No matter who you are in the nonprofit and fundraising world, your constituents are no longer all in one place. The people who support you are quite literally all over the world today. Your supporters are leading lives in the world of digital transformation that make getting and keeping their attention increasingly difficult. If you’re looking for some ideas in 2022 that can help you retain donor attention in a way that simply feels like an extension of their daily lives, maybe it’s time to try building out activity-based fundraising events.
Here are 10 ideas to get your wheels turning. While you read through this list, here are a few questions to think about: Who are your donors and what do they enjoy doing in their personal lives? What is the target audience you’re trying to reach today? Do you have any corporate partners looking for new opportunities to make their dollars go further for you?
1. Set A Global Activity Minutes Goal
A time-based event is an inclusive way to meet your supporters where they are. You can foster deep community around your mission while giving your participants a way to help contribute towards your goal. Maybe they do it by running or walking, logging yoga workouts, meditation time, reading, or even playing pickleball. Everyone has different activity preferences, but they all add up towards achieving your collective activity and fundraising goals.
2. Self-Care Challenge
Everyone deserves some self-care. Consider building your activity-based fundraising event around things that reduce stress and improve well-being. For example, focus on activities like sleep, exercise, mental health, healthy eating, getting that booster shot, or even going to get that massage you’ve been putting off for months.
3. Hourly Hustle / Daily Dash / Month of Miles
Time-based challenges can be effective as activity-based fundraising events. Try leveraging this idea combined with a pledge from some corporate sponsors or larger donors. Give supporters a certain amount of time to unlock donations based on the miles they log. For example, launch a 48-hour challenge with an opportunity for participants to unlock up to $10,000 from a sponsor, where every mile they log unlocks $5 in real-time and fills up your community leaderboard and fundraising goal.
4. Group Distance Challenge
Think of this as the same concept as the step challenge idea. However, this one can be organized in any way you want. For example, set this event up with a distance goal in mind and foster a community of your supporters by challenging them to reach that goal in whatever way they go (run, walk, bike, swim, hike, roll, etc.). Or, target a very specific audience, like your Peloton crew, and center your event around cycling miles alone!
5. Meditation & Mental Health Month
Stay calm and fundraise on by crafting an event that focuses on your supporters’ mental health. In other words, engage them in activities like meditation, mindfulness, and restorative yoga. How about a challenge around the number of mental health minutes over the course of the month? Can you challenge your community to do 100,000 mental health minutes and tie it to your fundraising goal?
Everyone loves a good story. This is another time-based fundraising opportunity to engage your community of bookworms. Set a goal for the number of minutes you want your community to spend in between the pages learning new words. Every word could be worth pennies for your cause. And all those pennies add up!
A double impact whammy! You need volunteers to carry out important work to support your goals. There’s no reason why these hours shouldn’t also drive revenue and be a fun community experience for everyone involved. How many volunteer hours do you think your community can log in a month, quarter, or even a year-long campaign? Do you have a sponsor that wants their name associated with those hours in exchange for a matching dollar amount per hour? There are many possibilities with this type of activity-based fundraising option.
You know how important it is for your supporters to demonstrate their passion for your cause. Create and center the goals of your event around the number of advocacy activities logged. This includes volunteering, attending an in-person or hybrid event, signing a petition, calling on legislation, or however you need your supporters to advocate on your behalf.
9. Water Sports
Make good use of fun seasonal activities when it comes to your fundraising efforts. In summer months, center your event around activities that encourage your supporters to grab their suits, like swimming, kayaking, or paddleboarding. Take advantage of the activities your community has been itching for all winter and turn it into dollars to drive your mission. But don’t forget to advocate for sunscreen!
10. The Corporate Challenge
Do you have engaged corporate partners? Or are you looking for opportunities to engage corporate partners and their employees? Try hosting a corporate challenge where each company has a team and competes. Award prizes for the companies that log the most activities (use any of the above activity-based event ideas!) or achieve the highest fundraising total.