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3 Strategies for Smarter Virtual Fundraising in 2022

Virtual fundraising is an easy way to grow your nonprofit’s reach and revenue. Unlike a traditional, in-person fundraiser, a virtual fundraiser allows you to reach people all over the world. This way, you can pull in support from people outside of your local community and keep donors engaged, even from miles away. Plus, your local supporters will appreciate the convenience of being able to participate in your fundraiser from the comfort of their homes.

For these reasons, virtual fundraising was a staple in the nonprofit community throughout 2020 and 2021. Despite having to be physically apart, people were still able to engage with their community through technology and make an impactful difference. This was seen through countless virtual fundraisers and giving days, including Giving Tuesday 2020, which raised $2.47 billion. It’s no wonder that virtual fundraising has continued to be a great option for nonprofits in 2022, but there’s always room for improvement.

Virtual fundraising can be very effective with the right strategies and tools on hand. Use these three tips for smarter virtual fundraising in 2022:

By incorporating these strategies, your nonprofit can take its virtual fundraising to the next level. Let’s begin.

Market your fundraiser widely.

Your virtual fundraiser needs sufficient marketing in order to maximize support. After all, how can people get involved if they don’t know that it’s happening? Use the following communication channels to promote your online fundraiser widely so new and existing supporters can join in on the fun:

  • Email. Leverage your nonprofit’s constituent relationship management (CRM) platform to segment donor email lists. Donor segmentation is an easy way to organize donors in your database by gift frequency, recency of support, and gift amount. Tailor your messaging to these different audiences and send specific emails that will resonate with donors and motivate them to give. This is much more effective than generic donation request emails, which feel less personal and are less likely to boost donor retention.
  • Social media. Capitalize on social media’s virality and spread the word far and wide about your virtual fundraiser. Consider your audience’s demographic and which platform they are most likely to engage with. For example, an older demographic would be more likely to learn about your fundraiser on Facebook rather than TikTok. Once you’ve decided on a platform, develop eye-catching content, like videos explaining your fundraiser or a graphic design that explains the significance of your fundraiser, to increase excitement.
  • Your nonprofit’s website. Your website forms the foundation of your organization’s digital presence, so this is the perfect place to advertise your upcoming virtual fundraiser. Create an event landing page that explains all the details of your virtual event, including logistical details like the time and streaming platform if applicable, how the funds will be used, and how supporters can get involved.
  • SMS messaging. Your supporters are already spending more and more time on their phones, so why not send text messages to get the word out about your fundraiser? Sign up with a text-to-give provider to access a unique phone number and keyword that your supporters can text to opt-in to text messages from your nonprofit. You can send updates about your fundraiser and your mobile-optimized donation page link.

Regardless of which platform you choose, make sure to keep your communications engaging and make a strong case for support. You need to encourage supporters to not only read your messages, but take the next action by signing up for your virtual event or giving to your campaign. Add visual elements to drive impact and appeal to people’s emotions.

Incorporate peer-to-peer elements.

This creative fundraising style is a tried-and-true option to amp up your virtual fundraising efforts. According to Donately, peer-to-peer fundraising empowers your supporters to take the reins on fundraising by creating their own unique campaign pages. Then, supporters will send the link to people in their personal networks, helping your nonprofit easily expand its reach.

There are several peer-to-peer fundraisers you can host online that will not only engage donors, but also get them excited to give. Host any one of these virtual fundraisers with a peer-to-peer element to maximize support for your organization:

  • Walk-a-thon. Get your supporters up and moving for a great cause! With a peer-to-peer style walk-a-thon, your supporters will create their own fundraising pages in advance of the big event and can compete to raise the most amount of money. Supporters can even obtain pledges from their friends and friends for every lap they walk or how long they walk. Plus, these walks can take place anywhere—individual participants can simply go on a walk around their neighborhood and still feel connected to your nonprofit’s community.
  • Social media challenge. Come up with a catchy hashtag relevant to your organization and its fundraiser and a challenge that people can easily complete from the comfort of home. For example, if you’re an animal welfare organization, you can suggest that people post their best photo of their rescue pet along with why they’re supporting your nonprofit in the caption. Supporters can include their fundraising page link on their profile so their followers can quickly give.
  • Giving days. Inform your supporters at least a month in advance that your nonprofit will be participating in a giving day, such as Giving Tuesday. Then, give them clear instructions on how to make a campaign page so they can spring into action and market their fundraising page widely on the giving day.

To get the ball rolling on your peer-to-peer fundraiser, you can reach out to your most active or connected supporters ahead of time to create fundraising pages. This will help your nonprofit reach as many people as possible, boosting your donor acquisition rate.

Develop a monthly giving program.

A monthly giving program can help establish a reliable revenue stream for your nonprofit. According to 360MatchPro, monthly giving made up 17% of all online revenue last year, meaning that more and more people are interested in recurring giving and eager to donate. With this boost in revenue, your organization can worry less about budgeting and focus more on advancing your nonprofit’s mission.

Monthly giving isn’t only beneficial to your nonprofit; it also caters to donors’ convenience and flexibility. When donors sign up for monthly giving, they’ll no longer have to fill out your donation page each time they want to give. Instead, they’ll fill it out a single time with their monthly giving amount and billing information, and their gift will automatically be transferred to your nonprofit each month.

Make sure to give donors the option to adjust (and potentially increase!) their monthly giving amount or change their billing information if their card changes or expires. Donors will feel more comfortable giving to your organization when they know they can make changes as needed.

Even as we move past physical distancing, it’s clear that virtual fundraising is here to stay for its many benefits. Take your next fundraiser online to increase revenue and pull in support from all over the world. Following these strategies can help engage your existing donors, boost your donor acquisition, and create a predictable revenue stream that your nonprofit can access at any time. Good luck!

How to Create Enough Good Content
(Case Study)

Guest blogger Holly Ross has spent seven+ years at the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), working with community members to identify technology trends that are reshaping the nonprofit sector. Brett Meyer, NTEN Communications Director, co-authored this post.

As nonprofits have flocked to the e-newsletter as an inexpensive and timely way to communicate with stakeholders, the number of newsletter tips has also proliferated. While subject lines, “from” addresses, and your template design are all important, they aren’t the biggest challenge to putting out a quality newsletter.  The most difficult part is creating good content, content your subscribers want to read.

For many organizations, simply getting an e-newsletter out regularly, with enough  content — let alone enough good content — is a win. That was certainly true for NTEN a few years ago. But since then, we’ve developed loftier goals for our e-news NTEN Connect, transforming it from a chore we had to cross off the monthly to-do list to a blockbuster driver of traffic to our blog. And we managed to reinforce our values and culture while doing so. Here’s how:


NTEN is a small organization. With just a handful of staff members, we felt the pain of the e-news challenge intensely.

Writing enough good, timely content to fill a monthly newsletter was simply not an option for our overburdened staff. Instead, in 2007, we started stocking it with articles written by members of our community .

While we selected the topics and the authors for each issue, producing the newsletter itself became a matter of curation rather than creation. This shift also aligned nicely with one of our core values: providing a platform for our community’s views. And we took one step further to publish our newsletter stories on our blog (on our website). Readers of the newsletter received a teaser for the article – usually the first paragraph or two – and a link to read the entire article on our site.

We very quickly saw a jump in the website metrics we track. Traffic started to rise and we got lots of compliments on the new format. At that point, we knew we had something good on our hands, but knew we could do even better.


We shook up our e-news format again in November 2008. Rather than hand-picking topics and authors, we invited the community to write about anything they wanted. Submissions flowed in, including quite a few we couldn’t use. While we put out an interesting issue, it didn’t drive traffic quite the way we had hoped it would.

Then we added a twist to the experiment in Fall 2009. We had always used the newsletter to “break” stories, publishing all of the new articles at once on our website, on the day we sent out the newsletter. This time, we posted the articles on our website as they were submitted, letting the authors know that the most successful posts — those that generated the greatest usage as measured by page views, time spent on the site, and comments — would be included in the November newsletter.

By this time, of course, social media had burst upon the scene. Being that the NTEN community is generally pretty tech savvy, we saw them using blogs, Facebook, and Twitter to share news, likes and their own accomplishments. So we tapped the power and reach of the community for the newsletter, leveraging our authors’ social networks to drive traffic to our site and increase newsletter subscriptions.

Our incentive strategy worked! That November, we saw an 80% increase in blog traffic over November 2008. We watched our authors using their social networks to highlight their accomplishment – “Look! I have an article on the NTEN site!” – driving traffic our way. That single month was a huge factor in our 22% increase in blog traffic in 2009.

Unfortunately, blog traffic in every other month (when we curated newsletter content) flatlined.

We continued experimenting with the e-news throughout 2010 to boost site traffic, redesigning the template and removing less-popular features. Nothing helped us reach the boost that the social network November 2009 edition created.


So, in September 2010, we moved to our Community Guided Content model. We still ask authors to write about specific topics, but we post new articles to our website almost daily, then use the stats to determine what goes into the actual newsletter. Since this shift, blog traffic is up 37% year-over-year  and shows a fairly steady month-to-month growth rate. Plus time spent on web pages on page is up – a modest but welcome increase of three seconds.

This new strategy means we’re driving a lot of traffic to overall: We’re up 24% year-over-year in 2011. The blog/newsletter strategy drives most of that, as you can see from the increase in blog traffic as a percentage of total site traffic for the last few years:

2008: 17%
2009: 19%
2010: 22%
2011: 25%

Most importantly,  publishing more and more diverse content on the blog gives us a sense of what the NTEN community is most interested in. Then, when we compose NTEN Connect each month, instead of guessing what we should send out to our 30,000 subscribers, we can look at our blog and social media analytics data to learn what our blog readers have already found most engaging.


We now have a successful newsletter strategy in place — one that aligns our values and goals, and has significantly expanded our visibility and prominence in the sector. This year alone, our newsletter subscriber base has increased 50%.

Next, we’re hoping to match newsletter content even more closely with our audiences’ wants and interests. We’ve begun experimenting more with segmentation: instead of sending out one issue to our full list, we deliver seven different versions based on job function, e.g. Executive Directors receive different content than IT staff members.

Going forward, we’ll be able to tailor newsletter content based on the articles our readers have interacted with over time. Already, we’ve seen the potential for this level of segmentation by including dynamic content based on our subscribers’ membership status and activity levels. And we expect to continue refining our content strategy on an ongoing basis to ensure it meets the needs of the NTEN community. That’s what makes a successful e-newsletter!

What are your strategies for creating content that’s valued by your audiences and advances your organization’s mission — for your e-news, blog, or other channels — when it’s just one of many must-do tasks?