Fundraising in the time of COVID-19: Bake sales are burnt. Festivals are forbidden. Sock hops are so out. What’s a nonprofit to do?
With many schools moving to some form of remote learning and other groups choosing to operate online, traditional fundraising methods are at risk. Many nonprofits face an uncertain future. But those who are able to adapt will succeed. And while we have written about online fundraising tools in the past, we wanted to give you some online fundraising ideas, too. Time to get those creative, money-making juices flowing!
COVID-Era Online Fundraising Ideas for Schools & Groups
1. Create a Donation Page
Simply asking for support can’t hurt. Explain to your constituents your situation and set up an online store that will allow them to give what they can. You could set up easy buckets like:
- $10 – One Month of Online Learning for One Student
- $50 – One Month of Face Masks for a Classroom
- $100 – Teacher Appreciation Week Gifts
- $150 – Guest Speaker for Parent Workshop
- $200 – One Month of COVID Janitorial Supplies
Get creative and apply the categories to your unique organization. Consider adding an option to make this a recurring contribution.
2. Set Up a Virtual 5K
One of the coolest online fundraisers we’ve seen to come out of COVID-19 is virtual runs or walks. With most of these fundraisers canceled, many have opted to move them online. To accomplish this, start by creating a landing page for your event to collect registration fees. Then, the registrant simply completes the committed length (5k, 10k, etc.) on his or her own time. To gain more exposure for your group, be sure to suggest the participant snaps a photo for social media.
3. Start an Online Shop
Online shopping has really picked up, particularly for grocery related items, but in other categories as well. Try to procure items that will truly be useful or relevant to this particular period in time. Here are some ideas.
- Face masks with your group’s logo
- Antibacterial hand spray or wipes with your group’s logo
- T-shirts with your group’s logo, or something funny such as this “Social Distancing World Champion” t-shirt
- Safety items such as this social distancing floor decal
You may also like our blog featuring 100 fundraising items you can sell in an online store.
4. Host a Virtual Yard Sale
While an outdoor yard sale (complete with masks) could still be somewhat safe, why not go virtual? Start by asking your school or group to collect items they’d like to donate. Then simply take photos of each item and post it up for sale in your MyStore. No app is required for the end user, so just share the link far and wide and let the consignment begin!
5. Sell Food Safely
It could be awhile before you’re selling your famous triple chocolate brownie bars at the PTA bake sale. But there are plenty of pre-packaged food items that can be sold in a virtual fundraiser. Try one of these popular food based moneymakers:
- Candy Bars
- Cookie Dough
- Krispy Kreme Donuts
6. Partner with Local Organizations
At a time when local businesses are also struggling, why not kill two birds with one stone? Partnering with local organizations not only supports that business and your nonprofit, it lets the end user get something they truly love. Consider one of these ideas:
- Sell coupon books for community businesses
- Partner with a restaurant to sell a discount punch card or other offer
- See if your local grocery store will choose a day to give back a percentage of profits
- Similarly, reach out to budding food truck vendors for a percentage fundraising opportunity
- Ask local businesses to donate gift cards and auction them off
- Use a service like GroupRaise, which helps groups book restaurant fundraisers online
7. Have a Virtual Movie Party
We love how companies adapted and came up with ways to help the general public during COVID-19’s early days. One of our favorites is Netflix Party. It’s pretty simple, you just get to watch a movie with your friends and family, from the comfort of your living room! You can customize the screen to allow users (with “fun icons and nicknames”, of course) to comment, add GIFs and more. To turn this into an online fundraiser:
- Install Netflix Party
- Create a Netflix Party
- Set up a “Movie Ticket” item for sale on your donation page or MoneyMinder MyStore account.
- Link to this page from Netflix Party.
- Share the party far and wide!
- (Bonus if you have a movie or documentary that speaks to your nonprofit’s mission).
8. Hold a Contest
There’s nothing more fun than getting everyone involved in voting for something lighthearted that takes their mind off of current events. The people simply submit their entries and the voting begins. Each vote could cost $1 or $20. The person with the most votes wins a prize (preferably donated by a local business), and the rest of the money supports your group.
- Cutest baby contest
- Design contest
- Dress your pet contest
- Vacation photo contest
- Local photo contest
- Best caption contest
- Guessing game (think, “how many jelly beans are in the jar”, but put your own twist on it)
- Holiday spirit contest
- Selfie contest
9. Amazon Wishlist
Has your nonprofit made use of Amazon Lists? You can create and categorize lists of all types, and share them with whoever you want. This is useful for nonprofits who have a need to purchase hard goods like school or office supplies. Oftentimes, people feel better about donating by simply purchasing an item you need. Enter the Amazon Wishlist fundraiser. Simply share your list(s) with your group’s biggest fans and the items will start coming in.
10. Virtual Celebrities
We aren’t suggesting you go and get Beyoncé for your fundraiser, although that would be cool. It could be someone who is “famous” in their own community. Charge admission to attend, and set up the event using an online meeting tool. Here are some ideas for your celebrity:
- A local author
- The high school band
- A specialist such as herbalist
- A great local band
- Local news anchor
- Television personality
- TEDx speakers
- Motivational speakers
Although nonprofit fundraising is uncertain, it’s still quite possible to succeed. We hope you’ll take these ideas and run with them, customizing them for your own group’s unique needs.