Grassroots Fundraising 101

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  • 1.Grassroots Fundraising 101 September 15, 2011

2. Table of Contents

    • What exactly is grassroots fundraising?
      • Who are your grassroots fundraisers?
    • Why should you care about grassroots fundraising?
    • Types of grassroots events
      • In memory of someone
      • Sporting
      • Personal occasion
      • Other
    • Grassroots fundraising strategies

3. What is grassroots fundraising? vs.

    • Any fundraising that takes place outside of your official events
    • Ex: fundraiser celebrating a birthday by asking for donations in lieu of gifts
    • Grassroots fundraising pages are independent -- don't fall under an umbrella (official) event
    • Official fundraiser organized by your nonprofit
    • Ex: 5K run/walk organized by your nonprofit and added to your nonprofit start page
    • Fundraising pages are directly linked to the event

4. Who are your grassroots fundraisers?

  • Sally and Harry, newlyweds
    • Bonded over a love of vizslas
    • Asked their friends and family to donate to the Vizsla Rescue Fund in lieu of wedding gifts
    • Fundraising potential (estimate):
      • 200 wedding guests invited
      • 1/2 of those wedding guests choose to donate instead of buying a gift
      • Average wedding gift donation is $150
      • 100 X $150 = $15,000!

5. Who are your grassroots fundraisers?

  • John D.
    • Running a marathon in memory of his father, a Vietnam War veteran
    • Donating any money he raises to the Military Veteran and Family Assistance Foundation
    • Sent a link to his fundraising page to his family and his father's friends

6. Why should you care about grassroots fundraising? Donations grassroots fundraisers receive are larger , on average, than donations received by event based fundraisers. Don't believe us? Take a look at these rockstar grassroots fundraisers:

  • Jodie Nelson , Paddle with Purpose (Keep a Breast Foundation)
    • Stand-up paddleboard trip from Catalina Island to the California mainland
    • Reached her fundraising goal of $100,000 in less than 24 hours!
    • Total raised: $121,260
  • Joseph D'Amico , Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC-CNI)
    • McRunner Challenge: ate ONLY McDonald's food for 30 days while training for the L.A. Marathon
    • Successfully completed the Challenge...and ran a 2:36:14 marathon (that's 5:57 minutes/mile!)
    • Total raised: $40,159

7. Types of grassroots events In memory of someone

    • Commemorates someone close to the fundraiser
    • When setting up an "In memory of someone" page, the fundraiser will be asked how long he/she would like to keep the page active

8. Types of grassroots events Sporting

    • What counts? Walks, runs, bowling, adventure races -- the possibilities are endless!
    • When setting up a "Sporting" page, the fundraiser will be asked for the name, date and type of his/her event. The system will search for public events listed on FirstGiving near the date provided so that the fundraiser can join it if it exists.
      • If a public event does not exist for the fundraiser's sporting event, he/she can create it as a grassroots event

9. Types of grassroots events Personal occasion

    • If there's reason to celebrate, there's reason to fundraise!
    • When setting up a "Personal occasion" page, the fundraiser will be asked if the event is an anniversary, birthday, christening, wedding, or "other event"

10. Types of grassroots events Other

    • If a fundraiser is raising money in an unconventional way, for example giving up chocolate or growing a beard for a month, he/she can categorize the fundraising page as "other"
    • When setting up a "Use your imagination" page, the fundraiserwill be asked how long he/she would like to keep the page active

11. Grassroots fundraising strategies

    • The people who will choose to create a grassroots page for you arecommittedandmotivatedto raise money for your organization. Nurturing them is important and can lead to further fundraising down the road.
    • Check your reports regularly for new grassroots pages - then get in touch with those fundraisers!
    • Make sure the fundraiser has maximized their fundraising page by entering a personal story about why they are doing this, uploaded a picture (or several pictures via Flickr), and added a Youtube video if they have one.
    • As an organization, you have connections an individual fundraiser doesn't have, so help them spread the word - media connections are particularly helpful.
    • Thank your fundraisers - this is particularly important in the case of personal-occasion or In Memory fundraisers, who may not want the public eye, but who do feel a strong connection to your organization

12. More grassroots fundraising strategies

    • Encourage grassroots activity between official events, or in lieu of official events should your organization not put them on (or not put them on everywhere you have supporters).
    • Have faith in your fundraisers - too often, nonprofits assume that no one would want to set up a grassroots page for them, or that it's too hard, and that's not true!
    • Use your nonprofit start page to give people ideas of reasons to fundraise, and let them know how easy it is - just a few clicks of the mouse.
    • Your fundraisers are getting donors for you that you may not otherwise have been able to reach, so be sure to hang onto these donors. Customize your thank-you message and reach out to donors after the fact using your nonprofit email tool.
    • Remember to close the loop with your fundraisers after they have completed their fundraising (or even as they go along, if applicable) - let them know what the funds they have raised are doing.

13. FAQ about Grassroots Fundraising Q:I accidentally created a grassroots fundraising page when I meant to create a fundraising page linked to an official event. Can you please move it over to the event? A : Yes! However, we cannot move fundraising pages from one official event toanother. Also, we cannot transfer donations, but we can refund all of the donationsmade to the original page so that your donors can re-donate to the correct page. Q: I set my fundraising page to stay active for six months, but I'm doing so well that I want to continue fundraising for another six months. Is it possible to extend my page? A: Absolutely. Just email us at -- make sure you includethe email address you use to log into FirstGiving (so that we can find your account/ page), as well as the date you would like to extend your page to. Q: I finished fundraising early and cancelled my fundraising page. Will the donations made to my page still go to the nonprofit? A: As long as your donors did not contact us with a refund request, then yes, thedonations made to your page will still be sent to the nonprofit even if your page hasbeen cancelled. 14. Q & A For more on grassroots fundraising, visit the Success Center or email us at