Hosting a Successful Online Fundraiser for Your Nonprofit Organization

by Danielle Bloom

2 min read

Thanks to online fundraising platforms, sitting in the cold for your non-profit’s annual bake sale is an experience of the past. Instead, set up and run your own fundraiser from the comfort of your non-profit’s office. Here are some quick tips for making your online fundraiser run seamlessly.

Choosing a Platform

Fundraising platforms handle the entire process for you, including collecting donations and dispersing them to your non-profit’s account. There’s no need to directly handle donor credit cards or cash because it’s all handled on the platform.

GoFundMe is a preferred platform for small causes such as fundraising for a family who lost their home or an animal shelter that’s overwhelmed with homeless pets. In contrast, DonorDrive is geared toward bigger causes with individual pledges such as charity marathons. Kickstarter is an option if you have a hefty goal to meet and have rewards or swag to offer your backers, such as T-shirts or stickers branded with your nonprofit’s logo.


Once you’ve chosen a platform and started a campaign, it’s time to start gathering a following. The more exposure your fundraiser gets, the more donations you have the potential to receive. Social media is a good place to start, with strategies including:

  • Facebook paid promotions. These ads are relatively low-cost and you can set the budget as low as $5. Target your promotional posts to an audience that’s interested in your cause to maximize the relevant exposure that you get.
  • Instagram hashtags. The potential visibility is huge because Instagram has so many targeted niche hashtags, you can reach an entire community dedicated to your cause without even paying for ad space.
  • Harness reddit. Reddit is a curated news space and content-driven forum built around communities called subreddits. If you cause doesn’t already have a subreddit, then create your own and interact with the audience that you build there. Redditors love social causes and are a generous, passionate bunch of people.
  • Live streaming. You can run live streams on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, or Twitch. Periodic streams are a great way to build momentum and morale while updating your supporters on your goals and achievements.
  • Campaign updates. GoFundMe, DonorDrive, and Kickstarter all give you the option to add updates to your campaign’s news feed. The more involved you are in updating your supporter base, the more likely your audience is to continue donating.
  • Promotional gifts. Offer small tokens to people who donate over a certain threshold, such as a sticker for a $3 donation, a T-shirt for a $15 donation, or a keepsake ornament for a $50 donation. Brand your tokens so that donors can proudly display their item to tell the world they supported your cause.


Make sure that all donations are noted for tax purposes. You can setup QuickBooks for your nonprofit organization and enter donations as you send out receipts to donors. If you used a major fundraising platform, then you should receive a statement from the platform itemizing donations and platform fees. Keep this statement on file and use it to double-check your QuickBooks records.

References & Resources

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