Fundraising 101: What is Online Fundraising?

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“What is online fundraising?” you may ask. Don’t worry—we’ve got answers. ☆  Online fundraising…. While the term may sound daunting at first, it certainly doesn’t have to be. Here at FundMyTravel, we believe anyone can succeed at it! Thanks to this thing called “the Internet” (ever heard of it?) figuring out how to fundraise online is no longer something that can only be achieved by professional marketers.

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You can learn how to fundraise online in no time!

Sometimes we make things sound more complicated than they really are. While learning about a new topic can definitely be confusing and intimidating, it’s also the fun part. Plus, we are making it our goal to make online fundraising as easy as possible! So, what is online fundraising, you ask? Let’s dive in together! 

What is online fundraising?

Gone are the days of going door-to-door hoping your neighbors will purchase your chocolate bars, cookies, or t-shirts. Using FundMyTravel, GoFundMe, and (just a few awesome fundraising sites to choose from) you can raise money from the comfort of your own home. Yup, you read that right. You don’t even have to leave the comforts of your couch! 

With technology at the tip of our fingers, you can create a campaign to raise money (see: crowdsourcing!) for whatever it is you may need (travel, education, medical costs, volunteering, mission trips, etc.). The reasons are endless! By sharing your personal fundraising campaign with family, friends, and even strangers on your social media sites and email, you can raise money while saving a huge chunk of your time.

[What is Crowdsourcing for Travel? How Does it Work?

Sounds too good to be true, huh? Let’s talk about why online fundraising is one of the best options out there

Woman working in cafe on laptop
Online fundraising will save you time AND stress.

Why choose online fundraising?

Have you ever seen a link on Facebook asking for you to donate money for a volunteer trip or to help raise money for a sick pet? If so, you’ve witnessed an online fundraising campaign in action (and great examples of how to fundraise online!).

A major reason to choose online fundraising over the more traditional bake sales and car washes is the time that you will save by creating an online campaign. It’s so much easier to reach a wide audience online. How many neighbors’ doors do you think you can knock on and pitch your fundraiser to in the time it takes to share a link? Not many! So what is online fundraising? A pretty awesome time-saver, actually.

While it’s easy to talk about how easy online fundraising is, let’s take a look at some examples of current fundraising websites to get you brainstorming. 

  • FundMyTravel (duh!). This is the perfect platform for that mission trip or volunteer experience you’ve been dreaming of! Tell your story, share photos, and rake in the donations.
  • Kickstarter. Have a creative project or new-fangled invention you need funded? Kickstarter is a great website to check out.
  • GoFundMe. Possibly one of the most popular sites currently, GoFundMe helps people raise money for medical, memorial, education, and charity purposes. 
  • Causes: Created as a funding platform to support causes closest to your heart, you can use this platform to donate to issues such as domestic violence, endangered species, environmental conservation, and more.

As you may have already caught on to, people are creating online campaigns for all sorts of stuff. Want to volunteer helping sea turtles in Costa Rica or study abroad in China? Do you need some extra dollars for medical bills or have a great business idea you’re ready to make a reality?

[7 Little Improvements to Make to Your Online Fundraising Campaign

Whatever it may be, there is an online fundraising platform for it. Just as FundMyTravel caters to online travel fundraising, most sites will have their own niche area. While those are just a few examples, there are plenty more out there to cater to your specific online fundraising needs.

Pros and Cons

Woman working on laptop on bed
One major pro: fundraising from the comfort of your couch. You don’t even have to put on pants if you don’t want!

Of course, there are pros and cons to everything in life, and online fundraising is no different. We’ve created a list of what we have found to be the pros and cons of online fundraising. 

The Pros

  • Easy to learn. Learning how to fundraise online is easy! If you commit just 20 minutes (or less!) to creating your campaign online tonight, you could be raking in donations by tomorrow morning.
  • Fast and efficient. Traditional fundraising events (such as going door-to-door) can be very time-consuming and cost-heavy. Online fundraising can cut your time commitment in half. 
  • Larger audience. Online fundraising can surpass nearly all geographic limitations, creating less barriers for getting your word out. Feel free to open up your fundraising market to the other side of the world!
  • Attracts new supporters. The World Wide Web is a great place to attract new people to your campaign, especially millennials and Gen Z.
  • Less financial risk. Online fundraising campaigns have little-to-no financial risk. Most sites will only take a small percentage of the donated amount for operating costs, leaving you free to use the rest. 

The Cons

  • Less of a personal touch. Door-to-door fundraising and old-fashioned benefits have the perk of face-to-face interaction, thus adding a more personalized feel to fundraising. 
  • Donor fatigue. With so many online campaigns out there, donors might start to feel bombarded. 
  • Requires a tech-savvy donor. You may be missing out on donors who are not tech-savvy or who aren’t active on social media (we’re looking at you, grandma and grandpa!).

[5 Brilliant Shortcuts to Great Fundraising Emails]

Take your new knowledge and go forth!

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What is online fundraising? We hope your research has paid off!

Now that you’re equipped with the whats and whys of online fundraising, you’re ready to make your mark! Starting a campaign is easy and only requires a laptop and a compelling story. What do you want your donor to know? What audience are you trying to reach?

One more thing: As you continue down the path of online fundraising and take it to the next level, you may discover “storytelling” and all of its benefits to your fundraiser. It’s an important component because without a convincing story donors may be hard-pressed to hit that “donate” button. But don’t worry—we’ve covered that as well.

What is online fundraising? Finding the answer to that question may be the first step to reaching many of life’s financial goals. Whether you are looking to study, volunteer, or just need help with other bills, learning how to fundraise online will earn you skills that keep giving for years to come!

[Sign Up for the FundMyTravel Newsletter for More Useful Fundraising Tips and Tricks!]

kaila forsterThis article was written by Kaila Forster. Kaila is a recent graduate from the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in international business and history. During college, she embarked on her first adventure abroad, studying in Chongqing, China. Upon graduation, Kaila returned to China as a marketing intern with a trading company outside of Shanghai. She is currently working as a Revenue Tax Specialist at the Minnesota Department of Revenue. Kaila enjoys spending her free time cooking, incessantly bothering her cat, and volunteer teaching immigrants and refugees.

Comments (2)

I love donating to fundraising or any charities; It’s surprising to learn that fundraisers have already invaded the internet. Thank you for this article, I never knew that you can do fundraising online; it’s interesting to learn that fundraisers will save more time through online campaign compared to doing the traditional door to door. Maybe it’s time for me to look for online fundraising where I can donate.

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