Digital Fundraising in the Coronavirus Era: How to Help Your Community Without Ever Leaving the House

The most successful teams tend to be especially skilled at finding positives in the negative, and drawing hope from hardship. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic creating a new world known as quarantine life, and shining a gloomy spotlight on the greatest needs in our society, there is ample opportunity for individuals and groups to rise to the challenge — and leverage our at-home digital capabilities to raise funds for the causes that matter most. 

In this Coronavirus-era guide, we’ll demonstrate how you can use the best digital fundraising techniques to help your community without ever leaving the house.

 

person using google search on a laptop from home

Step 1: Research Successful Fundraising Efforts

With so many philanthropic organizations, brands and people out there, there’s no reason you should have to start from scratch. Plus, one of the best ways to get your team, club, company or nonprofit inspired is to show them what others are doing and how their actions have positively impacted those in need

 

A simple Google search of “how brands, groups, communities are fundraising for Coronavirus pandemic” will produce results on “85 brands giving back,” nonprofits “helping people get food and medical help,” and what you “need to know” about COVID-19 and your 2020 fundraising goals.

Some, as hubbub has pointed out, have pushed the bounds of creativity. BBC Children in Need, for instance, has leveraged Instagram to great effect, as has Pencils for Promise.

You can also host a fundraising telethon, auction, raffle, concert or run online. (Celebrities from DJ DNice to Drake have amassed hundreds of thousands of live viewers for Instagram Live events since the release of social distancing guidelines.)

Social Tees Animal Rescue used the online crowdsourcing site and Facebook app FundRazr for its digital fundraising campaign — and surpassed its fundraising goal in less than a month.

 

young woman with long curly blond hair with glasses sitting on the floor working on her her laptop

Step 2: Select Your Cause

Once you’re geared up to give back, your next step is determining which cause you want to support. 

To help in the Coronavirus relief effort, you can appeal to your community’s desire to support their neighbors by identifying a local charity that is organizing on behalf of your area’s most vulnerable populations. 

Or, you can choose a nonprofit that is assisting on the state or national level, such as Feeding America, Save the Children, or the United States Fund for UNICEF; CharityWatch compiled and is regularly updating a list of “highly efficient and accountable charities involved in efforts to provide emergency assistance and aid” for COVID-19.

 

behind the shoulder shot of a brown-haired woman opening up a cardboard box with a read shirt inside

Step 3: Unlock Your Digital Fundraising Potential

Now that you’ve identified your charitable recipient, your next step is maximizing the potential of your digital fundraising campaign.

Thank Your Donors with a Custom Product

One way to improve the likelihood of meeting or surpassing your fundraising goal is to offer donors a gift in return. 

By using custom products, you can fundraise more than double what it costs to produce your giveaway, and low minimums mean you can scale your fundraising campaign to your audience.

Not only that, every person who contributes to your cause and earns a free gift becomes a walking, talking advertisement for you!

 

Fine Tune Your Fundraising Process with Diehard’s Digital Fundraising Toolkit

To guide you from start to finish — including strategizing and kickstarting your operation, as well as mapping out your steps and tracking your progress — we developed a Digital Fundraising Toolkit with the following resources:

  • Fundraising Checklist
  • Design Templates
  • Order Form Sheet
  • Cost Calculator
  • Fundraising Goal Visualizer

Download the Diehard Custom digital fundraising toolkit

To get your free copy of the Diehard Fundraising Toolkit, complete our short form.

Step 4: Amplify Your Cause — and Increase Contributions

Word of mouth still works. So does email marketing. But there’s nothing more effective today than social media in spreading an important message, and there’s nothing more important than fundraising for a life-saving cause during a global pandemic. 

In addition to calling your clients, fans, friends and family, sending out an email (or two) to your subscriber list and adding a donate button or popup to your website, we highly recommend developing a social media strategy that you and your team can implement on behalf of your digital fundraising campaign. 

Social media has the capacity to exponentially amplify your message through real-time engagement and sharing. 

 

persons hand holding a mobile phone with social networks folder open that shows facebook, instagram, twitter and pinterest

Twitter

On Twitter, one of the most effective tools for magnifying a message is to leverage a trending hashtag or topic. 

Before tweeting a request for contributions and a link to your fundraising campaign, review the United States (or Worldwide) Trends, and incorporate one or two hashtags that directly relate to your cause. 

You can also upload a photo or other image to your tweet and tag up to 10 accounts that may have interest in what you’re doing. Find users with a large, active following, but not so many followers or account activity that they may miss your tweet. 

 

Facebook

On Facebook, there are four primary methods by which you can share and boost your digital fundraising campaign:

  1. Create a standard post with a link to your fundraising webpage or upload an image, video or slideshow with your fundraising page link in the description. 
  2. Create an event for your fundraiser, which allows you to directly invite your Facebook contacts; of course, if you’ve scheduled a virtual event to promote your campaign, this should be the focus of your Facebook event, with a donate link as a secondary call to action. 
  3. Create a Facebook Fundraiser, so Facebook users can directly donate to your cause through the social media app; to create a fundraiser on Facebook, follow these steps:
    1. Click Fundraisers in the left menu of your News Feed
    2. Click Raise Money
    3. Select Nonprofit or Charity
    4. Select the charitable organization for which you’re fundraising, upload a cover photo, and complete the fundraiser details
    5. Click Create 
  4. If you’re a nonprofit organization and have not done so already, sign up for Facebook Social Good’s Charitable Giving Tools; with “a verified and reviewed Facebook Page that is categorized as either ‘Nonprofit Organization’ or ‘Charity Organization,’” you can raise funds directly from Facebook — with a proven-effective donate button at the top of your page.

 

Young bearded male video blogger creates video content for his channel. Happy guy shoots video streaming for users while sitting in coffee shop. Man vlogger relieves himself on camera with tripod.

Instagram

Like Twitter, one way to increase the reach of your message on Instagram is to leverage hashtags; however, instead of targeting trending hashtags on Instagram, the most effective method is to use a combination of long and short hashtags with a certain degree of popularity. 

To determine a hashtag’s popularity, start typing in the post caption or first comment below your post to reveal the number of times the hashtag has been used. With the most popular hashtags, you have the greatest opportunity to go viral, but also the strongest likelihood of getting lost in the volume, so the best approach is typically to combine applicable hashtags with varying levels of popularity. 

On Instagram there’s a max of 30 hashtags, but the most successful posts tend not to use more than 10 that are directly relevant to your post.

Two other methods for amplifying your cause on Instagram are:

  1. Instagram Stories. More than 500-million accounts use Instagram Stories to share content and engage with their audience — and since Instagram Stories appear in a bar at the top of your feed, and accounts with new Stories are highlighted with a colorful ring around them, they are particularly effective at grabbing user attention. Plus, add-ons like stickers, quizzes, polls and countdowns facilitate audience engagement and one-on-one relationships with users. As Buffer notes, Instagram Stories represent an “incredibly engaging and great place” to “showcase products.” 
  2. Instagram Live. Especially since we’ve started self-quarantining, Instagram Live has proven a remarkably valuable tool for capturing a wide audience. People are searching for ways to connect with others outside their homes, and on Instagram Live you can host a fundraising telethon, auction, raffle or concert to expand awareness and even collect donations. To promote your live event before it starts, use your other digital and social media marketing tools, including the countdown feature on Instagram Stories.

Kick Off Your COVID-19 Charitable Campaign Today

To start fundraising for your cause, peruse our custom products for the headwear, pins, scarves or socks that will most effectively help you spread awareness. Then…