How to get donations for your cause

How to get donations for your cause

Donating a paid-off time share to a charitable organization like the American Kidney Fund or United Cerebral Palsy is a viable and often better option than trying to sell it on your own. Although you won't profit financially, a tax write-off option for the fair market value allows you to recoup some of your investment. Although most charities work through an intermediary to simplify the process, the potential tax implications make getting professional assistance and advice a wise choice for you, too.

Choose a Charity

Locate charities that accept time-share donations. If you don't already have one in mind, search through an online database such as GuideStar, Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance. Make sure the charity is tax-exempt and that your donation will be tax deductible. Since most charities accept donations through an intermediary such as Donate for a Cause or Real Estate for Charities instead of directly, find out how much the charity will ultimately receive. Finally, make sure the charity will accept your donation.

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Paperwork and Taxes

To claim a tax deduction for a time share valued under $5,000, you'll need to itemize deductions on Internal Revenue Service Form 1040 Schedule A. If the value of your time share is more than $5,000, you'll have to file IRS Form 8238, Noncash Charitable Contributions, along with Form 1040 and a copy of the property appraisal. Get this form before getting started because it requires signatures from an IRS-qualified property appraiser and the charity.

Value Your Time Share

Determine the time share's fair market value. If your time share is worth more than $5,000, the IRS requires a professional appraisal that's not more than 60 days old. If the value is less than $5,000, work with your accountant or tax attorney to determine and document the value. Make three copies of the appraisal or other valuation document — one for your records, one for your tax return and one for the charity.

Complete the Transfer

According to Donate for a Cause, the process of donating a time share takes about 12 weeks. It starts with filling out and returning the donation agreement, a copy of your deed and, if necessary, IRS Form 8238. Upon receipt of this paperwork, and before drafting a new deed, a closing company that works with the intermediary will conduct a title search and verify that property taxes and any maintenance or other resort fees are current. You will then receive a new deed that transfers ownership from you to the charity. After you sign it, have the new deed notarized and return it to the charity or its representatives; that's when you'll receive a tax receipt for your donation. You remain responsible for paying maintenance and all other fees until you receive the tax receipt.

Giving isn’t a business transaction. It’s a human connection. To inspire donors to give, you need to make a meaningful connection by showing them why they matter and how they can make a difference. When you understand why your donors give, you’ll be able to make a more effective appeal.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your donors personally and find out why they give. Their stories matter, and sharing them create inspiration for others to follow their example.

If you don’t have an easy way to keep track of your relationships with your donors, check out Network for Good’s simple, smart fundraising software.

Network for Good surveyed 3,000 donors to find out what inspired them to give.

Here are the top 8 reasons for donating, from most important to least:

  1. I know there is a need for the nonprofit’s mission in my community and I know it does good work
  2. I believe the nonprofit will use my gift to stabilize or expand programming
  3. The nonprofit communicates about the impact of giving by sharing program outcomes
  4. I know someone who benefitted from the nonprofit’s work
  5. I want to be associated with the organization and its brand
  6. I see the organization online and on social media
  7. I want the tax deduction
  8. I know someone on the board of directors or who volunteers

We also asked some of the 10,000+ small nonprofits we work with for some of the most common reasons their donors give. Here’s what we heard:

4 bonus common reasons for donating

  1. Someone I know asked me to give, and I wanted to help them
  2. I want to feel I’m not powerless in the face of need and can help (this is especially true during a disaster)
  3. I want to memorialize someone (who is struggling or died of a disease, for example)
  4. I was raised to give to charity—it’s a tradition in my family or part of my faith

Putting this into action

People act from the heart, not the head:

Giving is a personal act:

Let donors support your cause long-term:

There are many reasons why people give. When you’re crafting your next fundraising appeal, take this list out and ask yourself if you’ve tapped into these reasons.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2015 and has been revamped and updated with new fundraising insights.

How to get donations for your cause

Donations are the gas that will get your car (your nonprofit) to where you’re going (your mission). No matter how great or worthwhile your destination is, without gas, you are not going to get there. You must identify how to get donations for your nonprofit’s mission. You are not going to accomplish your goals. Which is why, of course, fundraising is so essential, even if it’s not always exciting.

Here at CauseVox we’re always looking for ways to help you reach your fundraising goals creatively and effectively. If you’re looking to refresh your donation strategy, or want to review some time-tested methods, check out these five tips for getting more donations.

How To Get Donations

1. Create great content and stories.

People love a good story. Creating engaging and relatable content, whether in newsletters or YouTube videos, is a surefire way to draw supporters to your cause. Show the journey of one impact client in an inspiring way, and people will line up to make that transformation go further.

2. Report on the impact of donations

If you want people to give you their hard-earned money, you’ve got to show them that it will make a difference. Let people know exactly what their donation will do – whether it’s buying school supplies for one student, feeding a family for a week, or building materials for renovating a community center. After your campaign is over and the money has been put to use, give an update on how the project went. Show your donors what they accomplished.

3. Use social proof

Social proof is the “everyone is doing it” mentality. When people see those around them contributing to a cause, it makes them think that it’s the right thing to do. You can take advantage of social proof by boosting your followers, letting people publish to Facebook or Twitter when they make a donation, and sharing testimonials of volunteers who work with you.

4. Make online donations easy

The smoother your interface, the easier it is for people to donate. You don’t want potential supporters to get frustrated halfway through because your donation process is tedious. Make giving convenient by setting suggested giving levels. The fewer clicks, the better.

5. Say thank you

If you want donors to come back again and again, show your appreciation again and again too. You can give shout-outs on Facebook, Twitter, or other social networks. Send individual letters and emails, and give updates on the campaign’s success. Make donors feel like a part of the team. For more tips on this, check out some creative ways to say thank you and ways to build community with your supporters.

With these tips, your donations should start firing up! Is there anything we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments.

This post was originally published in March 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Does your organization run primarily on donations? Whether you’re managing a nonprofit or starting a GoFundMe for a loved one, it’s important to use the right strategy when asking for donations. Learning how to get people to donate money to you is necessary if you want your fundraising efforts to be successful.

Fundraising isn’t exciting, but it’s often a necessary part of supporting your cause. A few proven strategies will bring in the funds you need, giving you access to the cash that will keep you moving forward.

7 strategies to get donations

The following tips take the stress out of fundraising, making it easy to create a streamlined system that encourages more people to donate.

1. Use storytelling to share your cause

People love stories, which is why the right narrative can draw donors to your cause. Storytelling shows the potential impact of donations. Good fundraising stories engage people’s emotions and encourage them to act. As a result, donors feel more emotionally invested and want to offer assistance in helping you move forward and continue your work.

2. Include images to paint a picture

Make your content relatable, and look for ways to tell your story through different media. Including emotionally compelling pictures not only boosts views on social media, but it also makes it easier for people to identify with your cause and participate in it.

Remember that people act from the heart — not the head — so pictures can be an effective way to tug at the heartstrings and encourage donations.

3. Make things easier for people

Eliminate any barriers people might encounter when sending donations. If you have a complicated or difficult donation process, this decreases the likelihood of a potential donor completing the transaction. You can make donating easier by using online forms like the ones from Jotform.

4. Ask for specific amounts

A generic donation request causes people to stop and think about their level of contribution. Donors often don’t know how much to give or are unsure what kind of impact their donation might make. Instead of requesting an open-ended contribution, offer suggested levels of donation and associate these donation amounts with benefits for the cause.

5. Offer gratitude for the donation

Showing your appreciation for each donation means there’s a better chance donors will come back to donate again in the future. Send thank-you messages through emails and letters. A personalized touch can go a long way toward building strong and lasting relationships with donors.

6. Share updates about the campaign

Provide updates on the campaign frequently to share current news about its progress. These messages help donors feel like they’re part of a team, which increases the connection they have with the cause.

7. Use multiple communication platforms

What’s the most efficient way to connect with your target donor demographic? Consider where people spend their time online, then publish information on those platforms. For the best results, use multiple forms of communication — such as email, text, social media, phone calls, and mailers.

How do I get people to donate monthly?

Setting up recurring payments can be one of the most powerful ways to bring in regular donations that help support your organization. When people agree to a recurring monthly donation, you only need to request funds once. After that, their credit card is charged regularly, eliminating the need for you to continue asking for donations.

Recurring payments result in more donations and reliable cash flow for your organization. It’s a “set it and forget it” system. Simply create the right platform where people can set up recurring donations, and the payments automatically occur at the frequency donors specify.

Jotform facilitates recurring payments with a streamlined system that makes it easy to ask for recurring donations. Check out this guide to learn how to set up a recurring payment option.

The right tools are essential to reduce the burden on your fundraising team. Once you create good online donation forms, it’s easy to collect the funds when donors are ready to contribute. Visit the Jotform blog to learn more about creating and managing nonprofit organizations.

From adding a Donate button to your homepage to creating a customized donation process, we offer a wide range of online fundraising tools to help organizations both big and small connect with donors 24/7.

Find the right online fundraising solutions for your organization.

Add a Donate button

Make it easier for people to donate on your website in just a few taps or clicks by adding a standard or customized Donate button. With easy, DIY integration, you can be up and running in 15 minutes–no programming skills required.

This tool is a good fit for: Small organizations

  • Accept major credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal
  • Chose which donation amount options you want to offer donors
  • Allow donors to donate to specific programs
  • Accept recurring donations
  • Low friction donation processing capability with support for email, QR codes, and shareable URLs

Offer more payment options for your donors

PayPal Checkout allows your donors to use the most popular online payment methods to contribute to your cause. Set up is easy with a developer or an e-commerce solution provider.

This tool is a good fit for: Mid–large organizations

  • Accept major credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, and Venmo
  • Allows donors to complete their transactions without leaving your site
  • Add recurring donations as a checkout option
  • One-and-done integration with updates handled by PayPal

Build a custom donation flow

With PayPal Payments Pro, you can create an advanced, fully customized donation process that matches the look and feel of your organization.

This tool is a good fit for: Large organizations

  • Accept major credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, and Venmo
  • Expand your reach with multi-currency payment processing in 6 currencies
  • Add recurring donations as a checkout option
  • Keep donors on your site with a fully integrated checkout experience
  • Accept donations over the phone through Virtual Terminal

Take pledges now and collect later

Use our invoicing tools to collect donations after an event or to follow up with repeat donors. With no invoicing software required, send in minutes from any device via email.

Donations are the life force of nonprofits. But it’s not always easy to get people to give for your cause. With people living busier lives than ever, it’s become even harder to capture the attention of prospective donors. All hope is not lost, as there are still plenty of ways you can get free donations for your nonprofit. We’ve assembled a guide to help; Our Top Ways to Receive Free Donations for Your Nonprofit

How Can I Get Free Donations Online?

With people spending a large amount of time on the internet, online giving has also gained popularity. In fact, online is the most preferred donation channel according to the 2018 Trends in Giving Report. Across all age groups, genders, and donor sizes, donors preferred to give online.

So if you want to get more free donations, you need to catch your audience online.

1: Online Donor Networks

Getting your cause in front of online donor networks can be a great way to get more free donations. List your nonprofit on online giving platforms like Givelify, which has over 1 million donors.

It also allows prospective donors to conduct a “search by cause.” So they can easily look up causes that align with their values – whether it’s saving the dolphins or battling homelessness. In other words, thousands of relevant donors will be able to find and donate to your cause.

2: Compelling Donation Page

If you want your website visitors to donate, make sure you have a powerful donation page. This page should make a compelling case for your cause and convince visitors to donate. Plus, it should be easy to use and navigate across different devices.

3: Enable Social Giving

Social media is one of the top channels that inspire donations, according to the Trends in Giving Report. So to get more free donations for your nonprofit, you should look to social media. Make the most of hashtags like #GivingTuesday to promote your cause. And share multiple ways to donate to your cause.

Nonprofits like Giving Hope & Help do exactly this and ask followers to donate to causes like breast cancer support. They then provide all the ways to donate – website, nomination form, Cash App, and Givelify.

You can even add social giving buttons to your account to drive more donations.

4: Thoughtful Email Campaigns

Email is another top channel to inspire donations, especially among mid-size and major donors. So to get more free donations, you need thoughtful email campaigns that resonate with your audience. Send them updates about how you used their previous donations. Or you can also let them know about new causes that your nonprofit has decided to support.

In every email, make sure to include giving links that will easily get them through the donation process.

5: Recurring Donation Campaigns

Your best bet at getting more donations is through people who’ve already donated before. So encourage them to set up recurring donations to your nonprofit. You could give this suggestion in a “thank you” email for their first donation. Or you could also give this option on your donation page.

Givelify allows donors to set up recurring donations that will automatically go through at a set time.

How Do I Ask for a Free Will Donation?

While online channels may be the top preference among donors, don’t rely on these alone. You may be able to reach plenty of other prospective donors through traditional and offline channels.

6: Drive-Through Events

For a low-cost way to drive donations, consider hosting drive-through charity events where donors queue up to give. In return for their donations, you could give them goodie bags or merchandise. To promote contactless giving, you could also display a QR code that will take donors to your donation page.

How to get donations for your cause

7: Word-of-Mouth Recommendations

Encourage your donors to share the news about your cause and inspire their friends and family to give. You could also add an online element to this. When people donate online, give them an option to share the news via social media and email. This could be a great way to get word-of-mouth recommendations from loyal donors.

8: Direct Mail Campaigns

While email and social media have taken over, direct mail still has its place. In fact, 18% of baby boomers still get donation inspiration from direct mail, according to the Trends in Giving Report. So make the most of eye-catching flyers and personalized letters to get donations from direct mail campaigns, particularly if your donor base is 55 or older.

9: Call-in and Virtual Campaigns

Interestingly enough, phone calls may still be a great way to reach a small portion of your donor base. If you want to get as many nonprofit donations as possible, don’t miss out on the chance to reach more prospective donors. Use call-in campaigns to build a personal connection with your audience and inspire them to donate. Virtual campaigns done through zoom or video conferencing apps work great for live events, with or without a global pandemic.

How Do I Create a Free Fundraiser?

You can create a fundraiser for free through online donation platforms like Givelify. Sign up to the platform and create a free account for your nonprofit organization. Once you’ve finished setting everything up, you’ll be able to start receiving donations online in under five minutes.

Givelify lets you accept donations through the following options:

  • Add a giving button to your website/donation page.
  • Share giving buttons/links through social media channels.
  • Promote giving buttons/links via email.
  • Accept donations through the Givelify mobile app.

Note that creating a fundraiser through Givelify is completely free. Each transaction will cost your donors just 2.9% + $0.30.

Gearing Up to Get Free Donations

There are plenty of ways to get free donations for your nonprofit – both online and offline. To make sure you reach your campaign goals, don’t forget to accept donations through a variety of channels.

Online giving platforms like Givelify make this easy. It connects you with over a million donors through its massive donor network. Plus, it allows you to accept donations through different channels including website and mobile app.

Sign up for Givelify and get set up for mobile donations in under 5 minutes.

About the Author

How to get donations for your cause

Luis Orozco is a contributing writer. His passions and expertise are nonprofit fundraising and development. He uses Givelify to support his local church and the social justice causes.

How to get donations for your cause

A fundraising letter is a simple way to bring your online fundraiser to the next level. A written appeal to your friends and family members can bring in new donations, recurring donations, and most importantly, it can help everyone better understand why your fundraising cause is important to you.

But before you put pen to paper—or fingers to keyboard—and mail that letter, it’s a good idea to take the time and read up on the best ways to write a fundraising letter. This guide offers specific tips on how to write a donation letter with content that’s compelling and persuasive. We’ll also provide a donation letter sample to give you a solid starting point.

Write a fundraising appeal letter that will drive donations

Regardless of the media used, a good donation letter example should get a potential donor emotionally invested in your story while spelling out exactly what your cause is. Don’t be shy about explaining why you’re starting a fundraiser and what you will do with the donations you receive as well. People will want to know exactly how they can help you meet your goal.

If you’d like to persuade friends and strangers alike to support your cause, take a look at our other tips below for writing a donation request letter.

Tips on how to write a fundraising letter

Address the emotions of your audience in your letter. Successful donations request letters, whether for an adoption letter or general letters for donations, need these common elements to build a foundation for success.

Be personal

Write it as if you are talking to a friend. Use personal pronouns (“I, we, they, you”) to engage the reader and strike an emotional chord. Describe why supporting your cause will make readers feel good. People help because they want to experience good feelings about their giving.

A picture is worth a thousand words

Include photos in your letter, so people can visualize how their support will be used. Mention that more photos and videos are posted on your GoFundMe to increase understanding about your cause.

Make it easy to give

Offering people the ability to pay online is a good way to attract donations. Make sure your crowdfunding website is easy to use, secure, and has a good reputation. Don’t forget to invite people to take action. Don’t be shy about your need to raise funds for your cause and letting people know how they can give.

Donation request letter templates to help you reach your goal

When it comes to writing compelling donation messages, examples help immensely. If you’re stuck coming up with the right words, these sample donation request letters can help get you started.

Sample donation request letter to family and friends

With the people who know you best, you can afford to be a bit more vulnerable and offer details that you may not feel as comfortable sharing with businesses or other potential donors. Use this template as a framework for your letter or email, but don’t be afraid to customize it more.

Subject line: [Keep it short and avoid CAPS and exclamations]:

I wanted to reach out and let you know that I’m fundraising to [insert reason why you’re fundraising]. As you probably already know, this cause is very important to me. [Write 1-2 more sentences about your history with this cause, and why it means so much to you.]

Would you be able to contribute to my fundraiser? A donation of any amount would truly help me reach my goal.

To help me [list goal—for example, “go on my mission trip”], simply click the link to my fundraiser below:

[Insert fundraiser link]

If you could also share my fundraiser link with your friends, it would mean so much. The more people hear about my cause, the quicker I can reach my fundraising goal.

[Your contact info]

Sample donation request letter for nonprofits

If you’re a nonprofit, you might already know how effective a fundraising letter can be. Try this charitable donation letter template, or some version of it, to raise more awareness about your nonprofit.

Subject line: [Keep it short and avoid CAPS and exclamations]

Dear [insert name],

Our organization recently started a new fundraising campaign for [insert an explanation about your cause]. As a 501(c)(3) Certified Charity whose mission is to [insert a short explanation of your mission], we’re very excited to involve our community in our latest fundraising efforts.

With these funds, our organization will be able to [insert a few specific ways the funds will make an impact.] To find out more about how we plan to make a difference, click on our fundraising link below:

[Insert fundraiser link]

In order to meet our fundraising goal, it will truly take a village. Are you able to support this incredible cause? Any amount you can contribute will make a difference—even $5.

Thank you for reading about our latest mission, and please reach out if you’d like to learn more and get involved with our fundraising efforts.

[Your contact info]

Sample fundraising letter asking for donations from businesses

Asking for the support of local businesses is a good strategy when you’ve already reached out to friends and family members—especially if you plan on working with the business for a local fundraising event. Below is a sample letter asking for donations from businesses

Subject line: [Keep it short and avoid CAPS and exclamations]:

I recently started a fundraiser for [insert cause or reason you’re fundraising]. I believe that local businesses like yours can really make a difference in our community, and that’s why I’m looking for your help. [Insert 1-2 sentences about your cause and how this ties into the local businesses or why it may interest them.]

So far, I’ve been able to raise [insert amount] with the help of our community—but I still have some work to do to meet my goal.

Would you be able to make a contribution to my cause? A donation of any amount will make a difference and would mean so much to me.

To learn more about my fundraiser and give a gift of any amount, simply click the link below:

[Insert link to fundraiser]

Thank you so much.

[Your contact info]

Crowdfunding makes it easy for your network to support you

When you use a crowdfunding platform it makes it simple and quick for others to contribute to your cause. You won’t have to worry about collecting donations from everyone because donations will be sent straight to your bank account.

An online fundraiser also makes it easy for others to support you in other ways. Friends and family can easily share your fundraiser link with all of their contacts to bring in even more support for your cause.

Start writing fundraising letters and raising more money

Knowing how to write a donation letter will go a long way toward making your fundraiser a success. Now that you have the top tools you need, don’t forget to sign up and create your online fundraiser if you haven’t already.

How to get donations for your cause

November 30—the date of #GivingTuesday this year—is close at hand. If you haven’t already started preparing your nonprofit’s social media strategy, now is the time! After all, social media drives the bulk of traffic (and donations) to your Eventgroove crowdfunding page . Through content, you’ll want to attract attention, motivate people to take action, and share their participation. All of which will ultimately help you amplify your cause’s reach.

Below are five #GivingTuesday social media basics to help you achieve your fundraising goals!

Five GivingTuesday Social Media Tips

Leverage hashtags

GivingTuesday is essentially a social media event, so getting this right is essential! Of course, #GivingTuesday and #GivingTuesday2021 are the biggies. However, you should also have unique hashtags for your nonprofit and your GivingTuesday fundraising campaign. First, consider popular hashtags for fundraising, such as #Community, #Charity, #GiveBack, #SocialGood, and #Fundraiser. Next, think about your cause. For example, an animal shelter might use the hashtag #DogsofInstagram or #AdoptDontShop. Finally, if you’re a local organization, tap into popular local hashtags! For instance, a conservation group in Dayton, Ohio might use #DaytonOhio, #GemCity, or #Dayton.

Pro tip: Don’t go bonkers with hashtags! Ten is plenty on Instagram, and even fewer are needed on Facebook and Twitter (use 2-3 on those platforms). To look less spammy on Instagram, add three at the bottom of your post and the rest in a comment.

Stay on brand

Since #GivingTuesday is a fundraising event, it’s a good idea to draw attention to that by creating a cohesive look for your fundraiser. For instance, if you focus your #GivingTuesday efforts on Twitter and Instagram, create matching covers (including your logo!) for your profiles. Also, when sharing quotes or statistics, keep the look and feel similar. Doing so will help reinforce your fundraiser’s brand and create a contiguous feeling for your #GivingTuesday campaign.

Schedule content in advance

Services like ContentCal , Later , and Loomly all make it easy to queue up content well in advance. Additionally, they offer analytics to tell you (if you don’t already know) when your followers are most active, helping you determine when to post. Scheduling as much content as possible at the most advantageous times will free you up to engage with your audience and make use of new content opportunities in the moment, such as announcing fundraising milestones or thanking a supporter. Scheduling also ensures everything is on point—the spelling, the link to your crowdfunding page , and your hashtags.

Go video or go home…but images and graphics are great, too

Video is a heavy hitter for #GivingTuesday! Videos are extremely useful for making the case for your cause. You can feature testimonials, put a face to who will benefit from your cause, provide behind-the-scenes clips, and share supporters saying why they donate or volunteer.

Engage like a champ

Respond to comments and tags. Like, heart, and/or reshare donor messages. Mention and tag individual donors in your posts—celebrate them and their support! Authentically interreacting with your audience is the best way to create a sense of community and build support.

Bonus #GivingTuesday Social Media Post Tips

  • Keep it positive.
  • Keep it professional (avoid grammar issues!).
  • Don’t make every single post about asking for donations. Instead, ask questions, create Q&As, and post updates.

Looking for more GivingTuesday tips and information? Review our GivingTuesday Primer and read our articles How to Create a Great GivingTuesday Crowdfunding Campaign and Support your #GivingTuesday Crowdfunding Push with Printed Postcards! Want help with creating Facebook covers, Instagram posts, and more? We’ve got you! Browse our FREE social media templates by clicking the button below.