nice like that.
Have a strategic goal
New Year’s Resolutions. Personal Goals. KPIs. We’re quite accustomed to working towards targets and for good reason. Clichés aside, setting goals are important because they give us a clear aim to plan and work towards. In fact, one study found that those who wrote down their goals are 33% more successful in achieving them than those who only formulated them in their heads. This is true for your fundraising too.
Whether you are a charity yourselves or a group of individuals looking to raise some money for a good cause, a fundraising goal sets a benchmark to measure your progress against and strategically work towards. This could be a clear monetary goal for the total funds you want to raise, to increase your audience on social media by 20%, or to find 10 potential companies who are interested in forming a charity-corporate partnership. Whatever your target, make sure to write it down along with actionable steps to get you there.
Be clear on your message
It’s all well and good you knowing why you are fundraising and for who, but does your audience? When it comes to effective fundraising campaigns and events, you want your overall message to be clear and consistent across every platform. Whether it’s over email, on social media, on leaflets or in-person, your message should be always the same.
This doesn’t mean that it has to be the same word for word. But the story behind your message and the tone it’s conveyed in should be consistent. This helps your volunteers and employees connect with your message and then pass on your story in a more authentic way to your audience. Us humans may act rather robotically sometimes, but we’re still suckers for anything with an authentic, relatable emotive message. By being clear on your story and message, you are increasing your chance of capturing your audience’s attention and tugging on their heartstrings. Consistent branding and brand storytelling across all channels has been found to increase revenue by 23%. While you may not think of your fundraising or organisation as a ‘brand’, you can still market your fundraising in the same way, providing consumers with an authentic story with which they can form an emotional connection with and ultimately donate to.
Bring your cause to life
While having a consistent message is a fundamental part of successful fundraising, you also need to bring your story to life before your audience’s eyes. Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale, and games such as Red Dead Redemption 2. They all have something in common. They all make the most out of interactive storytelling as a way to create an immersive, spellbinding journey for their audience. By capitalising on the power of stories, they make their viewers feel involved and have an ability to make a change. Merging interactive technology with storytelling is something that is being used in fundraising too, to great effect.
Empathy is an extremely powerful emotion. In fact, it’s why we often feel so emotionally connected to book characters – we live their story through their words, experiencing the world through their own eyes. Empathy is also an extremely useful tool for charities, nonprofits and fundraising projects. By placing your target audience in the shoes of your beneficiaries, you bring them closer to those they could help. AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) technology is helping organisations do just that, bringing donors closer to the causes they support.
Take A Walk Through Dementia. This is a free app developed for Alzheimer’s Research UK which allows you to experience what it is like for someone with the disorder. All you need to do is download the app, then slip your smartphone into a Google Cardboard headset, and you can walk around experiencing the world as someone with dementia. This idea plays on the power of empathy, showing Alzheimer’s target audience the debilitating effects of dementia with their own eyes.
Similarly, an Animal Shelter in Muncie, Indiana took advantage of Pokémon Go by allowing players to walk adoptable dogs while hunting for Pokemon in their local area. The programme resulted in six of the dogs being adopted as well as plenty of free volunteer hours to walk the dogs.
The Hydrous, a nonprofit which aims to create ‘open access oceans’ for everyone to engage and appreciate marine environments, uses VR to gives viewers the experience of deep sea diving. These virtual dives allow viewers to interact with marine life and explore the blue depths of the ocean in their living rooms. Similarly, Paper Triangles and Los Angeles Industry Gallery created an interactive AR experience to show the effect of conservation and consumption on a vibrant coral reef. Using Twitter API, the project tracked real-time tweets, with hashtags such as #recycling reviving the reef, while #susi, #coffee and similar hashtags cluttered the reef with rubbish, displaying on the world around the viewers.
These virtual experiences bring to life causes in front of the eyes of potential donors. A virtual war zone is much more effective at conveying the severe and devastating impact of war than static pictures. This makes it much more likely that your audience will donate because they are virtually experiencing the hardships and difficulties you are addressing themselves.
Take them on a journey
Us humans are natural storytellers. The best storytellers not only make us want to listen, but create a vibrant world before our very eyes. It’s why listening to Stephen Fry read Harry Potter is so enticing. A good narrator evokes our imagination and makes us emotionally connect with the story being told.
As well as natural storytellers, we are also inherently curious (albeit at times nosey). This is true of your target audience and is something to take advantage of. Be your own storytellers by showing your audience the volunteers, staff and beneficiaries behind your fundraising. Take inspiration from photoblog and hugely successful Instagram account Humans of New York and Humans of Greater London and show the real people behind your operations. Why have individual team members decided to join your cause? How did each member of staff or volunteer become involved with the project?
This can extend to using personal stories in spreading your message. For example, the mental health charity Mind approached the highly popular vlogger Zoella to be their first digital ambassador. Zoella had already spoken openly about her experiences of anxiety with her audience, so Mind was able to benefit from connecting with an audience who were already invested and interested in Zoella’s own story with mental health.
Social media is one of the best places to share a personal story in real time with your audience. The old phrase of ‘a photo speaks a thousand words’ is certainly still true, but photos with words can be doubly powerful. When we hear information, we are only likely to remember around 10% of it three days later. When paired with a relevant image, the 65% of the same information is retained three days later. In a world where users are being presented with an enormous amount of content each day, using imagery in your storytelling can help your audience not only take notice but keep you in their minds, helping them to become interested and invested in your cause.
You can also use the instantaneous and fleeting nature of social media to create a sense of urgency amongst your audience to encourage them to donate. A great example of this is how WWF used the photo-sharing app Snapchat to give their younger audience a much deeper emotional connection with their cause. Snaps are fleeting and instant, disappearing in only 10 seconds. WWF capitalised on this with their #LastSelfie campaign, sharing pictures of endangered species who could disappear before the audience’s eyes both on Snapchat and in real life if they didn’t take action.
So you’ve got a clear message, a powerful and authentic story. Now what? Here’s where the fundraising ideas come in. Thing is, everyone has done fundraisers before. They all know the drill. Bake sales, raffles and fun runs have been exhausted as ways to raise money, so why not do something a little different? You could create a fundraising event that invites your target audience to a day of activities which bring them closer to your cause. Or you could bring one of these wacky fundraising ideas to life or invigorate your office fundraising. If you are wanting to fundraise for a school, check out these charity fundraising ideas for schools. By doing something exceptional and unusual, your supporters will be more than happy to donate to support your courage, resilience and wackiness. Being original helps you stand out from other charities and fundraisers and be noticed.
Last but least on our list of fundraising tips is all about embracing tech. This goes beyond using VR and becoming a social media guru. Thing is, you might have come up with the most ingenious fundraising idea out there. Your target audience are engaged, invested and are ready to donate to your cause. But when it comes down to it, there’s one problem. They don’t have any cash.
How often do you pay with cash now when compared with a decade ago? The likelihood is, not very often. Just like in our everyday spending, the nature of fundraising has changed. If you are still relying on traditional methods of donation collection for your fundraising, you are missing out. The majority of donors today are much more capable of donating the modern way as opposed to giving away their spare change. This means that you need the technology to collect donations digitally, whether that’s online or in person using contactless donation boxes & terminals. Thanks to our contactless collection boxes, digital fundraising is easier than ever.
To start collecting cashless charity donations for your cause, get in touch with our team today to find out about renting or purchasing one of our tap to give payment devices.