Fundraising without giving

Fundraising without giving

Is passive fundraising right for my organization?

Whether we’ve registered it or not, we’ve all been exposed to passive fundraising. Sometimes referred to as “set it and forget it” programs for gift card, grocery, and/or catalog purchases, these programs have likely crossed the path of many a parent or nonprofit donor.

What do they mean? How do they work? And, is passive fundraising a right fit for your organization?

That all depends on how you manage your program.

Certainly the “set it and forget it” model is a fantasy that’s too good to be true. If someone promises you it’s that easy, it would behoove you to walk away and look for another partner.

There are a multitude of shopping programs available. Generally they work something like this: your donor/supporter signs up for the program and has to click certain links to get a portion of the money they spent designated back to your cause. These programs are critically important right now because they provide a way for people to give back to the causes they care about most without having to make a donation out of their pockets. They are already shopping online and won’t have to pay extra for the items they purchase to benefit the organization they’ve chosen.

Even now donors are still motivated to find ways to give. The Nonprofit Leadership Center states that, “Even amid a public health pandemic, recession, civil unrest and a divisive political climate, a recent study by Fidelity Charitable found that 43% of donors plan to continue supporting their usual charities.”

When selecting your shopping program be sure to keep in mind that you will have to market it to your constituents. You may do this by including it in your newsletters or by making it a stand alone feature on your website, via emails, and social media campaigns. Keep in mind that marketing best practices say you may need to make between five to seven touchpoints with the shopping program in order for your donor to act. Other great ways to get this information in front of your donors is to promote it at events (virtual or in-person) and to use it as a follow-up communication.

Fundraising is not going away anytime soon. But our approaches to the best ways to keep our industry thriving may have to change shape in order to meet donors where they are.

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