Four Ways to Build a Community for Online Fundraising

Meredith Janke
Meredith Janke

When it comes to online fundraising, you need to think more about relationships and less about the money.

You don’t need just a list of donors – but an active support base that stands behind your cause or nonprofit.

In order to build this support base for online fundraising, you need to create community among your supporters. This creates strong ties between supporters, in which you’re the linchpin.

Here are four ways to engage your supporters and grow that relationship.

1. Be active online

Using social media and other online platforms is a key way to engage with your supporters. Post on your Facebook page daily. Share stories from your clients and give opportunities for feedback. Ask questions; respond to questions. Interact with people on your blog by replying to comments promptly.

On Twitter, retweet and respond to your followers. Your supporters should know that you are only a few clicks away – that you listen to their concerns and respond right away.

2. Give perks

Use a Facebook group or mailing list to create an exclusive community to get breaking news. Give out merchandise to accompany various giving levels.

Give your donors discount codes and first access to tickets to your high-profile events, like fundraising galas.

Take large donors, or donors with an inspiring story, on tours to see how their contributions are making a difference. Charity: water provides a great example of this.

Rachel’s wish for her ninth birthday was to bring clean water to 15 people. After she died in a tragic car accident, her wish lived on and people donated enough ($1.2 million) to bring water to 60,000 people.

Charity: water took Rachel’s family to Ethiopia to meet the communities that were transformed as a result of her generosity. This experience honored Rachel’s memory, her family, and ended up educating countless more through the story of this journey.

3. Host a special event

Getting to know other donors will strengthen community among your base. You should create opportunities for your supporters to interact. Organize a meet-up for donors in major cities.

Meeting each other will let them know that they are a part of a bigger community, a bigger movement. Make them feel thanked and celebrated. Let them know they are an essential part of your mission.

4. Empower them

Give your donors the tools to become ambassadors of your organization. Empower them by educating them further about your cause, and then giving them everything from templates to Tweet to merchandise to sell or give away.  With the materials to run their own fundraising events – from running a marathon to hosting dinners in their homes – your supporters can further your mission drastically.

Building community among donors will strengthen your support base and lay a strong foundation for your next online fundraising campaign. What are ways your organization has built community? Do you have any ideas to add to the list? Respond in the comments section.

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