Online Tools Can Help Supporters Raise Funds From Their Networks

Excerpts from a May 18, 2014 Chronicle of Philanthropy article

Nonprofits are starting to offer online tools that help supporters make the jump to becoming fundraisers.

Seeing the potential in helping passionate supporters raise money for the cause, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society built a do-it-yourself fundraising platform in late 2012. Recently it added Finish MS, a site that helps people raise money through endurance events, such as marathons.

While it may sound effortless to let others do the grunt work of bringing in new supporters with cash in hand, do-it-yourself fundraising still takes up considerable staff time in the form of training and support.

Staff members who assist in these efforts are part tech support, part reality check, and part cheerleader. They need to be willing to train older people on the technology or step in to help set practical goals for starry-eyed supporters. Many large groups have at least one employee dedicated to these programs and say they plan to have more.

Because peer-to-peer fundraising is so personalized, it’s relatively easy for small groups to get involved.

Last year, do-it-yourself fundraising events produced $4-million, about 2.5 percent of the $165-million the organization raised that year in all special events.

In do-it-yourself fundraising, a nonprofit can take its message to many more people than it can reach on its own, thanks to supporters’ social-media networks.

And in some cases, new donors and fundraisers seek out the charity.

Turning Volunteers Into Fundraisers: Advice From Experts

  • Make sure do-it-yourself fundraising sites and instructional materials are clear and easy to share through social media.
  • Provide prompt and friendly support to people running fundraising efforts for your organization.
  • Acknowledge the volunteers’ hard work. Doing so in a public setting or giving them a small gift can help cement their connection to the organization.

Click here to access the May 18, 2014 Chronicle of Philanthropy article.