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Nearly 38 million people in the US are facing hunger, and food banks across the country are working tirelessly to help their neighbors in need. While donations of food make a huge difference in the community, online fundraising for food banks stretches the dollar significantly further. Whether you are holding a virtual food drive or some other food bank fundraising method, keep these top tips in mind.

Set Fundraising Goals

Setting goals makes a world of difference in fundraising. When fundraising for food banks, the ultimate goal is to eliminate hunger, but you don’t want your donors and supporters to experience burnout because there are still hungry people in your community. It could feel never-ending. But by creating campaigns with unique goals, messaging and purposes, you build momentum, display your impact and invite everyone to focus on a single, attainable result.

By setting a goal you:

Create a shared sense of accomplishment with your donors

Demonstrate you’ve done the research on how to use the funds

And generate a sense of urgency in meeting the goal

Setting a goal is also incredibly important for your internal team. It ensures that you are all on the same page when it comes to results and whether or not you have succeeded. That is why it is important to have SMART goals that allow you to pivot your strategy.

Pro Tip: Have fun with it! As you work towards your goal, use a fundraising thermometer to motivate donors and allow them to visually see the impact their community is having. They work especially well when you are closing in on reaching your goal.

Smart Goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Tie Donation Amounts to Outcomes

Food bank fundraisers are at an advantage because the mission doesn’t need to be explained. Other nonprofits might need to start out by explaining how a certain disease affects someone or how an environmental issue affects a region or how a social cause impacts the community before asking for support. Everyone understands hunger.

So you can jump right to Step #2 and dive into the impact. Donors know what their dollars are going to achieve, but exactly how is their donation making an impact? Tie each donation amount to the impact. 

This can help to eliminate the internal dialogue a potential donor might have to talk themselves out of donating. Instead of thinking, “My $10 won’t make a difference,” it switches the conversation to “$10 makes a huge difference!”

Promote Recurring Giving

We live in a subscription-based world. With monthly subscriptions to our TV shows, meal plans, entertainment boxes and more, it is a very familiar concept. With a recurring giving program, you can help your donors streamline their philanthropic efforts just as easily.  

You can have a checkbox on your main donation form asking donors if they would like to make their gift recurring. But you should also have a dedicated page just to recurring donations and the impact they have. Just like above, tie each dollar amount to the impact:

$5 a month

A week's worth of food for a child

For $5 a month, you can provide 2-3 nutritious meals a day for a child who needs it.

Donate
$10 a month

Fresh produce to a food-insecure person

For $10 a month, you can provide fresh produce to someone receiving non-perishables.

Donate
$25 a month

70+ Meals to the food pantry

For $25 a month, you can provide over 70 complete meals to the community food pantry for those in need.

Donate

Pro tip: As comfortable as people are signing up for monthly subscriptions, there is still that hesitation that they won’t be able to cancel or have to jump through 100 hoops if they need to adjust their donation. Make it clear that you are thankful for their gift, and they can easily update or cancel their recurring gift at any point.

Make it Personal

You’ve got your SMART goal solidified, and you’re tracking results. You’re sharing those stats with your supporters to keep them engaged, as well as the impact of each dollar – whether it is a single or monthly donation. You’re doing great!

Between all the numbers and the fact that a food bank doesn’t have to explain why food is important, it can be easy to gloss over the emotional connection donors still need to have when they are giving a gift. As important as the facts and figures are, they are not as compelling as a heartfelt story.

Because people understand hunger, you don’t need to oversell it, but you do need to evoke empathy from your audience. A well-told story about a person in their community whose life has been improved by the food bank fundraiser is more likely to engage the reader and is more likely to motivate them to take action.

Utilize Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer campaigns work great for food bank fundraising. By tapping into your current donors’ networks, you can turn their friends and family into supporters. And it does just more than raise more money on behalf of your food bank. It increases awareness of your food bank and its mission with their public and vocal support.

The fun part about peer-to-peer fundraising for food banks is that you can get creative with it.

Birthday Fundraising

We’ve all seen it on Facebook – someone raising money for their favorite nonprofit on their birthday. Instead of utilizing the scripted “copy and paste” language that Facebook provides, give your supporters the tools they need: images, language, suggestions, support, and of course – gratitude!

Competitions

Friendly competitions really drive donations. By incorporating gamification techniques, your existing donors are inspired and will motivate others to step up their generosity.

Campaigns

There’s no reason everyone can’t be on the same team! By creating a campaign centered around peer-to-peer fundraising, you invite your donors to be active and necessary participants in the mission.

The important part is to harness the power of your supporters by giving them the tools and materials they need to fundraise on your behalf. Whether it is their own personal challenge or part of a larger campaign, set them up for success and fun.

What's Next?

Online fundraising for food banks can be so much more effective (and fun!) than a simple donate button leading to a single landing page. Mittun offers website solutions for food banks that take your mission to the next level by combining tried-and-true marketing strategies with innovative digital solutions. But don’t just take our word for it. We’ve done this before.

Check out our premium websites & marketing solutions for food banks LET'S GO

Is your food bank website inspiring donors?

Contact Mittun for a free assessment today.

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