Three Online Fundraising Strategies for Nonprofits


Online fundraising is at the forefront of modern nonprofit strategies. Explore how you can get noticed and raise money online with these three methods.

Fundraising in 2022 has reflected a transition year after a tumultuous 2021 fundraising season. Many grantmakers have become more lenient, DEI and climate-focused causes have received increased attention, and many nonprofits have started experimenting with fully virtual fundraising strategies.

The rise of new social media platforms, like TikTok, new ways to raise funds, like Facebook Challenges, and an overall increase in online giving have transformed how nonprofits approach online fundraisers.

In this guide, we’ll explore three strategies nonprofits can leverage to increase their fundraising online.

1. Google Ad Grants

As Gen Z enters the workforce and the majority of the working world are Millennials, nonprofits need to be increasingly aware of how they can grab these essential groups’ attention. As many Gen Z and Millennials will first look to digital platforms to give, you need to make sure your nonprofit is front and center on those platforms.

For instance, many donations start with a Google search. If a potential donor is interested in giving to a cause like yours or learning more about your nonprofit after seeing a post on social media, they will likely start their research with the aid of a search engine. You can ensure that your organization ranks among the top results by applying for a Google Ad Grant.

A Google Ad Grant provides nonprofits with monthly ad credits to launch marketing campaigns on Google. These free ads can boost your nonprofit’s website to the top of a search results page, putting your cause in front of more donors and resulting in more clicks.

2. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Your nonprofit can receive more donations by turning giving into a social activity. Social media provides your donors with an easy way to share when they have donated and encourage their friends to follow suit. This can create positive peer pressure as someone who sees their friends posting about making donations online is more likely to follow suit.

Your nonprofit can also leverage social giving more directly with a peer-to-peer campaign. Peer-to-peer campaigns encourage your supporters to fundraise on your behalf by asking their friends, family, and followers to consider donating to your cause. With social media, they can get in touch with their network quickly and publicly, turning donating into a highly social activity.

Of course, a successful peer-to-peer campaign doesn’t rest entirely on your volunteers’ shoulders. To set your organization up for a successful campaign, ensure that:

  • Your nonprofit has a social media presence. Maintain an active social media presence on platforms where your volunteers will be fundraising. Aim to post at least three times a week to show your supporters’ followers that your organization is active.
  • Volunteers are prepared to talk about your organization. Organize an onboarding session for your campaign’s volunteers and provide them with materials and guidelines for how to present your nonprofit. For example, you might share your brand guidelines, important data or talking points to address, or even a general dos and don’ts guide.  
  • You maintain communication throughout your campaign. Check in regularly with your fundraisers to answer their questions, troubleshoot problems, and thank them for all the work they’ve done so far.

Many peer-to-peer campaigns are also paired with events to drive attendance in addition to donations. If your nonprofit wants to keep your event entirely online, try pairing your peer-to-peer campaign with a virtual event.  

3. Matching Gifts

Corporate philanthropy is often an underutilized resource, and nonprofits have more ways to take advantage of this fundraising source than they may realize. When it comes to fundraising online, your supporters can use corporate philanthropy to make their donations go further with a matching gift grant.

Matching gift grants are additional donations made by employers after their employees give to a charitable organization. These donations are often given at a 1:1 ratio but can be 2:1 or even 3:1 depending on the employer.

You can earn matching gifts by following these three steps:

  1. Help donors check their eligibility. When your supporters give, prompt them during the donation process to check if they qualify for a matching gift. Use a matching gift database to allow them to quickly search their employers’ names to discover if they have a matching gift program.
  2. Connect donors with their employers’ matching gifts application. Encourage more donors to apply for a matching gift by pairing them with their employers’ application forms. If you use a matching gift database, it should link donors straight to the forms they need.
  3. Follow up and thank donors for applying for a matching gift. Stay up to date on which donors have completed their matching gift applications. Be sure to thank those who have submitted their forms and send reminders to those who are still in the process, especially if their employers have a submission deadline.

Keep track of the employers your supporters work for. If many of them work for the same organization, you may even be able to set up more corporate giving opportunities for your nonprofit, such as encouraging the company to match donations to your nonprofit at a higher ratio or even creating an employee volunteer day.

Action steps you can take today

Online fundraising is a staple of modern fundraising strategies. To continue connecting with donors virtually, your nonprofit should take the following steps:

  • Explore online marketing opportunities, such as the Google Ad Grant, and ensure your nonprofit’s website is ready to make the most of the incoming traffic.
  • Leverage your supporters’ networks on social media through peer-to-peer campaigns.
  • Investigate online corporate giving opportunities, such as matching gifts.