5 Minimal-Effort Fundraising Campaigns to Host While You Vacation This Summer

Posted by

Working for a nonprofit is a year-round labor of love, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a break, too. As you hit your summer lull between spring appeals and #GivingTuesday, give yourself a break by preparing a few minimal-effort fundraising campaigns that can keep you connected with your supporters even while you hit the beach. The best part? These are perfect if your supporters are on the beach, too!

1. Virtual Challenge

This type of campaign is made for the go-getter who wants to climb every mountain and row across every sea during their time off. Virtual challenges, in which supporters take on a large goal (like 100 miles walked) over a set period of time, took off in 2020, but they’re perfect for any year because they provide weeks of engagement instead of a one-day event.

Example: The Zurich F.A.S.T. Walk for Cancer has supporters logging all steps throughout the month. Registration is free, but everyone is automatically a fundraiser for the cause, with automated fundraising pages created for each participant.

Why It’s Ideal for Vacation

For you, it’s an easy one to set up in advance. Here are a few details to attend to, ensuring an interactive experience with no daily tasks:

  • Configure your virtual challenge results. Pro tip: We do not recommend requiring approval for challenge results, but you may want to add a maximum tally to prevent some of the most egregious typos.
  • Provide instructions (and then more instructions). Add details about logging miles to your cover page, your confirmation email, the registration follow-up email and every communication in between.
  • Make the journey fun by adding milestones, badges and notifications for your participants to keep them engaged and excited to reach the next goal.

For supporters, this challenge is super flexible — while it’s called the “The Zurich F.A.S.T. Walk for Cancer,” it also has a conversion metric for supporters to get credit for every activity they complete. Every adventure counts!

2. Crowdfunding Campaign

For nonprofits, the No. 1 advantage of using crowdfunding campaigns is that this type of campaign has the potential to reach a wider, more diverse group of people. Its primary purpose is to raise money for a specific initiative (e.g., run/walk for cancer) or as a general way to raise more funds for the nonprofit’s mission. Setting up a crowdfunding campaign is pretty simple to do — all it requires to get started is to create a campaign landing page

Example: Megan’s Wings created this donation website to elevate and bring more awareness to its mission: providing financial assistance to “families who are struggling to pay their house payment, utilities, gas or groceries due to work disruptions caring for their sick child.” The website can easily be accessed and shared to the donor’s network of friends and family members by clicking on the social media images that are placed front and center on the homepage. Then, when someone goes to donate, they are further driven to donate because they know exactly what their donation is going toward (e.g., $100 helps with groceries and $500 helps pay rent). 

Why It’s Ideal for Vacation

Like other fundraising campaigns that are easy to set up, this type of campaign can also be set up in advance. However, it’s more than a set-it-and-forget-it method, hoping it reaps miraculous results. Here are a few things to consider before you head off to vacation: 

  • Have a goal in mind. Assuming this isn’t your nonprofit’s first fundraising initiative, you should know what kind of measurable goal to set for this campaign. We highly recommend using SMART goals. It may take more time and effort, but at least you’ll have a detailed roadmap in place to help you achieve your ultimate fundraising goal. 
  • Create a call-to-action. Explain why people need to donate to your crowdfunding campaign: What is the problem you’re trying to solve? Also remember that people take immediate action when there is urgency involved. Why do people need to donate now and not later? For Megan’s Wings, families, who have a child with cancer, are struggling to make ends meet due to the financial burden, and they need your help today. 
  • Let supporters know about the campaign. Is your plan just to set up the crowdfunding page in hopes people will find it? Almost always, that’s a straight path to failure. Instead, create a communications plan around getting the word out. Share the campaign on your social media channels, and encourage people to support the cause by donating or sharing it to their networks. Then, schedule one to three more posts on each of your social channels for the future as reminders to your supporters. Additionally, don’t just rely on one communication channel. Look at your data, and learn which channels your supporters are using the most. Then, reach out to them on those channels, whether it’s direct mail or online.  

3. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Fundraising is built on supporter engagement. And similar to crowdfunding, peer-to-peer fundraising allows your nonprofit to raise money from a large pool of people through fundraising pages. But here’s the kicker: Peer-to-peer fundraising enables your supporters to not only donate to your campaign, it enables them to create their own fundraisers to connect with and raise even more money from their networks. 

Example: Team Seymour Pink Adventure has set up a free fundraising page, including customizable branding materials from Seymour Pink, that explains how the group of Alaskan adventurers, who also happen to be breast cancer survivors, is supporting Seymour Pink. Now through August 22, 2021, before their trek to Snowbird Glacier, the team is encouraging its community members to donate to the organization, with a goal of reaching $25,000. 

Why It’s Ideal for Vacation

The beauty of peer-to-peer fundraising is that the supporter can customize their own fundraiser. All you have to do is educate them about your organization’s mission and cause, and then provide them with campaign materials. This can include additional information about the mission, data reports that include important impact metrics, ready-to-use messaging templates and eye-catching creatives. 

4. Virtual Class

The summer is prime time for people to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, travel to new places, take on new experiences and unwind. But because they’re away, that doesn’t mean they want to take a break from supporting your organization, a cause they care so deeply about. Offering a virtual class can be an opportunity for your supporters to carve out an hour of their vacation to do something that makes them feel good. Signing up for a virtual class is simple enough — and for the right type of experience, your supporters are giving to a worthy cause and doing something they truly enjoy! 

Example: Ballard Food Bank is offering a virtual cooking class with Hsiao-Ching Chau, author of “Chinese Soul Food” and “Vegetarian Chinese Soul Food.” For supporters, it’s free to attend this one-of-a-kind experience, but Ballard does offer a suggested donation amount. 

Why It’s Ideal for Vacation

One of the best parts of hosting a virtual class during vacation is that you can give your supporters this unique experience by minimizing the day-of work. To ensure that each attendee has a memorable experience, we recommend using ticket caps to limit the number of tickets sold and sharing how many tickets are available. This also puts your fundraising event on the map, putting exclusivity on the event and creating more urgency on event registration. 

5. E-Cards

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to generate fundraising revenue during the slower summer months is by encouraging your supporters to give to your cause through customized e-cards on your donation forms. With e-cards, your supporters can donate to your organization as a gift to loved ones for birthdays, holidays and other special occasions — like Father’s Day coming up on June 20. 

Example: When a donor goes to submit a donation to The Epilepsy Alliance Ohio, they are offered the option to give on behalf of someone else and let the dedicated person know by sending them an e-card. The donor can then customize the e-card with a personalized message and a hand-picked design. 

Why It’s Ideal for Vacation

One of the benefits of e-cards is that it offers supporters a way to give a genuine, thoughtful gift in a unique way — all by setting everything up before going on vacation, so the vacation itself can be hands-free and stress-free. We recommend sending out an email appeal letting supporters know to take advantage of this giving opportunity for Father’s Day or another special occasion. Then, you can schedule the appeal, or appeals, to go out at a specific time and enjoy the sunshine without worry.  

Leave a Reply