Top Fundraising Ideas for Small Businesses

Why Fundraising Matters for Small Businesses

Just because you’re a small business, it doesn’t mean you can’t make a big impact with charitable giving. You have a real opportunity to make a positive contribution and give something back to the local community around you or even on a global scale. 

You can choose to help a charity near you or raise funds for an international organisation or national charity. Either way, you can engage your customers and highlight the values behind your business. And you can motivate yourself and your staff to create a happy working and personal life. You can also make a massive difference to the charity or charities you choose to support. 

Fundraising Ideas for Small Businesses

Let’s look first at a few ideas to get you thinking. 

Customer Donation Round-Up

A simple way to raise funds for charity is by asking your customers to round up their spend to an even number, with the extra going to a good cause. This could mean an extra couple of pounds on their spend or even a matter of pence, but across a wide customer base it can quickly add up. 

If your customers purchase online, it’s a simple process to set this up through your payment gateway for your website. If they buy from you in person, you can amend the total on your POS machine. 

Crowdfunding Campaigns

You can set up a crowdfunding campaign on a website like GoFundMe or JustGiving. You’ll need to set out clearly and succinctly why you’re raising funds for the charity and the good work it does. Promotion is key to crowdfunding, and social media is a great tool for this. Be sure to use emotive language and imagery to tell your story. You may want to offer certain levels of prizes that can be unlocked for certain levels of donations too. 

Matched Giving Days

A matched giving day can be a very powerful fundraising initiative. With matched giving, you ask for donations from your customer base or your employees and the business matches every donation made. 

You can run matched giving alongside an in-person fundraising event or on a specific day for online donations. It demonstrates a real commitment from your business to raise funds and shows your customers or employees how serious you are about supporting the charity. 

<h3> Skills Workshops </h3>

With a skills workshop, you’re giving back something in return for any charity donations. If you’re a small marketing agency for example, you can run webinars or in-person events teaching other businesses and individuals valuable marketing skills. The price they pay to attend the webinar will all go to charity. 

Similarly, a local carpenters can run skills workshops alongside the local school or youth clubs. Or local restaurants or bakeries can run cooking classes and masterclasses for charity. 

Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns

Cause-related marketing is where you collaborate with a charity or a non-profit organisation and run charitable campaigns on their behalf. A portion of the proceeds will then go to the charity and will in turn boost your corporate social responsibility. Great examples of cause-related marketing include: 

  • The Body Shop: Time to Care – With Time to Care the Body Shop has donated over $4 million worth of their products as care packages to people in need. 
  • Ben & Jerry’s: Democracy is in Your Hands – Ben and Jerry’s created a new flavour, Empower Mint, alongside their Democracy is in Your Hands campaign. This educated people about the barriers placed in low-income communities to prevent them from voting, like strict ID laws.
  • Dove: Self Esteem – Dove’s marketing messages focus on body positivity for women. But they also partnered with women’s charities to create free, downloadable resources for parents, mentors, teachers, and youth leaders detailing how to work with teenage girls to improve their self-esteem. 

The key to good cause-related marketing lies in choosing something that’s closely aligned with your business and highlights your company values. This could be an issue that directly impacts the local community where you’re based, for example. Your communication is vital, often across social media with the best cause-related marketing campaigns utilising appropriate hashtags. 

Leveraging Social Media

The world of social media gives you some opportunities for digital fundraising too. 

Social Media Challenges

We’ve all seen social media challenges like the ice bucket challenge or #NoMakeUpSelfie go viral. With a simple challenge that’s easy to execute, there’s an opportunity for a small business to capture the imagination and get people involved in your charity fundraising. 

But you also have the chance to piggyback on existing social media challenges if you don’t have the means to create one yourself. Movember is a great example of this. All it requires is the men within your business to start the month of November completely clean shaven and attempt to grow a moustache throughout the month. They are then sponsored for the indignity of their often terrible facial hair, with the money going to men’s health charities, particularly testicular cancer research. You can promote their efforts throughout the month on social media and track their progress. 

Online Auctions and Sales

Online auctions offer a fantastic way to raise funds. With an online auction, users bid online for the items you’re auctioning off. 

You’ll need to set a specific date for your auction and get collecting your auction items. You can ask for donations from your employees and your wider business network. The business itself can also provide donations. These could be skills based, like free marketing for local businesses, or product based depending on the nature of your company. 

You can set up an online auction through Facebook or you can also use bidding software like OneCause or QGVI. You’ll need to investigate the mechanism and software that works for you, and make sure you secure some decent prizes that people will be willing to bid for. 

Key to the success of your online auction will be how you promote it. First and foremost, you’ll need to get some great prizes. You can promote your push for prizes on social media first and engage with your local business network. LinkedIn is a good tool for prospecting any potential local businesses online, and you may also want to use any business connection meetings you attend to highlight your need for prizes. And don’t forget to mention it to your clients or suppliers when you catch up with them too.

Social media will also be an essential tool to get people signed up to your online auction. Use the social media channels you’re already active on, detail why you’re supporting such an important cause and highlight the amazing prizes on offer. 

Making the Most of your Fundraising Efforts

Here are a few tips to maximise your small business fundraising efforts. 

Communicating your Fundraising Goals and Progress

Before you start any fundraising drive, you need to set a goal for your efforts. Just like when you sit down to set goals for your business, think about the SMART principle. Your goal will need to be: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound. 

When you have your goal, it should be front and centre in all your communications. When you’re promoting your skills workshop to secure attendees, communicate your overarching goal and detail what their attendance means towards you hitting your target. If you’re asking customers to round up their spend at point of sale in your shop or premises, have posters up detailing your fundraising initiative and your goal. Also make sure your staff are well versed in why you’re fundraising and what the goal is. 

Whether you’re promoting your event in person or online, your potential donors will want to know:

  • Why you’re fundraising 
  • What your goal is 
  • How much you’ve raised so far 
  • How close you are to your goal 
  • The impact that even a small donation can make 

Recognising and Appreciating Contributions

Recognising contributions with your donors is the number one way to nurture positive relationships with them. You want to show them that you appreciate the donations they’ve made to help your charitable cause. Here are a few ideas to help you do it: 

  • Social media recognition: shout about the great donations made to your online auction in terms of both prizes and the money paid for prizes. 
  • Thank you videos for big donations or for round ups of fundraising events. 
  • E-cards to people who’ve made significant contributions. 
  • Personal phone calls to key donors. 
  • Donor recognition walls: if you’re accepting donations from customers at point of sale, for example through a matched giving day, you could take a quick picture of every person that’s donated and create a donation wall in your premises. 
  • Mentions in your regular emails: if you regularly send out emails to your clients or employees, you can thank people by name and include mentions of key donors. 

Leveraging Easyfundraising to Help Raise Money

At easyfundraising, we offer a simple way to raise money for charity with your online shopping. As a small business, do you regularly shop online for business supplies? This could be stationery, office supplies, food for events etc. 

Whatever it is, you can help raise money for charity with most of your online shopping. All you need to do is register your business with easyfundraising. It’s a simple sign-up process that takes minutes. 

Once you do, you can shop online with any of our 7,500+ online retailers and they will make a charitable donation on your behalf out of the money you spend. You need to choose the charity you support by picking from the 190,000+ that we already work with. If you’re supporting a specific charity that we partner with already, it’s just a case of picking them as your chosen good cause. And if we don’t already work with them, you can nominate them to be supported by easyfundraising. 

Easyfundraising isn’t just about your business purchases either. Every time any of your employees shop online, they can support the charity too and make donations with their spend. They just need to create a personal easyfundraising account and then shop with any of our retailers. It’s a simple process and a great way to keep your fundraising efforts ticking along in the background. 

You’ll be surprised how much money you can raise simply by buying the same things with the same suppliers. 

Small Business, Big Impact

You may be a small business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a big impact with your fundraising efforts. Whether you run matched giving days, throw open your doors for a skills workshop or host an online auction, there are so many ways you can make a real difference to your chosen charity. And with easyfundraising, you have a hassle-free solution to boost those fundraising coffers.