Have you ever heard the phrase “every penny counts”? If so, you may have wondered how true that statement is. When fundraising goals are in the hundreds, thousands, or even millions — it can feel like one cent isn’t worth much in the long run.

However, countless successful small-donor fundraising campaigns stand to remind donors and organizations alike that every penny does indeed count. When hundreds of thousands supporters mobilize to contribute small amounts of money towards your cause, your fundraising campaign can be highly successful. Learn more about small-donor fundraising with answers to the most frequently asked questions: 

What is small-donor fundraising? 

Small-donor fundraising is a tactic that focuses on gathering small financial contributions from everyday supporters (also called small-dollar donors). Small donors contribute anywhere between a few dollars and a couple of hundred dollars, unlike major donors that may donate thousands of dollars in one sitting.

In recent years, small-donor fundraising has achieved more and more impact, as donations of less than $250 grew by 15% between 2020 and 2019. This trend is especially evident in the political fundraising landscape, where grassroots donors contributed nearly forty million dollars in the 2020 presidential election

Do small donations make an impact?

Yes, they do! The more people make small-dollar donations, the more people you’ll be able to re-engage to become recurring donors. A donor’s first contribution may be $5, but monthly donations of that size can transform $5 into $50 or $500. Since a small-dollar donor has already made the first step to support your organization, they’re more likely to be receptive to future donation appeals. 

What is the average small donation?

Overall, nonprofit organizations saw average monthly online donations of $52 in 2022 — over a year, this adds up to five times the amount of the average one-time gift of $128. For your organization, the average donation may be smaller or larger, depending on your cause, size, and reach.

How do I set up a small-donor fundraising campaign?

Creating small-donor fundraising campaigns requires only two things: a donation page and a way to spread the word.

There are plenty of donation platforms that you can use to host your fundraising campaign, like:

  • AB Charities: This fundraising tool uses the same platform framework as ActBlue (which was instrumental in driving small-donor political donations in 2020), but is designed for nonprofit charitable giving. 
  • GoFundMe Charity: GoFundMe is popular for hosting crowdfunding campaigns to support particular individuals or families, but organizations can also use this tool to host their donation pages.
  • (Coming Soon) Impactive: Create fun and innovative peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, even ones led by influencers.

Once you have your donation page set up, it’s time to share your page everywhere you can. Reach your donors with social media, email, and text campaigns that link back to your donation page. Make sure to make targeted asks with specific giving amounts to make it as easy as possible for your donors to chip in.

What’s the best way to target small donors? 

One of the most effective ways to boost small-dollar donations is to empower current donors to persuade their friends and family to give. Called peer-to-peer fundraising, this tactic has been proven to drive people to take action; friends and family are more likely to contribute since someone they know is connected to the cause. In fact, nearly 40% of Americans donate to charity because family or friends have asked them.

Overall, small-donor fundraising is an effective and easy way to expand your reach and increase the size of your supporter list. Each small donation can multiply in due time as supporters become recurring donors and encourage their friends to give.  

Sep 28, 2022
Tools & Tech