Nov 17, 2023

Top 10 Creative Ideas and Trends to Maximize Donations in 2024


Nonprofit organizations frequently use fundraisers to meet their missions, pay for overhead costs, and improve their overall structure. Different fundraiser types allow community members to get involved and donate money to worthwhile causes.

It’s important for nonprofits to stay updated on current fundraising trends. More popular ideas might attract more participants or increase engagement levels. The fundraising trends in 2024 expect an increase in technology use, from online auctions to increased text messaging. Using these trends and other creative ideas can boost your fundraiser’s success.

Here are our top 10 fundraising ideas to help you meet expected fundraising trends in 2024.

1. Mobile Bidding

Auctions are exciting ways to increase engagement and earn funds. Online auctions streamline many aspects of the process, allowing participants to access the bidding on their mobile devices or at-home computers. The increased accessibility and seamless bidding procedures can encourage participation and even boost overall earnings.

Many nonprofit organizations use online auction software to set up and manage their online auctions. These solutions provide a centralized dashboard for all bidding and item details, making it easy for staff and bidders to view updates. 

Mobile bidding provides fundraising benefits like:

  • Quick checkout features: Mobile bidding creates a streamlined checkout process, letting participants bid and pay for their products more quickly. They can view available items and place orders in an intuitive, easy-to-use interface. The easier it is to find and bid for items, the more likely they will engage with the auction. 
  • Interactive displays: Many auction software solutions are customizable — you can tailor the site to add your branding, specific product listings, fundraising goals, and other insights. Features like a progress thermometer display your goal progress, updating in real-time as more people donate. These interactive features encourage participation by keeping the process exciting.
  • Enhanced management: Mobile bidding also makes it easier for your nonprofit team to manage the auction. Online product organization and monitoring allow team members to keep track of goal progress and item availability. The platform also simplifies participant communication so volunteers or employees can respond to questions more effectively.

2. Revenue Diversification

Another creative way to enhance your fundraisers is by expanding your funding sources and adding new payment methods for participants. The more opportunities you provide to donate, the more people you can convince to participate. Different revenue sources expand your organization’s income opportunities, which can result in increased profits.

You can diversify incoming revenue by building new connections within your area or around the country. For instance, many nonprofits team up with local businesses to support one another. You could promote each other by hanging signs, posting on social media, or providing discounts for clients who use both services.

A local business sponsorship also boosts awareness for your organization to other community members. When you announce a new fundraising idea, the business could advertise it and encourage more people to get involved. The more people know about your upcoming fundraising events, the more you can earn.

In addition, you can increase funds by accepting more payment methods. From cash and checks to credit cards and mobile payment applications, participants can send funds in many ways. By offering all of these options, individuals can give in a way that feels most comfortable to them. For instance, someone might visit a fundraising event and only carry cash to donate. If your organization only accepted mobile payment options, this individual would become unable to send funds.

3. New Fundraisers

Introducing new fundraiser ideas can encourage more community members to attend your nonprofit’s events. If you offer the same fundraiser types each year, people might grow tired of them and feel less motivated to attend. New events keep donors excited and can even convince them to increase donation amounts.

You don’t have to change every fundraiser event, especially if some of them are staples for your organization. For instance, if you host a 5K run fundraiser each year and maintain a steady number of participants, you can continue with the program. Instead, you could add one or two new events to boost engagement and interest.

To identify new fundraising ideas, it’s often best to turn to your regular donors and volunteers. Ask them about their interests and whether they have any preferences or ideas for fundraising events. For instance, they might be interested in cooking, painting, exercising, or another hobby. Catering to their preferences helps build excitement and attendance. 

You could send out surveys to involved donors and ask for their input. The surveys might involve a free-response section or a list of particular options to choose from. After you gather responses, you can determine the most popular recommendations and start planning.

4. Increase Allocation Control

Another strategy to raise more money in 2024 is by giving donors more control over their contributions. You could let donors send money to a particular internal cause. If participants know exactly where their money goes, they might feel more empowered to donate.

For example, donors might want to send their money to areas like:

  • Overhead costs: Donators might feel passionate about keeping your organization running as efficiently as possible. They could want their donation to go directly toward overhead expenses like utilities, supplies, or employee salaries. These donations offset some of your daily operational costs and make it easier to reach your mission goals.
  • Particular programs: Donors could also have a passion for a specific service or program your organization provides. For instance, you might maintain a community food bank, build college funds for students, or rescue injured animals. Many donors feel strongly about these topics and want their money to go directly to those causes. By letting the participants choose their donation placement, they can feel more secure about giving money. They might even donate more funds if they know they are making a difference.
  • Marketing services: Participants might choose to send their money toward other nonprofit needs, such as marketing. Most nonprofits use various forms of marketing to spread the word about their services and community impact. Donors might want to assist with these efforts and pay for supplies to get the word out to others.

5. Days of Giving

days of giving

These themed events offer a purposeful 24 hours to donate to a particular cause or organization. You could participate in a national Giving Day event or develop your own event solely for your organization. During the event, donors can give money online or at in-person locations. These days often generate significant donations, especially when organizations promote the event in the months and weeks leading up to it.

For example, a strong social media campaign can promote your event to local community members and larger audiences around the world. You could use tools like:

  • Hashtags: You could start a hashtag that features your organization’s name and the title of your giving day. Every time you make a post about the event, use the hashtag to boost awareness. As more social media users come across the post, they can learn more about your event and even use the hashtag in their posts.
  • Videos and images: Videos and pictures are an excellent way to promote your nonprofit and upcoming day of giving. Social media users can get a closer look at your location, services, or products. You could also make infographics that explain your upcoming day of giving and fundraising goals. Viewers can repost images and videos to spread the word to larger audiences.
  • Online partnerships: You could also partner with other nonprofits on social media to increase awareness about your day of giving. They could post about the event on their accounts to boost engagement, drawing more attention to your cause. In return, your organization could help promote its upcoming events. 

6. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising offers an exciting way to connect with community members. To participate, individuals host personal campaigns and collect donations from friends, family, and others on behalf of your nonprofit. Peer-to-peer fundraisers can consist of single events or multiple activities. For instance, fundraisers could involve:

  • Walk-a-thons
  • Distance races, like a 5K or marathon
  • Bake sales
  • Cooking competitions
  • Donation drives
  • Sporting events

The campaign that generates the highest donation amount often receives additional prizes or benefits for their efforts. This structure can encourage more participation due to the friendly competition surrounding participants.

Certain software solutions are tailored to assist with peer-to-peer fundraisers, streamlining much of the process. These platforms let participants build personalized campaign pages that they can access from any device. They can add images, communicate with community members, partner with other volunteers, or complete other actions. 

You could also develop a leaderboard to keep track of participants’ funding levels as time passes. Participants can also use the leaderboard to understand how much more they need to raise. The software also makes it easy to share campaign updates on social media, which increases engagement.

7. Adult Field Day

Field day is a thrilling event for kids, and you can organize these outdoor events for adults, too. These events let participants engage in physical activities, spend time with community members, and enjoy the outdoors. You could charge a small entry fee to boost donations or just encourage participants to pay what they can. You would need an outdoor space — you could use your current property or rent an area. Or, if you prefer, you could host the field day indoors.

You could organize activities like:

  • Three-legged races: These classic races can make an exciting event for your field day. Participants strap one of their legs to a partner, and they move in unison to cross the finish line. These races are simple to plan — all you need are lengths of fabric or rope to tie legs together. Then, you mark a start and finish line.
  • Ring toss: Ring toss is a fun and accessible game, allowing for players of all skill levels. You can find pre-made ring toss games online or build your own with bottles or other targets and plastic rings. Split into teams and aim for the bottles — the team with the highest number of points wins.
  • Tug-of-war: Tug-of-war is another classic field day event. Two teams stand on opposite sides and clutch a rope, attempting to pull it to their side. This game requires minimal setup — you only need a rope and two teams.
  • Obstacle courses: Many field days also feature obstacle courses. Organizations might use pre-made courses or build their own using various materials. These challenges are exhilarating, letting participants test their endurance while racing through various stages.

8. Cooking Challenges

Your nonprofit could also increase donations by hosting cooking challenges. Many community members are passionate about cooking, and offering a friendly competition lets them test their skills against their peers. 

Cooking challenges are versatile, giving you a wide variety of choices. For instance, you might host an in-person event where participants cook a specific dish within an allotted time frame. After time runs out, various judges or community members rate the prepared meals and vote for their favorites. Or, another cooking challenge involves participants cooking a meal or item before they arrive, then letting judges taste them. The winning cook usually receives a prize in return, making the competition more exciting.

Participating chefs could pay a small entry cost to join, helping your organization raise money. You could also emphasize the fundraising aspect of the event and urge all visitors to donate as they enter. 

9. Matching Gift Drive

Donation or gift-matching strategies help to optimize donations for nonprofits. In these scenarios, you partner with a company to establish a donation agreement. Companies get their employees involved, especially if they’re passionate about the services provided by the nonprofit. Each time an employee donates to the nonprofit, the company matches the donation amount. This arrangement increases the donation amount by two, helping nonprofits earn more than in a usual donation.

You have to connect with corporations to organize a gift-matching plan. Some nonprofits work with companies that have donated in the past, and ask whether they want to continue the involvement. Many companies are interested in partnering with nonprofits to improve their brand perception or give back to their community.

10. Reverse Raffle

Raffles are a staple fundraising option. Reverse raffles flip the traditional structure, heightening anticipation. Instead of selecting one winner at the beginning, a reverse raffle draws all entered slips until only a few remain. The final tickets are announced as winners, and the participants earn a prize. The reverse structure can convince more people to enter and attend the raffle drawing.

You can require a cost to enter the raffle to build donations. Large prizes are typically excellent incentives — people are often willing to spend a few dollars in exchange for a chance at a significant prize. For instance, a fully paid vacation or a new electronic device can convince many community members to enter.

Schedule a Demo with GiveSmart Today

You can introduce these new year fundraising ideas and others to boost donations and maintain your nonprofit’s operation. From in-person cooking challenges to online auctions, staying creative helps to get more people involved. 

Elevate your next fundraising event with GiveSmart Fundraising and Donor Management Platform. Our solution offers comprehensive tools for fundraising activities, from ticketed raffles to social media campaigns. You can build personalized campaign sites to track donations, communicate with donors, and spread the word about your cause. The features support virtual or hybrid events with livestream options and other advanced tools. 

To learn more about our comprehensive platform, request a demo from GiveSmart today.

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