5 Fresh Ideas for Your First Fundraising Effort of the Year

The new year provides an excellent opportunity for your organization to reevaluate your fundraising strategies: what worked, what didn’t, and what areas you should explore next. Whether you’re about to host your first fundraising event of the year or are working to strengthen connections with your donors, updating your strategies can reinvigorate both your team and your supporters.

One goal that your organization has almost certainly carried over into the new year is that of building stronger relationships with your donors. The best fundraising strategies are those that not only make giving convenient for them but also get them more involved in your work, which creates more lasting connections with your organization. We’ll examine how you can accomplish both halves of this goal by showing you how to:

  1. Provide text-to-give service for convenient giving.
  2. Encourage online giving with an easy-to-use donation page.
  3. Reach your fundraising goals through a crowdfunding campaign.
  4. Reward supporters with branded merchandise.
  5. Incorporate donor preferences into your fundraising strategy.

Motivating your donors begins with making the giving process as easy as possible for them. Start the new year off right by implementing text-to-give service, one of the most convenient methods of donation available, or refreshing your text giving strategy.

1. Provide text-to-give service for convenient giving.

Want to encourage your donors to give at any time, from wherever they are? Implement text-to-give service to provide supporters with the opportunity to donate in seconds from their smartphones. You can motivate donors to support your organization via text giving on your social media profiles, on your website, and at community events.

When you’re ready to get started with text giving, the first step is to select a text-to-give software provider. This is how your organization receives the designated number that you’ll share with your supporters. Once you’re all set up, the process works as follows:

Step 1: Your text-to-give software provider assigns your organization a number to share with your supporters. Share the number with your donors in person and online over social media, your website, and your email list. Using Instagram as part of your social media strategy? Share a picture of a sample text that shows your designated number and illustrates the text-to-give process for your followers.

Step 2: Your supporters text their desired donation amount to your organization’s number. In return, they’ll receive a link to an automated email that confirms their gift.

Step 3: Your supporters send the email, confirming their gift! Two-tap technology allows them to complete their donations without re-entering their payment and personal information after their initial donations. By saving their information, they’ll be able to complete all subsequent donations just by sending the email.

Visit Snowball Fundraising for more information on text giving and how it can benefit your fundraising efforts. This simple giving method, which your supporters can take advantage of on the go, is a great way to boost donations at the start of your fundraising year.

Text-to-give is almost certainly the most convenient donation method you can offer your supporters, but it’s not the only way that you can facilitate online and mobile fundraising this year. Whether your donors are giving from their smartphones or their computer, make it easy for them to use your online donation page.

2. Encourage online giving with an easy-to-use donation page.

Online giving has become one of the most popular donation methods, so it’s essential that your organization has a donation page that your supporters find appealing and easy to use. The new year is a great time to reevaluate your online giving strategy and create or refresh your donation page!

After your organization selects the right online donation tools for your needs, you’ll need to create or modify your donation page to attract supporters and express your organization’s values. Keep the following tips in mind as you craft the perfect online giving page:

  • Keep it simple. Donors like to give online because the process is fast and easy. Limit the number of required fields for which they have to provide information, and give them the option to create an account by saving their payment and personal information in place of creating a username and password.
  • Make it shareable. Engaging with your supporters on social media boosts donor retention by fostering a sense of personal engagement with your organization. Ideally, your donation page should never be more than a click away from any of your social media profiles. You can also share links to the page in posts or embed a donation form on some social media platforms.
  • Remember that consistent branding builds trust. The central guideline for designing your online donation form is that it should look like the rest of your website. This means incorporating your organization’s familiar color scheme and logo throughout the form so that your supporters feel safe making their contributions using the form.

An updated online donation page can transform your organization’s fundraising efforts going into the new year, especially when you share it with your social media followers. Noticing that online support for your organization is increasing and your social media presence is gaining a following? Consider incorporating a crowdfunding campaign into your next fundraising push.

3. Reach your fundraising goals through a crowdfunding campaign.

If your organization is planning your first community event of the year or raising money for your next large project, consider implementing a crowdfunding campaign in order to reach your goals. Crowdfunding campaigns work especially well for nonprofits with strong social media followings.

In a crowdfunding campaign, your nonprofit defines a fundraising goal, typically setting a date by which it has to be reached, and encourages your online supporters to contribute to your crowdfunding page and share it with their own networks of social media friends and followers.

Crowdfunding campaigns are a great way to create excitement leading up to an event or better inform your supporters of the good work your organization does. Want to ensure that your crowdfunding effort succeeds? Don’t forget to:

  • Tell a compelling story. Storytelling is central to several areas of nonprofit success, from your website design to your social media presence. It’s especially important on your crowdfunding page because you are directing the donations to a specific goal. As the campaign progresses, update the page with pictures or videos illustrating your work (or the work that needs to be done!) to motivate donors.
  • Work toward a clear goal. Are you using your crowdfunding campaign to build excitement and increase donations leading up to a fundraising event? Perhaps you’re using it to solve a problem in your community? Whatever your goal is, ensure that it’s clearly defined so that supporters know where their donations are going.
  • Acknowledge your supporters. Social media-based strategies like crowdfunding provide the perfect opportunity to recognize your donors for ensuring that your organization’s good work continues. Thank your supporters by acknowledging them on your social media profiles or offering them rewards for contributing.

Crowdfunding campaigns work best when you begin with a core of dedicated online supporters who share the campaign with their wider networks. Check out Crowd101’s guide to crowdfunding marketing strategy to get started creating a campaign that your supporters will be eager to support and share.

Looking for ways to thank your donors who contribute to your crowdfunding campaign, your online donation page, or via text-to-give? In addition to recognizing your donors on social media, rewarding them with branded merchandise can make them happy and spread the word about your organization!

4. Reward supporters with branded merchandise.

Your donors give because they value the work your organization does and want to ensure that you are able to continue. Donating also makes them feel good because they know that they are making a positive difference whenever they give. You can provide them with an additional, tangible reward in the form of quality branded merchandise.

Not only is selling merchandise branded to your organization an effective fundraising idea in its own right, but it’s also a great way to thank your donors! They’ll feel connected to your organization each time they wear or use the merchandise, which will remind them of your organization’s work and the importance of supporting you again in the future!

Deciding on the right products to offer? You can’t go wrong with t-shirts, the most popular physical donation incentive. T-shirts are fun for your donors to receive and they can be effective conversation starters regarding your organization and its work. To encourage giving and create a wider audience for your brand, ensure that you create an eye-catching design for your shirts or other merchandise.

T-shirts and other branded merchandise work well as incentives for giving because they address your donors’ interests and preferences. As you plan your first fundraising push of the year, look back to your past efforts to determine what donors liked and what they didn’t respond to as well. You’ll find the most success with fundraising strategies that appeal to your donors’ interests.

5. Incorporate donor preferences into your fundraising strategy.

Strong relationships with donors are founded on understanding. Your donors need to understand why your organization’s work matters and why their contributions are essential to its continuation. In turn, your organization needs to understand your donors’ reasons for supporting you and appeal to those reasons in your fundraising efforts this year.

This is where your donor database becomes your most valuable resource. Donor analytics can provide immediate and actionable insights on your donors’ history of engagement with your organization, their activities with other nonprofits that share aspects of your mission, and their commitment to philanthropy. Ensure that you study your donor data before you:

  • Ask your donors for additional support. Consult your donor data to ensure that you understand why a given donor supports your organization. Potential reasons could range from a history of volunteering with your organization to a demonstrated record of support for your central cause. Past giving history can also help you determine the appropriate size gift to solicit later on.
  • Plan an event. Would your donors be more inclined to attend a family-friendly event on a weekend or an evening gala or party? Demographic information on your donors, in addition to evaluations of your past events and considerations of your organization’s needs, can help you make the right decision.
  • Reach out to donors online. It’s likely that different groups of your donors will respond better to different communication methods. For instance, you should know who among your donors have engaged actively with your organization on social media, who prefer email communications, and who are less inclined to give online.

When your organization develops your fundraising strategy around the interests, needs, and demonstrated preferences of your donors, you’ll create the individual connections they seek, and you’ll encourage them to form more lasting partnerships with you. A fundraising effort that appeals to your donors as individuals and makes donating convenient will help you succeed throughout the new year.


Refresh your fundraising efforts for the year ahead by focusing on your donors’ interests and preferences to form lasting relationships. These kinds of relationships are the key to continued support for your organization. When you provide your donors with several giving options they’ll love, you’re sure to succeed!


John Killoran

John Killoran is CEO of Snowball, an exciting new fundraising technology that makes it easy for people to donate in two clicks from text, email, web and social media sites. John pioneered SMTP payments and has been a major innovator in the mobile payments space for the past 5 years.     When he is not running a company, he is cooking food for his family and telling his dogs to stop barking.

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