Turning Offline Events into Powerful Online Donation Engines

If you are like many nonprofits, you sponsor one or more offline events a year. Popular events, such as Race for the Cure or the Live Strong Challenge, are great ways to raise money and awareness for your organization.

But the real power of these offline events is in the way they can amplify and personalize your cause to the broader community. Savvy nonprofits know that there is no greater motivation to give than when asked personally. Because of this, they put the tools in place to guarantee this personal ask.


Make it personal

Personal fundraising websites put the power of “the ask” into the hands of your participants. Provide templates to help them tell their friends and community why they are participating. Connections are made through stories that touch the hearts of friends and potential donors. When hearts are touched, wallets will open.


Demonstrate community

Help your participants demonstrate community by providing a way to show rising participation. Online “thermometers” clearly show progress toward a stated goal. The motivation to give is rooted in a desire to find meaning through community; provide that community spirit by showing progress toward a unified goal.


Provide email templates

Help your participants relay your organization’s mission and vision by providing email templates. Your mission, married to your participants’ personal stories, can create a very powerful ask. And because these emails will be going to family and friends, you will extend the organizational reach far beyond your traditional list. Remember to include the important “send to a friend” button.

Tap into social networks

Remember that in the end donations are social transactions. Help your participants tap into their social networks. Provide a hash tag for tweets; create a fan page on FaceBook, or blog about your event. Engage your participants to participate in these conversations. They will participate because they are emotionally invested in your organization. Your participants are your greatest evangelists; they want to share their passion with their family and their friends. It is your job to empower them.


Eliminate roadblocks

With new, sophisticated tools, online giving should be easy and rewarding. Your organization can and should expect to raise as much money in online campaigns as it does in offline participation. Providing the tools for your participants to emotionally tap into their networks is the first step. Providing an easy path to online giving is the next. Eliminate the roadblocks, provide the right tools, and watch your donations climb.


Remember to say “Thank You”

Provide a way for your participants to say thank you. Whether it’s by email or by tweet, recognition is always appreciated. And, as the organizer, don’t forget to thank your participants for a job well done. Remind them what they accomplished and help them set a goal for next year. Remember it’s never too soon to start planning!