Tips for Effective Online Fundraising Without Social Media

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| 8 min read Fundraiser Promotion

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

  • Instead of meeting with people one by one, save time by gathering people together at a party or event or going to where people are. 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. 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.
  • 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. Ask your friends and family to share with their networks

  • This is an easy and efficient way to increase awareness of your fundraiser especially if you don’t have social media yourself. 
  • Contact a few friends or family members who use social media and ask if they could share your fundraiser with their online networks.  
  • Be sure to share your fundraiser link with them so they can include it in their posts.

3. Reach out over the phone

  • Working the phone can greatly expand the geography you’re able to reach. 
  • 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.

4. 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.
  • 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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 that 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.

8. 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.

9. Raise awareness using flyers or other creative materials

  • Flyers: Post flyers on bulletin boards. 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.
  • Create a PDF: 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.

10. Create a QR code for your fundraiser

  • Consider adding a QR code to your flyer that people can easily scan to be taken directly to your fundraising page. You can also attach your fundraiser’s QR code to your emails or letters.
  • Read our Help Center article on sharing your fundraiser outside of social media for steps on how to create a QR code.

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. GoFundMe offers a wide range of resources and tips for successful crowdfunding. Check out our fundraising ideas for social media for even more inspiration. 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.

Written by Brittany Chambers

I believe we all have the power to make a difference. Through informative and heartfelt content, I hope to create change and inspire others to give back to those who need it most.