How to Bring Your Offline Fundraiser Online
What comes to mind when you think about fundraising ideas for your school, club, or sports team? Car washes? Cookie dough fundraisers? Bake sale ideas?
While these are all popular fundraising ideas that have been used for many years, it doesn’t mean they are the best ways to raise money for your school or group.
See how sports teams have learned how to bring their letter writing fundraising efforts online to raise over $120,000 or how schools have used online fundraising to make their fundraising competitions more fun and creative.
Whether you’re a private school looking for the best ways to raise money for charity at school, or a sports team tired of going door to door selling products people don’t want, this article is designed to help you compare offline and online fundraisers and help you figure out if online fundraising is a good match for you.
1. Teams that have successfully brought their offline fundraisers online
Support Norcal Erg-a-Thon (2014)
Organized by Joel Skaliotis
Norcal Crew is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the development of youth through the sport of rowing. Norcal’s mission is to provide opportunities for instruction, training, and competition in the sport of rowing to middle and high school students on the San Francisco Peninsula.
Redwood City, CA
Save the Street!, WXEL - PBS for the Palm Beaches
Organized by Gary Carlin
WXEL (PBS for the Palm Beaches) is a non profit educational corporation that is committed to providing all that PBS has to offer. It’s core values focus on lifelong learning and the arts. One of WXEL’s most popular shows for children is Sesame Street.
Boynton Beach, FL
Silver Oak fundraising for CCI, Service Dogs
Organized by Mr. Laraway’s Class
We want to raise the most money for CCI.
Santa Rosa, CA
Del Lago Academy - Run for STEAM, Del Lago Academy Foundation
Organized by Liz LaBlond
Del Lago Academy Foundation supports Del Lago Academy, Campus of Applied Science. Opened in August 2013 this school blends project based learning with traditional learning. Our Scholars have smaller class sizes and a core set of teacher (3) for major subjects. Internships with our partners in the community ensure all scholar will have real world experience before they graduate and go on to college.
Send us to Nationals 2014, D1 Shooters Destiny 2018
Organized by Dennis Mullins
The D1 Shooters Youth Basketball Club is a non-profit, charitable organization that has been formed to develop the basketball skills of boys and girls of all ages in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex.
2. Outline of the Different Types of Fundraisers
Here are some of the different kinds of fundraisers and examples of how others brought their fundraisers online.
Product sales - You and your group sell items (candy bars, cookie dough, discount cards, or butter braids to name a few). Some large companies also have programs, like Krispy Kreme fundraising or Yankee Candle fundraising, to help you get started.
David Brinza is a First Robotics Coach for FRC team 980, the Thunderbots. He used Piggybackr to bring his fundraiser online and raised more in one crowdfunding campaign than he did in the past two years selling LED lightbulbs. Check out their fundraiser here.
Providing a Service for Pay - You offer a service to your community and neighbors, whether is it a car wash fundraiser, yard clean up, or Christmas tree pickup after the holidays.
Charles Orgbon brought his fundraiser online on Piggybackr for Greening Forward, a youth-driven nonprofit that is working toward a more sustainable world. He raised 117% of his goal and used the money to plant over 200 trees and fund recycling programs that recycle 60 tons of waste.
He had some fun ideas to raise money, and one of his sponsorship perks was to write a custom song for supporters who gave $250 or more, a fun twist on traditional service fundraising ideas! Check out their fundraiser here.
Jog-a-thon, erg-a-thon, read-a-thon - students do some activity (run, row on an indoor rowing machine, or read, for example) for a certain period of time and collect donations pledged based on how long they do that activity.
Liz Lablond did an incredible job bringing on her students to help out with her online fundraiser and raised over $12,000 (124% of her goal) for a fun run to raise money for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) education and supplies. Check out their fundraiser here.
Donation Letter Writing Campaign - You mail out individual letters to friends, families, and local businesses asking for them to send you checks to support your cause.
Norcal Crew did traditional letter writing campaigns for years, but after hearing about some of our successes, they decided to bring their fundraiser online with Piggybackr. Over two years, they raised over $116,000. In fact, they held a traditional letter writing campaign between two of their Piggybackr fundraisers, and it just was not as successful and took a lot more work. Learn more about their fundraisers here.
Benefit Dinners or Banquets - Hosting events where donors can come and contribute to your cause. For example, having a bake sale or charity dinner fundraiser.
Sarah Tulga is president of the Society of Women in Science, is a professional development club for undergraduate women in the STEM fields at UC Berkeley. She used Piggybackr to effectively raise money for their annual networking dinner to “connect young women from different scientific disciplines with women faculty and professionals for mentorship and guidance.” For donors above a certain level, they got to attend the dinner as a show of appreciation. Check out her fundraiser here.
Restaurant Fundraisers - Restaurants like Applebee’s, Little Caesars, and Subway offer a restaurant fundraising program where they take a portion of the proceeds for each each supporter that dines in with them.
7-year old Irijah worked with his parents to fundraise almost $10,000 to restore a barn that was damaged in a fire. As part of their Piggybackr campaign, they received in-kind donations from other local farms and businesses, and they were able to offer gift certificates as sponsorship perks, like a kind of online bake sale. This was a very creative way to show appreciation, and healthy too! Check out his fundraiser here
3. Why should I consider fundraising online? Why use crowdfunding?
|Benefits of online fundraising (crowdfunding)||Challenges of online fundraising (crowdfunding)|
4. If these online ideas are so great, why do people still hold offline fundraisers?
|Benefits of offline fundraising||Challenges of offline fundraising|
5. You’re not selling anything!
Instead, you can offer some simple and creative fundraising perks for your donors. It’s important to show your appreciation, but you don’t have to break the bank doing it either, We recommend offering small gifts that are low-cost but high emotional impact for your donors, like a shout out on Facebook, an autographed picture, a thank you letter, or a sticker. Just remember, donors will give based on how much you ask, so set your sponsorship levels high to raise more money.
6. Case Study: Successful Online Fundraiser, Norcal Crew
Norcal Crew is a nonprofit rowing organization that provides youth an opportunity to learn, train, and compete in rowing. The team is based in Redwood City and made up of middle and high school students. They train and compete all around the country.
For years, they had run a donation letter campaign to raise money for their annual erg-a-thon, and they had been decently successful. But in 2012, with 130 team members, they decided to move their offline fundraising online. They wanted to raise money for new boats and equipment for their crew team. With just their first year fundraising online, they successfully surpassed their goal of $45,000.
The next year, they decided to try a donation letter campaign again. It was a lot of work, and it didn’t work out as well as it had in the past.
Norcal Crew chose Piggybackr to hold their annual erg-a-thon fundraiser again online. They increased their goal to $60,000 and were successful again, raising more than they raised 2 years ago in just 3 weeks.
7. How to fundraise online (or bring your offline fundraiser online)
Creating a fundraiser online takes a lot less work and time to organize and plan compared to an offline fundraiser. No more ordering candy bars and cookie dough. No more researching bake sale ideas or organizing fundraising dinners. Get started with these four easy steps!
Create an account -
Click here to sign up, and fill in the necessary fields. If you’re under the age of 13, you’ll need a parent to upload a permission slip to use Piggybackr.
Fill out your page -
Upload a personalized picture of yourself or your team. Tell your donors a little bit about your cause and why they should give. Set your sponsorship levels high because donors give based on how much you ask for.
Invite your team -
Your can fundraise by yourself or fundraise as a team. Upload your team member’s emails and send them an invitation to join your fundraiser. The more team members you have, the more donors you’ll reach and the more money you will raise.
Promote your page -
No one is going to know about your cause unless you tell them about it. Upload your contacts and send them an email about your fundraiser. You can use Piggybackr’s built in template or create your own. In addition to emailing, use social media to share your page with friends and followers too.
8. You can do both!
We’ve covered some of the best fundraising ideas that are available today. While we at Piggybackr think there are a lot of advantages to fundraising online, we understand that your organization might not be ready to stop all their other fundraising activities. That’s OK. You can have the best of both worlds!
Have a traditional bake sale or sell candy bars and try an online fundraiser to reach more people. You’ll be able to build community with your neighborhood, and still access the friends and family who live far away. You’ll get the benefits of both types of fundraising and raise more money than if you only did one.