10 Ways to Achieve Online Fundraising Without Social Media
Social media has become a popular and effective way to share fundraisers with friends and family—especially when it’s a fundraiser for a personal cause. Even if you use social media every day, you might have some hesitations about sharing a fundraiser on your own social media accounts. You might have privacy concerns, or you may be uncomfortable sharing the fundraiser due to its nature. On the other hand, you might not have any social media accounts at all, and now you’d simply like to know about other ways to raise funds. No matter the reason, we’ve gathered tips to help you do online fundraising without social media.
How to share your fundraiser without social media
1. Meet with people in person
- Talking to people is very effective. The drawback is how much time it can take to speak to people one at a time. Save time by gathering people together at a party or event, or going to where people are—ideally sympathetic and like-minded people. If you find the process of asking for donations awkward, take a look at our helpful blog post on how to ask for donations.
- Are there any foundations, companies, or wealthy individuals that have a history of supporting related causes? Try setting up a meeting with them or their representatives. Some foundations and businesses will have a designated person who handles such requests. Even if their guidelines prevent them from making a donation to your cause, you can ask them to point you toward other people or organizations who might be able to help.
- When you talk to people, tell them why the cause is so important to you, and why your fundraiser will make a difference. If it seems appropriate, have photos and a presentation ready to show your audience.
- Practice your in-person pitch or presentation with a friend or family member first. Repeat it until you feel comfortable and your “audience” is convinced that others will make donations.
- We’re all familiar with the forms of in-person fundraising typically aimed at consumers. People raise funds on street corners, door to door, at grocery stores, at events, and more. If any of those methods seem like a good fit for your fundraiser, consider adding them to your fundraising arsenal. Be sure to follow local regulations that may restrict such activities.
2. Reach out over the phone
- Working the phone can greatly expand the geography you’re able to reach. For starters, it can be a good way to connect with friends and family who aren’t local.
- A call is less personal than meeting in person but usually more personal than an email.
- Calling is also a good way to follow up after you’ve sent emails and texts. A call can be the next step toward an in-person meeting or all you need to secure a donation.
- Some nonprofits rely heavily on telemarketing to raise funds. There’s a “push” approach that involves both cold calls to random households and “warm” calls to past donors. There’s also a “pull” approach in which people are directed by other means (such as TV and radio ads) to call and make a donation.
- Apply the tips for in-person meetings to your phone conversations and other outreach efforts. For example, you’ll need to be able to succinctly explain why your fundraiser will make a difference.
3. Connect with others through email
- The advantage of email is its efficiency and low cost. The disadvantage is how impersonal it is—and therefore, how easy it is for the recipient to dismiss.
- When recipients know it took you no real effort to send out a mass email that reached them, they feel little emotional investment in responding or making a donation.
- Personalize your emails as much as possible. Use a fundraising email template, but customize it to each person in such a way that recipients know you took extra time to speak to them personally.
- Unlike in-person and phone fundraising, email fundraising allows you to very easily track your efforts—keep a master list, track who’s donated and who hasn’t, who’s received the message and who hasn’t, etc. If your fundraiser is an annual or repeating one, this can come in handy and make each successive fundraiser more effective.
4. Share your fundraiser via text
- Even though it’s technically possible to send group texts, avoid it. All it takes is one unfavorable reply thread to make everyone leave a conversation.
- Send each text message individually to each person, as a one-on-one conversation.
- As with email, use a template for your essential message, but shape it to each individual. It should be clear to recipients that you’re reaching out to them personally.
- Text people only during the hours you would call someone.
- Offer different ways they can support you, like sharing your fundraiser over social networks, donating, or both.
5. Promote your fundraiser at events
- Events come in all sizes, from small local gatherings and weekly farmers’ markets to annual events with tens of thousands of attendees. The question is: Which events offer you the best fundraising opportunities?
- It’s hard to beat the effectiveness of meeting people in person. Events give you an opportunity to do that efficiently.
- Another huge advantage of events is the opportunity for exposure of all kinds. The media might be there, which could help your cause score valuable publicity. Are you prepared to give a newsworthy interview with succinct answers full of soundbites? Practice with friends and family before the event.
- Each person in attendance could photograph or share your fundraiser—if you give them something fun and shareable. It could be as simple as a fun activity at your table.
- To encourage the spread of your fundraiser, share your fundraiser URL in your materials.
6. Post your fundraiser on bulletin boards
- Old-fashioned bulletin boards (found in cafés, community centers, and other local establishments) can be surprisingly effective—especially if your cause is hyper-local.
- Create a poster with all the key information a potential donor would need to be inspired, take action, and donate.
- If there’s one thing the Internet is great at, it’s bringing together niche communities, which often have their own virtual bulletin boards. Search for communities that might welcome your fundraiser. Post a link to your fundraising page on the board, or in a comment in a discussion thread. This is a key tactic for online fundraising without social media.
7. Contact supporters through direct mail
- Direct mail is effective for fundraisers reaching out to past supporters, particularly with annual donation drives around the holidays.
- It’s possible to do a small, DIY direct-mail fundraiser. Look at the email recommendations above, and incorporate the relevant tips into your direct-mail plan.
- Start by mailing those closest to you, and expanding your circle from there.
- Direct mail is more expensive and less efficient than email, but it can also feel more personal.
- Think about sending a custom postcard using a key image from your fundraiser, perhaps one where you’re in the picture.
- On your postcard or in your letter, give donors the link to your GoFundMe fundraiser, or your mailing address for sending checks.
- See our blog post on how to write a fundraising letter for detailed tips.
8. Inform your community with print ads
- Does your neighborhood or town have a local, independent print publication? Call or meet with the publishers. Tell them about your cause and ask if they could possibly donate ad space. They’ll likely be especially open to this idea if your cause benefits the community—for example, with disaster recovery or community improvement projects.
- Another option: If your cause is newsworthy, see if the publication will write an article about it. Take a look at the news article tips below.
9. Notify others in a news article
- Local media loves human interest stories. Pitch your story to a local publication, and they might feature an article that directs people to your fundraising page. Make a list of local publications, both online and off, and begin reaching out to them.
- See our post on tips for local media coverage for more details.
10. Raise awareness using flyers
- Flyers can be posted on bulletin boards (see the bulletin board suggestions above).
- A PDF or other image file of the flyer can also be shared electronically or as an attachment to your emails or texts. Just make sure the design still works (is readable, etc.) on a phone as well as it does in print.
- Consider adding a QR code to your flyer that people can easily scan to be taken directly to your fundraising page.
- Approach local businesses to see if they would be willing to leave flyers at the counter or allow you to place them in their windows. Cafés often have areas where flyers can be stacked and made available to customers.
Execute online fundraising without social media
All of these fundraising methods and techniques can be effective with or without social media. Through a variety of ways, you can still take advantage of social media’s virality without using social media yourself. If you haven’t already, start your fundraiser. GoFundMe offers a wide range of resources and tips for successful crowdfunding. By using our resources in combination with these ways to share your GoFundMe offline, you’ll be able to raise the funds you need to reach your fundraising goals.