Your association may host fundraising events and campaigns to support your internal operations or generate donations for a nonprofit cause. These initiatives might be crowdfunding campaigns, community events, clothing drives, or other fundraisers. No matter the fundraising campaign type, you’ll need your members’ support to succeed.
Busy schedules or lack of fundraising experience can present challenges in getting association members engaged in fundraising.
In this guide, we’ll review five impactful tips for empowering association members to get involved in your organization’s fundraising initiatives:
- Allow association members to have a say in fundraising.
- Start a peer-to-peer campaign.
- Try a text fundraiser.
- Incorporate fundraising into your association events.
- Spotlight corporate giving opportunities.
According to Fonteva’s member engagement guide, building community is one of the most effective ways to boost member satisfaction. Fundraising initiatives and events can bring members together to work toward a common goal.
1. Allow association members to have a say in fundraising.
Involving members in the fundraising planning process gives them context for why you’re raising money and a greater stake in the fundraiser’s success.
Plus, when you plan fundraising events with members’ interests in mind, they’ll be much more likely to participate and help drive your campaign’s success.
Here are a few ways to get members more involved in the planning process:
- Allow them to help choose your nonprofit partners. If your association is raising money on behalf of a nonprofit, ask association members to help choose which organizations to support. Hold a vote at your next meeting or include a poll in an upcoming email newsletter. This approach ensures that you choose a cause members are passionate about.
- Ask what types of campaigns or events they’d be interested in. Highlight and explain a number of fundraising events and campaign types, from silent auctions and 5Ks to community trivia nights. Gather members’ input about which campaign types and events appeal to them the most.
- Request their feedback after your campaigns or events wrap up. Send an email survey after your initiative concludes to ask for members’ input on everything from your event registration process to your online donation page design. Consolidate their comments and use them to adjust your strategies and improve future campaigns.
To give members a larger role in the fundraising process, you can even recruit members to serve on your fundraising committee or take on other leadership or volunteer roles throughout your campaigns.
2. Start a peer-to-peer campaign.
Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns put members in the driver’s seat, allowing them to create their own donation pages and collect contributions from family members and friends. These types of fundraisers can be much more engaging because participants set personal fundraising goals and even partake in friendly competitions to see who can raise the most money.
Here are a few fundraising ideas to launch your peer-to-peer campaign:
- 5K race. To raise money with a 5K event, require that participants fundraise a certain amount or pay an entry fee. Boost attendance by giving your 5K a fun theme, such as “Turkey Trot” or “Jingle Jog.”
- Walk-a-thon. During a walk-a-thon, participants collect pledges ahead of time and then earn donations corresponding to the specific distance they walk (typically measured in miles or kilometers). Make your walk-a-thon event more engaging by offering additional event attractions like live music and food trucks.
- Social media campaign. Facebook is an excellent platform to host a social peer-to-peer fundraiser. Participants can create fundraisers using Facebook’s built-in tools or use the platform to share the donation pages they created using your organization’s fundraising platform.
- Merchandise campaign. Design visually-appealing merchandise, such as a t-shirt or mug with your association’s name and logo. Participants can spread the word about your fundraiser to their networks by sharing personalized merchandise fundraising pages.
Encourage participants throughout the campaign by sharing or commenting on their social media posts and reminding them how far you have to go to reach your overall fundraising goal. When your campaign wraps up, thank all participants and donors with personalized emails and offer prizes to your top participants to recognize their efforts.
3. Try a text fundraiser.
A text fundraiser can be a quick and easy way for members to show their support.
In a text fundraiser or text-to-give campaign, your organization will set up a unique phone number and keyword through a text fundraising platform. Members will text the keyword to the designated phone number and automatically be sent a link to your online donation form.
If you already have members’ phone numbers stored in your association’s directory, you can also proactively reach out with reminders to members who haven’t yet donated.
To boost your text fundraising success, ensure your online donation form is mobile-friendly. Keep the form’s design simple, ensure text and buttons are large enough to be read on mobile screens, and only ask necessary questions to make the page easy to fill out.
4. Incorporate fundraising into your association events.
Another easy way to encourage fundraising among members is to incorporate it into your ongoing association activities. For example, include a donation box at your next association meeting to support a local animal rescue. Or, host a ticketed networking event and have the proceeds go toward your association’s annual retreat fees.
Use your membership software to communicate with members about upcoming fundraising initiatives and remind them to be ready to donate if they feel motivated to do so.
5. Spotlight corporate giving opportunities.
Your association’s members might work for companies that offer corporate philanthropy programs. If your fundraising efforts are focused on supporting nonprofits, members can give your initiatives a boost by leveraging corporate philanthropy.
Here are a few corporate philanthropy initiatives that your members may be eligible for:
- Matching gifts. According to Double the Donation, “corporate matching gifts are a type of philanthropy in which companies financially match donations that their employees make to nonprofit organizations.” Most companies match at a 1:1 ratio, but some may match at a 2:1, 3:1, or even 4:1 ratio. With matching gifts, your members can maximize the impact of their individual contributions.
- Volunteer grants. Volunteer grants (or Dollars for Doers grants) are donations that companies make to nonprofit organizations after their employees have volunteered with those organizations for a specified amount of time. If your association has engaged in any volunteer work, members can translate those experiences into meaningful contributions that provide even more support to your nonprofit partners.
- Event sponsorships. Some of your members may be high-level business owners or leaders with corporate philanthropy decision-making power. Reach out to these individuals to see if they would be interested in sponsoring your fundraising events in exchange for free advertising for their businesses.
Corporate philanthropy opportunities are appealing because they can increase fundraising impact but don’t require members to reach back into their wallets. Plus, your association may be able to form long-term corporate partnerships through event sponsorships, providing ongoing mutual benefits for both the companies and your organization.
With these strategies, you can make fundraising a natural component of your association’s activities and provide greater support for local nonprofits or your internal operations. Allow members to take on their preferred fundraising roles, whether that’s serving in fundraising leadership roles or supporting your causes through text donations.