A recap of Really Great Fundraising Ideas – That I wasn’t part of creating!

As fundraisers, we are constantly looking for new, impactful ways to boost program performance. We all want our programs to have the best chance at success, and that means testing new ideas. Through the Really Great Fundraising Ideas – That I wasn’t part of creating! webinar, five seasoned direct marketing professionals, both on the agency and nonprofit side, presented really great ideas, that they didn’t create! No matter what metrics your program is looking to improve – both in the direct mail and digital space – they presented a plethora of ideas that might be your next big winner! The following are a few highlights from the presentation.

Send a Card to a Caregiver, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles

During COVID, the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles led an email campaign that allowed donors to pick out, digitally sign, and write messages to nurses and other caregivers in honor of National Nurse’s week in April. After submitting the card, the donor was brought to a donation page where they could make a gift to the Hospital. This idea allows the donor to feel part of the greater good and like they are truly making a difference.

QR What?!

With improved technology, QR (quick response) codes have become increasingly part of our everyday lives. It seems every restaurant (at least near me!) switched from hard menus to QR codes during COVID and have no return in sight. But QR codes can be used for more than just menus! Using QR codes in your campaigns can be a great way to make it easier for donors to give. It can also be a great way to collect data, such as phone numbers and emails, and even create pools of warm prospects. Just make sure your QR code has a working landing page and content is kept up to date!

USPS Informed Delivery Campaign

Through USPS informed delivery, Americans who are signed up can see what mail is being delivered that day. USPS has rolled out a feature allowing nonprofits to place images with links to donation pages along with the scan of their direct mail piece when due to be delivered to a donor. Currently, USPS is not charging for this feature, so the only extra cost might be for additional creative of the ride-along image. This feature provides for additional exposure and provides for tracking opportunities, as the USPS can provide click and open rates. Organizations who participate in this have even found it lifts response, again, at no additional cost! Even better, the USPS is offering a promotion on this right now, offering a 2% postage discount when this feature is used in a campaign!

Legacy Giving Campaign Direct Mail, Online, Email

For groups who have a big revenue stream from legacy giving, consider a multi-channel Legacy Challenge! With a matching gift component, donors who share their legacy giving plans with your organization can unlock a 10% cash matching gift in their name now, increasing the incentive for them to let you know that they have left you in their will and how much they have left you. And consider a matching gift of $500 even for those who don’t want to disclose the amount of their gift! Donors may still be willing to share they have left you in their will but aren’t comfortable going into further details.

Mute This Email

At the end of your emails this Giving Tuesday and Year-End, consider adding a “mute this campaign” button! It allows donors to be put on a suppression list for the rest of the campaign, without being completely unsubscribed.

The Return of “Stuff”

Trends even exist in direct mail! Often, we go back and forth between packages that are simple, containing only a letter, reply envelope, and an insert, to packages that are thick and heavy, containing all sorts of front-end premiums. Recently we’ve been seeing what Karin Kirchoff coined as “the return of stuff.” Organizations such as the Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy are sending larger packages containing items such as calendars, notepads, labels, and booklists with information relating to their cause. While these packages may be more expensive to produce, they definitely are opened by donors!


Did you know that cryptocurrency can be donated? Me neither! The American Cancer Society launched the “Cancer Crypto Fund,” which allows donors to donate cryptocurrency through a widget powered by Giving Block on their website. They’ve even done more than just add the widget, they’ve created a fund seeking to raise $1,000,000 and have even given naming rights to the fund for the first person to donate $250,000 in cryptocurrency. With the rise in cryptocurrency, this is a great new way for donors to give!

It can be challenging to come up with new fundraising ideas, but don’t be afraid to look beyond what your organization has done in the past. You never know what great idea – that you didn’t create – might be you next big winner! And maybe it could be one of these!

This post originally appeared on the Direct Marketing Association of Washington’s blog