How to Bring Your Offline Fundraiser Online

How to Bring Your Offline Fundraiser Online

What comes to mind when you think about fundraising ideas for your school, club, or sports team? Car washes? Cookie dough fundraisers? Bake sale ideas?

While these are all popular fundraising ideas that have been used for many years, it doesn’t mean they are the best ways to raise money for your school or group.

See how sports teams have learned how to bring their letter writing fundraising efforts online to raise over $120,000 or how schools have used online fundraising to make their fundraising competitions more fun and creative.

Norcal Crew Fundraising Banner Norcal Crew brought their offline fundraiser online and raised over $116,000

Whether you’re a private school looking for the best ways to raise money for charity at school, or a sports team tired of going door to door selling products people don’t want, this article is designed to help you compare offline and online fundraisers and help you figure out if online fundraising is a good match for you.

1. Teams that have successfully brought their offline fundraisers online

2. Outline of the Different Types of Fundraisers

Here are some of the different kinds of fundraisers and examples of how others brought their fundraisers online.

3. Why should I consider fundraising online? Why use crowdfunding?

Benefits of online fundraising (crowdfunding) Challenges of online fundraising (crowdfunding)
  • Keep more of what you raise -
    While crowdfunding websites take a percentage of each donation you raise, it's much less than the 50% chocolate bar companies take. For example, Piggybackr only charges 4% for each donation, so you get to keep over 90% of what you raise.

  • Reach more people -
    Instead of limiting yourself to people who are around your neighborhood, you'll be able to ask distant relatives and friends to support your cause as well. Share your fundraiser by posting it on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest) and spread the word by sending emails to potential donors. There's no limit to who you can ask for support!

  • Less work -
    While online fundraisers take some effort, they don't require physical labor. Most of the work involved is in setting up a page, inviting your team (if you have one), and promoting your cause. No selling, no paperwork, no headaches. We've designed Piggybackr to be fun and instructional too. Fundraising doesn't have t be a chore!

  • More money -
    Selling a physical object or a service often turns the act of giving into a purely monetary transaction. Someone buying candy bars is probably only going to buy a few (one person can only eat so much candy), but someone donating for a good cause will give a lot more. The average donation on Piggybackr is $86 - that's a lot of candy bars!

  • It's educational -
    Fundraising is often the first time a young person really has to think about and deal with money. It can also teach valuable 21st century skills like storytelling, how to engage your audience, and digital literacy. That's why we built to be instructional and guide your team members through every step of the fundraising process.

  • It's safe -
    With an online fundraiser, you are reaching out to people and promoting your cause in the safety of your own home. Most of the money you raise will be coming from friends, family, or local businesses that you trust. Piggybackr is the ONLY crowdfunding site that is safe for all ages, even kids under 13 (with parent's permission).

  • It's new -
    The concept of fundraising online is still relatively new, so it may be hard to convince your team to go along with it. Show them this page so they can understand some of the pros and cons themselves.

  • It requires effort -
    There are no magic bullets. Running an online fundraiser still takes work, but it's a lot less physical labor, and the return on your time spent can be a lot higher. Fortunately, we've built Piggybackr to be easy, fast, and fun to use.

  • Donors may be skeptical -
    Since online fundraising may be unfamiliar, especially with an older crowd, some supporters might still want to send in checks or buy wrapping paper. Thankfully, because of the advent of sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, crowdfunding is becoming more and more mainstream, and people are more comfortable than ever giving online.

4. If these online ideas are so great, why do people still hold offline fundraisers?

Benefits of offline fundraising Challenges of offline fundraising
  • Brings the community together -
    Car washes and fundraising events will bring the neighborhood together for one reason - to help your cause. This can be a great opportunity to socialize with your neighbors and let them know about the cool things your group has been working on. For example, if you run a sports team, you can tell them about how the money will go towards gym renovations and new equipment.

  • Proven to work -
    These fundraiser ideas are easy to understand, and they have a proven track record. People have been using them for decades, and they work decently.

  • Reach people immediately -
    It's hard to say no to someone in person. You can sell candy bars to anyone, even strangers by just standing outside a local grocery store.

  • Excessive amount of work -
    Offline fundraising requires a lot of manual labor - walking door-to-door or standing in front of businesses to sell candy bars, studying bake sale tips and ideas and learning how to have a bake sale. Even writing sponsorship letters to reach out to all your friends, families, and businesses will take a lot of work, stuffing envelopes, collecting checks, etc. Coming up with raffle ideas and then soliciting in-kind donations

  • Low profit margin -
    Product companies often take up to 50% of your sales directly, so your profit potential is limited. Holding a bake sale requires a bunch of parents in your group to buy ingredients, not to mention the time it takes to bake and sell them. Other more elaborate events like a silent auction or charity dinner will have additional costs that take money away from your cause.

  • Difficult to reach out to distant donors -
    With offline fundraising, you're limited to asking for support only from your local neighborhood. Your Aunt who lives three states away might want to contribute, but she can't attend your bake sale.

  • Safety -
    The streets are not as safe as they use to be. Having kids go door to door, approaching strangers for money can be dangerous. Even having them stand in a public area might not be safe, since they will be handling money, and thieves know this.

5. You’re not selling anything!

Piggybackr sponsorship levels

Instead, you can offer some simple and creative fundraising perks for your donors. It’s important to show your appreciation, but you don’t have to break the bank doing it either, We recommend offering small gifts that are low-cost but high emotional impact for your donors, like a shout out on Facebook, an autographed picture, a thank you letter, or a sticker. Just remember, donors will give based on how much you ask, so set your sponsorship levels high to raise more money.

6. Case Study: Successful Online Fundraiser, Norcal Crew

Norcal Crew Rowing Fundraiser

Norcal Crew is a nonprofit rowing organization that provides youth an opportunity to learn, train, and compete in rowing. The team is based in Redwood City and made up of middle and high school students. They train and compete all around the country.

For years, they had run a donation letter campaign to raise money for their annual erg-a-thon, and they had been decently successful. But in 2012, with 130 team members, they decided to move their offline fundraising online. They wanted to raise money for new boats and equipment for their crew team. With just their first year fundraising online, they successfully surpassed their goal of $45,000.

The next year, they decided to try a donation letter campaign again. It was a lot of work, and it didn’t work out as well as it had in the past.

Norcal Crew chose Piggybackr to hold their annual erg-a-thon fundraiser again online. They increased their goal to $60,000 and were successful again, raising more than they raised 2 years ago in just 3 weeks.

7. How to fundraise online (or bring your offline fundraiser online)

Creating a fundraiser online takes a lot less work and time to organize and plan compared to an offline fundraiser. No more ordering candy bars and cookie dough. No more researching bake sale ideas or organizing fundraising dinners. Get started with these four easy steps!

  1. Create an account -

    Click here to sign up, and fill in the necessary fields. If you’re under the age of 13, you’ll need a parent to upload a permission slip to use Piggybackr.

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  1. Fill out your page -

    Upload a personalized picture of yourself or your team. Tell your donors a little bit about your cause and why they should give. Set your sponsorship levels high because donors give based on how much you ask for.

  2. Invite your team -

    Your can fundraise by yourself or fundraise as a team. Upload your team member’s emails and send them an invitation to join your fundraiser. The more team members you have, the more donors you’ll reach and the more money you will raise.

  3. Promote your page -

    No one is going to know about your cause unless you tell them about it. Upload your contacts and send them an email about your fundraiser. You can use Piggybackr’s built in template or create your own. In addition to emailing, use social media to share your page with friends and followers too.

8. You can do both!

We’ve covered some of the best fundraising ideas that are available today. While we at Piggybackr think there are a lot of advantages to fundraising online, we understand that your organization might not be ready to stop all their other fundraising activities. That’s OK. You can have the best of both worlds!

Have a traditional bake sale or sell candy bars and try an online fundraiser to reach more people. You’ll be able to build community with your neighborhood, and still access the friends and family who live far away. You’ll get the benefits of both types of fundraising and raise more money than if you only did one.

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