How to Engage with Your Online Fundraising Community in 2024

Navigating your online community can be challenging, but with the right tools, anything is doable. Try these methods to engage with the fundraising world!

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The online world is vast. It can be daunting as a nonprofit organization to figure out how best to engage with your online community. But, there are ways to effectively reach out to the greater fundraising world and build up awareness around your group.

In order to inspire your current supporters (and new supporters!) to interact with your organization and raise funds for your cause, there are several avenues you can take. All can prove effective if done well, so exploring each option is a great move.

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In this article

When looking to engage with your online fundraising community, you should:

  1. Tell a story
  2. Use peer-to-peer fundraising
  3. Try crowdfunding
  4. Engage with donors on social media
  5. Send emails
  6. Run product campaigns
  7. Run contests
  8. Create a sense of urgency

Are you ready to learn some amazing techniques to get your nonprofit some much-deserved attention? Check out these strategies below!

tell your story

1. Tell a story

The first step in engaging with your online community is telling your story. Every nonprofit has a vision, and you want to communicate yours in the best way possible. Whether this is through your website or social media pages, you should tell a compelling story using high-quality content.

Things to keep in mind as you tell your story include:

  • Who you’re impacting. Talk about the group of people you’re impacting and how you’ve made a difference, such as the animals for an animal charity or patients for breast cancer research.
  • Different types of media. Use a variety of media to convey your message, such as videos that explain the good your organization does and photos that highlight the impact you’ve made.
  • Your goals. Talk about where you want to go from here. What are your ultimate goals and how can you get there with your community’s help? Be ambitious but as specific as possible, too.

Telling a meaningful story that accurately portrays your mission is key to evoking empathy from others. Without offering a compelling reason to care about a cause, you’re less likely to receive contributions.

use peer to peer fundraising

2. Use peer-to-peer fundraising

An effective method of engaging your fundraising community is via peer-to-peer fundraising. So, what is peer-to-peer fundraising? It’s when your organization recruits volunteer fundraisers to raise money on your behalf. It’s a great social method that gets your supporters involved and makes donors feel more compelled to contribute.

Basically, peer-to-peer fundraising steps include:

  • Deciding on your campaign goals
  • Choosing your platform
  • Setting up a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign page
  • Calling on your supporters to create individual campaign pages to support your goal
  • Educating your supporters and supplying them with templates they can use to share the campaign information
  • Keeping track of your goals and the campaign overall

Peer-to-peer fundraising is one of the most results-driven methods you can use to raise money for your cause. When you put a face and a personal story to a campaign, the impact is even bigger. It’s a great way to get your community involved and to reach individuals who might not have learned about it otherwise.

Looking for some of the best peer-to-peer fundraising platforms? Check out this helpful list.

Try Crowdfunding

3. Try crowdfunding

Another great way to raise money and engage with the community is through crowdfunding. What is crowdfunding? Simply put, it’s when projects or other ventures are funded by raising small sums of money from a large number of people online.

In order to successfully crowdfund your cause, it’s important that you choose the right platform. Look out for donation features, such as:

  • Customization, so you can build a form that meets your needs and reflects your brand.
  • Embedding options, so you can embed your form into your website and donors don’t have to leave to contribute.
  • Payment processing options, so that your donors can donate using their preferred payment method.

If you’re not sure where to start with your campaign, Donately offers great customizable donation forms that you can use for all your crowdfunding needs.

Crowdfunding is an effective and meaningful tool that can not only help you raise money, but also encourage a sense of community among your donors and the individuals who share your campaign page. Definitely keep this tool in mind as you explore ways to further engage your supporters.

Engage with donors on Social Media

4. Engage with donors on social media

Social media is an awesome method of engagement that offers you many ways to interact with your fundraising community. There are several social media tools you can take advantage of, and if used correctly, the outreach can be significant.

Using social media allows you to do things like:

  • Play with different types of content. Use videos, calls-to-action, and other types of content that engage individuals with your cause.
  • Update your supporters in real-time. Live-tweet a fundraising event or go live on Facebook to share videos of what your organization is up to.
  • Thank individuals for their contributions. Give shout-outs to individuals and show your appreciation on social media, which will make your supporters feel valued and also help heighten the sense of community surrounding your cause.
  • Leverage your network to reach more donors. All of the volunteers and donors you’ve found through social media can help spread the word and share your cause with their friends and family. Call on your supporters to make your community even larger.

Social media allows you to make connections that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Use these resources to your advantage and connect with supporters on a deeper level.

Send emails for your fundraiser

5. Send emails

Everyone has an email address these days, so email outreach is a great way to continue your engagement and pass along information about your organization’s cause. If you’re not sure how to phrase your emails, there are templates for donation request letters that you can use as a guide.

If you’re also looking for general tips on how to reach out to supporters via email marketing, here are some common types of email messages you can incorporate into your strategies:

  • Monthly or weekly newsletters
  • Information about donation campaigns
  • Personalized thank-you letters

By providing accessible information and proactively reaching out to current supporters and potential donors alike, you can pave the way for a growing community of fundraisers. You can’t win if you don’t play!

Run product campaigns

6. Run product campaigns

In order to successfully engage with your community online, there are a few extra steps you can look into. One of these is product campaigns, which can offer your community something tangible that’s related to your organization.

For instance, product campaigns can include branded merchandise. With branded merchandise, you can:

  • Promote your group’s image. When you establish a visual presence online, you’re boosting your organization’s overall brand. For example, when people walk around wearing your branded apparel, this alerts people to your cause.
  • Raise money. Look for vendors that allow you to create well-designed and high-quality products, such as Bonfire’s t-shirt fundraising platform. Design a logo for your organization or simply print your organization’s name and slogan on the products. Then, hold a campaign selling t-shirts or other products that can help you raise money.

Product campaigns are a great way to raise money, but they are also a great way to expand your community and engage people who otherwise wouldn’t have known about your organization. Think about ways to transform your image into tangible products and help raise more awareness about your cause.

Run contests for your fundraiser

7. Run contests

Another effective way to solicit your community is through a little friendly competition. Run contests on your social media pages and/or website and blog, and draw attention to your organization in the process. Such contests can include:

  • Photo contests
  • Essay contests
  • Video contests

As an example, run a video contest where individuals can explain what your cause means to them and how they would help you reach your goal. Feature the winner on your website or social media pages, and reward the winner with a free ticket to one of your fundraising events.

People want their content to be seen, so encourage them to post their media on your Facebook page or tag you on Instagram (or any other platforms you use). User-generated content is a powerful tool, so use this to gain exposure to the greater fundraising communities out there.

Create a sense of urgency

8. Create a sense of urgency

The last takeaway item that can help engage your community is creating a sense of urgency. Urgency is the ultimate call-to-action. By showing your community that they only have a limited amount of time to act, that registers with them and encourages them to make a decision quickly.

Examples of urgency include:

  • Limited-time t-shirts (or other branded products)
  • 24-hour fundraising campaigns or special matching gift periods from sponsors
  • Posting online that you’re only a small amount away from meeting your fundraising goal

All of these above examples can inspire an individual to decide to donate, purchase a t-shirt, or take part in another action that gets you over your threshold. Creating urgency is a great motivator and can help you reach your goals fast while engaging with your community along the way.

Clearly, there are several ways you can successfully engage with your online fundraising community. It’s important to break each one down and determine how it can directly benefit your organization and then go from there.

While it can seem overwhelming at first, once you’ve identified the options you have, and the ones that meet your needs, you’ll be ready to navigate the online community and make the most of your fundraising.


What are effective ways to engage with an online fundraising community?
Effective ways include actively participating in discussions, sharing valuable insights, offering support to other fundraisers, and staying informed about the latest trends and best practices in online fundraising.

How important is regular communication in maintaining engagement with the community?
Regular communication is crucial for building relationships, keeping the community informed, and maintaining visibility and relevance within the group.

What role do social media platforms play in engaging with online fundraising communities?
Social media platforms provide a space for real-time interaction, content sharing, networking, and collaboration, making them key in engaging with online fundraising communities.

Can webinars and live events enhance engagement with fundraising communities? How?
Webinars and live events can enhance engagement by providing educational content, fostering a sense of community, and offering networking opportunities.

How can personal stories and experiences be used to engage with fundraising communities?
Sharing personal stories and experiences can build trust, offer valuable insights, and create emotional connections within the community.

What is the significance of feedback and collaboration in online fundraising communities?
Feedback and collaboration are significant as they foster a supportive environment, encourage continuous improvement, and build stronger networks among fundraisers.

How can online tools and technologies aid in engaging with fundraising communities?
Online tools like forums, chat groups, and social media can facilitate communication, event organization, and resource sharing, enhancing community engagement.

What are some tips for creating engaging content for online fundraising communities?
Tips include focusing on relevant and useful topics, using storytelling, incorporating visuals, and encouraging interaction through questions and calls-to-action.

How important is it to stay updated with fundraising trends and news for community engagement?
Staying updated is important to provide valuable contributions, stay relevant, and keep the community informed about the latest developments in fundraising.

Can engaging with online fundraising communities lead to new partnerships and opportunities?
Yes, actively participating in these communities can lead to networking, collaboration opportunities, and potential partnerships that can enhance fundraising efforts.

How can virtual events be used to engage with the online fundraising community?
Virtual events like fundraisers, workshops, and panel discussions can create a platform for interaction, knowledge sharing, and community building.

What is the role of influencers or ambassadors in engaging with these communities?
Influencers or ambassadors can help expand reach, add credibility, and bring new perspectives to the community, attracting more engagement and participation.

How can a fundraiser effectively use storytelling in online community engagement?
Storytelling can make appeals more compelling, personal, and relatable, helping to connect with the community on an emotional level and motivate action.

What strategies can be employed to encourage active participation from community members?
Encourage participation by posing questions, creating interactive content, acknowledging contributions, and fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment.

How can feedback from the online fundraising community be utilized effectively?
Feedback can be used to refine fundraising strategies, understand donor preferences, and tailor future community engagements to better meet the needs and interests of the members.

Can online discussion forums be beneficial for fundraising community engagement? Why?
Yes, discussion forums can facilitate deeper conversations, idea exchanges, and peer-to-peer support, enhancing the sense of community and collaborative spirit.

What are the challenges of engaging with an online fundraising community and how can they be overcome?
Challenges include managing diverse opinions, maintaining engagement, and ensuring respectful communication. These can be overcome with clear guidelines, active moderation, and consistent, transparent communication.

How can a fundraising community be used to test new fundraising ideas or concepts?
Use the community as a sounding board to gain initial feedback, gauge interest, and refine ideas based on the collective insights and suggestions of members.

What are the benefits of having a diverse online fundraising community?
A diverse community brings a range of perspectives, experiences, and skills, enriching discussions and potentially leading to more innovative and inclusive fundraising approaches.

How can success in engaging with an online fundraising community be measured?
Measure success through metrics like active participation rates, feedback quality, the growth of the community, and the tangible impact on fundraising efforts.

What are the best practices for moderating an online fundraising community?
Best practices include setting clear guidelines, encouraging positive interactions, addressing conflicts promptly, and ensuring the community remains focused on fundraising goals.

How can you encourage peer-to-peer learning in online fundraising communities?
Encourage peer-to-peer learning by facilitating mentorship programs, sharing success stories and challenges, and creating sub-groups for specific topics or skills.

What is the role of transparency in building trust within an online fundraising community?
Transparency in sharing goals, results, and challenges helps build trust and credibility, making members more willing to participate actively and support the community.

Can a newsletter be an effective tool for engaging with an online fundraising community? How?
A newsletter can effectively engage the community by providing updates, highlighting member contributions, and sharing valuable resources and upcoming events.

How can online fundraising communities benefit from guest speakers or experts?
Guest speakers or experts can provide valuable insights, inspire members with new ideas, and lend credibility to the community’s discussions and activities.

What strategies can help maintain long-term engagement in an online fundraising community?
Maintain long-term engagement by consistently providing value, recognizing and rewarding active members, and continually evolving to meet the community’s needs.

How can gamification be incorporated into online fundraising community activities?
Incorporate gamification by introducing challenges, rewards, and leaderboards to encourage participation, engagement, and a sense of achievement among members.

What are effective ways to handle disagreements or conflicts within the community?
Handle disagreements by fostering a culture of respect, encouraging constructive dialogue, and intervening when necessary to maintain a positive and productive environment.

Can online tools and platforms be used to track the engagement levels of community members? How?
Use online tools to track engagement through metrics like participation frequency, content shares, and comments, providing insights into member involvement and community health.

How can feedback from the community be integrated into future fundraising campaigns?
Integrate feedback by identifying common themes, considering suggestions for improvement, and aligning future campaigns with the interests and preferences of the community.

About the author

andrew donately

Andrew is the head of marketing and customer success for Donately. After getting involved with nonprofits at a young age, he discovered a passion for helping the organizations that are making the world a better place. Knowing how vital online fundraising has become, his goal is to help nonprofits raise more money online each year! In his spare time, you will find him cooking up dinner, playing with his dog or cheering on Boston sports teams.

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