Raising money for a good cause is one of the most rewarding things we can do as human beings, and at Givebutter, it’s our mission to help you do so successfully.

That said, there is one thing I need you to know before we get started: fundraising is hard work. This guide will help you work smart, but you'll still need to put in the hard work to make it a reality. The most successful fundraisers always do both.

Are you ready? Let's do this. 

Here is the most important fact you need to know about charitable giving:

The #1 reason why people donate is because someone they know asked them to.

Giving is personal. Giving is human.

That's why Givebutter's fundraising pages are focused on people: your donors, your team members, and you.

But first, we gotta get them to your page!

Launching your campaign

The only thing more important than setting up your campaign is actually launching it. Technically, as soon as you've built a campaign on Givebutter, you can start collecting donations. But it's critical that you develop a plan for executing the campaign and reaching your maximum fundraising potential. Here are some things to think about and strategies we have seen to be most effective across thousands of fundraising campaigns:

Plan to make direct asks of potential donors

By far the most effective strategy we've seen is pure, old school, 1-1 outreach.

Relying on social media and mass emails alone is not enough. Posting on Facebook and sending bulk emails is great for raising awareness and lowering the barrier for individual asks, but the data shows that the best way to hit your goal is by asking people one-on-one for donations. If team fundraising is part of your campaign, be sure to emphasize this point to your teammates as well. It's extremely important!

  • Create an exhaustive list of contacts in an excel doc or using old-fashioned pen and paper, and note who you're reaching out to so you can follow up at least 2-3 times.

  • Individually reach out to every person through Facebook Messenger, Instagram/Twitter DM, text message, email, phone--or best of all, in-person!--and ask them to donate to your campaign. Regardless of the channel, the emphasis here is on making individual and direct asks of people in your personal network.

  • Explain why their donation is so important to you, how their donation will support something you care about, and finally what they can do to help -- donate!

  • The more personalized the ask, the better. It's so obvious when people are just copy/pasting messages around. Take the extra 15 seconds to personalize your ask with someone's name and a personal note. It just makes sense that saying "Hey Max, hope all is well with Givebutter!" will go a lot farther than "Hey there, hope all is well!"

  • Try out Givebutter's built-in email invites and text message invites features to take your one-on-one outreach to the next level. We can even send automated reminders on your behalf!

Celebrate milestones and thank donors publicly

Use milestones to encourage people to give, saying things like "$100 until we are over 50%" and use the urgency of your goal and end date as well, if you have them i.e. "We are 90% towards our goal" and "Just one day left!" Celebrate these milestones when you hit them, and publicly tag and thank donors on social media when they support your campaign. Ask them to tag a friend in the comments who should support your cause, too!

Change your profile picture on social media

This might seem over the top for some people, but changing your profile picture performs the highest in Facebook's algorithm and is among the best ways to increase exposure for your campaign on social media. Don't forget to include your campaign link in the description!

Get creative

People really appreciate it when you show them that you have some skin in the game and are working for the dollars you raise. People also appreciate creativity! Think outside the box and come up with new ways to raise, here are a few freebies:

  • Ask someone to match every donation you receive

  • Pledge to shave your head or dye your hair if you raise a certain amount

  • Run a marathon and get someone to sponsor each mile you run

  • Grow a mustache

  • Give something up

  • Volunteer an hour for every $100 raised

  • Anything to help raise extra dollars for your amazing campaign

Seek out corporate sponsors

Remember those soccer jerseys or robotics team shirts with a bunch of logos on the back? Why not ask local businesses to sponsor your online Givebutter campaign, too? Hundreds, if not thousands, of people will be visiting your campaign, which is an excellent advertising opportunity for local businesses to show their support for your cause. Givebutter donors can customize their donation with a name, image and message, so corporate sponsors can display their business name and logo prominently on the Supporters Feed.

Start strong

Make the first donation to your campaign, and make sure your team members do the same if you have them. Even if you can only give $5 you should do so; it's very challenging to get people to support a cause you aren't supporting yourself! Furthermore, we can't stress enough how important it is to build momentum early and raise as much as possible at the very beginning of your campaign. Some people do a soft launch with close friends and family to get to at least 30% of their goal before publicly announcing the campaign-- this is a great idea. As you continue to share and spread the campaign, people love to see progress and validation, and by starting off with a bunch of donations early on, more people will be inclined to support you as you get closer to your goal. Check out Givebutter's many built-in sharing options for a quick boost, too.

Finish strong

As you now know, the majority of donors give simply because they are asked -- so it's critical that you follow up with everyone at least once before the end of the campaign and update them on your progress. Hopefully, you've exceeded your goal (if you have one) by the end of your campaign, but remember that you will still keep the money you raise regardless. At any point during your campaign, you can withdraw the money you've raised directly to a bank account or debit card, or by requesting a check through the "Payouts" tab of your dashboard.

We've got your back

Remember, we are here to support you every step of the way. Just click that little chat icon in the bottom right corner, or send us an email at [email protected] and we'll do everything we can to help. We are so excited to see what you accomplish.

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