How Non-Profits Can Raise Money Online

Do you realize how powerful this type of fundraising approach can be? In most cases, non profit organizations can easily take advantage of the same tools, action steps and opportunities that infopreneurs utilize to make money online.

Traditionally, non-profit fundraising ideas involve public events and local media to raise money and awareness. This is effective, but it is also limited.

The internet has created a whole new world of opportunity for fundraising, with far greater reach than ever imagined.

Even if they don’t understand it, most people are aware that the internet has become THE best study and reference tool ever invented.

Organizations are now discovering that when you use the internet to provide helpful information to others, quite often there is a way to simultaneously make money without ever compromising your values or vision.

Do you realize how powerful this type of fundraising approach can be? In most cases, non profit organizations can easily take advantage of the same tools, action steps and opportunities that infopreneurs utilize to make money online.


A growing number of individuals and organizations are leveraging the internet to generate revenue from all over the world. This trend will continue as more people discover that it’s not only possible but also that it’s now relatively easy to do.

While most non profits have a website and use the internet regularly as a communications tool, it has yet to be embraced by the non profit sector as a revenue generator. The most common reason is that people simply don’t know how, and they wrongly assume it is still a technically challenging and complicated endeavor. The truth is that nowadays, with a little help, anyone who can surf the internet or check email can learn this.

The internet has created the perfect storm for inexpensive non profit fundraising ideas and campaigns. The benefits include virtually no risk, minimal start-up costs, and the potential to connect with millions of people.

Integrating the internet as a fundraising tool is a fantastic project for organizations to initiate, particularly since knowledge of computer programming or web design are no longer prerequisites to success.

With all the help that is available today, it really is feasible for even the most inexperienced internet users to make money online. Individuals are doing it and, in the years to come, more and more non profits will integrate ecommerce into their fundraising mix.


In-person fundraising events do something very well that the internet typically does not: they make it easy to build and maintain strong, personal relationships with supporters and donors in the real world. The only problem is that they are almost always doomed to a revenue cap.

Fundraising events are limited in their capacity to generate revenue due to:

1. The legal capacity of a venue
2. Geographical barriers (i.e. fundraising in a small town)
3. Finite amount of time and staff/volunteers
4. Low levels of public interest or awareness for the cause within the region
5. Using the internet exclusively as a communication tool and not also as a revenue generator

Many organizations have seen a decline in fundraising due to the economy. When cost containment options and reduction of staff or programs are exhausted, creative and innovative fundraising ideas become necessary.

In addition to support from foundations, corporations and government, the traditional fundraising model is built on strong relationships with donors, which requires the personal involvement of board and staff. While very personal and effective, it is only as available as the resources to implement it.


Whether it’s marketing or fundraising, the more people you can reach with an effective message, the more money you will make. The internet gives you the potential to connect with millions of people worldwide, some of whom will be interested in your cause, subject or area of expertise. Used strategically, the internet can become the most powerful, efficient and cost-effective fundraising tool in your entire organization.

The most astonishing feature of the internet’s potential is the scale – it’s inconceivably massive. Of the 1.6 BILLION internet users worldwide in 2008, 452 million spoke English. There is probably a niche market online for literally anything you can imagine, as well as tons of stuff you’d never dream of in a thousand years. With the right research and strategy, you can connect with enough of these people to generate revenue and contribute to your fundraising goals.


The internet is already being integrated into most non profit fundraising ideas and strategies. The top 5 reasons to use it as a fundraising tool are:

1. Low risk, minimal start-up costs and excellent revenue potential
2. Achievable for most organizations
3. Ability to generate and sustain passive income
4. Access to millions of people worldwide
5. Ability to generate revenue 24 hours a day


Below are the top 10 non profit fundraising ideas that organizations are using to generate online revenue.

Most of the strategies are not new – they have simply been adapted for the internet.

Each one has the potential to raise a lot of money and it’s easy to integrate more than one into a campaign.

Most importantly, every one of these non profit fundraising ideas can be developed and launched with minimal financial expense, or for free. Many organizations already have a lot of content and history to draw upon, and can quickly build a foundation to support these ideas.

The top 10 non profit fundraising ideas which leverage the internet are:

1. Donations
2. Online memberships
3. Newsletter or ezine subscriptions
4. Special Reports
5. Books or ebooks (i.e.: compilations, cookbooks, poetry books, short stories, drawings, calendars, photos, coffee-table books, how-to, resource lists, etc.)
6. Audio products
7. Video products
8. Guides, recommendations and referrals (books or other products or organizations related to your subject)
9. Joint ventures
10. Affiliate programs featuring or related to your cause or subject


With the integration of the internet as a marketing tool, non profit fundraising ideas become limitless. An organization can follow the same basic step-by-step process that individuals do to launch an online business.

Non profits often have a distinct advantage online thanks to their charitable nature and pre-established credibility in the real world. This can play a significant role building trust in a faceless and mostly anonymous medium.


Do you feel your organization could benefit from this concept but not sure how to begin? We’re here to help. We can clarify any questions you have and help you present the concept to your team. We can also help you research, develop and implement an internet-based solution that compliments your organization’s mission, image and values.

Planning an Event?

Bryan Pickell is a passionate and engaging speaker for conferences and fundraising workshops. He is also available for private consultation.

For further information, please contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

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