How to Run a Successful Fundraiser Online

Written by Nicole Witt on June 21, 2012

Posted in Form Hacks

Neighborhood Candy Sales Were Tough
Think back to your elementary school years. Chances are, whether it was a class competition at school, a little league fundraiser, or selling girl scout cookies, you likely were involved in raising money in some way, shape, or form. There was always the standout who sold 20 more boxes of candy than the next highest contender, but for most, the experience of fundraising could be somewhat of a struggle that may have ended with your parents’ buying the minimum amount of stuff you had to sell. And then there were 12 boxes of Carmello candy bars in your house. Darn.

You’re An Adult – Raising Money is Still Hard
Fast forward to adulthood. If you work in development for a nonprofit, help support a charitable cause, are running a little league, etc., you know that some level of fundraising is necessary in order to sustain your efforts. You might not be selling boxes of candy anymore (although maybe you should, people love candy…), but you need to solicit donor support to continue doing the great work you’re doing.

And just like when you were a kid, raising money is still tough. That being said, whether you’re fundraising for a large, national nonprofit or the local charity walk you’re organizing for a friend in need, you need to find a way to be as efficient, organized, and effective as possible to bring in those dollars.

Make It Easy For People to Give
Do yourself a favor. Make it EASY for people to give you money. Are you requiring donors to drop off payments in person? Have they been sending in paper donation forms and paying by check? Depending on your organization, you may have requirements for the processes needed to collect donations. That’s understandable. But consider what you can do to eliminate unnecessary steps and/or add additional methods for people to quickly and painlessly give you money.

Create Online Donation Forms
Build a donation form with Formstack, integrate your form with one of our payment integrations, and begin collecting donations online in minutes. The form is easy to create and share with your donors. You can embed the form on your website, share a link to the form in an email, or if you’re already using Constant Contact for email marketing, you can use our in-product integration to build your donation form without leaving your Constant Contact email editor and embed a donate button directly into your email to donors.

Spread the Word
People are more likely to make donations when they see others are doing it, too. (This is a highly accurate statistic that is backed by tons of research. Well, maybe that’s a stretch…but it’s still true!). Use our Twitter integration to post to your social networks when someone has made a donation. You can also use Formstack’s social share buttons to allow donors to share a link to your donation form with their Twitter followers, Facebook friends, and LinkedIn connections.

Follow-up and Thank Your Donors
With donor information saved in your Formstack account, you have the data you need to follow-up and thank your donors. Whether you choose to send a customized confirmation email after they’ve submitted their donation or use one of our email marketing integrations, you have options that make it simple to say thank you. If you really want to get fancy and make people’s day, you can export their snail mail address and create a label to mail them a handwritten thank you note in addition to an email follow-up. The point is, thank these people. And hang on to their information so that you can contact them again next year, remind them of their generosity, and encourage them to donate again.

Have you been successful using Formstack for fundraising? Do you have a story that you’d like us to share? Let us know in the comments below!