How to Make Your Fundraising Efforts Go Viral

Viral marketing is the holy grail of online salesmanship. Having a product, game, or website go viral… that is, be passed on and promoted by word of mouth, personal e-mail forwards, and social media recommendations… is the quickest, cheapest way to spread the message about your product or service.

The benefits of viral marketing don’t stop with online retailers, however. Non-profits of all sizes can use the same tactics to make their fundraising campaigns spread like wildfire, being passed on from person to person and group to group.

If you’d like to see your fundraising campaign go viral, either online or off, be sure to follow these important tips:

1. Make Your Ask Bite-Sized
$10,000 asks don’t go viral. $10 asks do. If you’re trying to start a viral fundraising campaign, make your asks bite-sized and concrete: $10 to buy a mosquito net and stave off malaria… $27 to send 3 kids to school for a week… $5 to feed one family for one day.

2. Find “Sneezers”
There’s nothing a virus likes more than a good sneeze, spreading the germs far and wide. The same is true for your viral fundraising effort. Find supporters who are good sneezers… that is, who have a broad network and aren’t shy about promoting your charity. Task these supporters with heading up your viral campaign and spreading the word about your efforts.

3. Boil Down Your Message
Viral marketing relies on good, succinct, easy to explain concepts. Make sure that everyone who is working on your fundraising campaign can quickly, accurately, and passionately describe the need. Instead of, “Our organization was founded in 1924 by three Philadelphia social workers for the purposes of collaborating with…” use, “We save kids from starving. $12 will feed a child for a week. We have a child who needs your $12 today!”

4. Make it Easy to Give
Be sure that you make it as easy as possible to give. If you’re running a viral fundraising effort, set up a separate web page that allows people to give directly to the campaign easily and in the right chunks. For example, if you’re raising $25 donations to pay for vaccinations, this campaign-specific page should ask how many vaccinations the donor wants to sponsor… 10 for $25, 20 for $50, etc.


6 Responses to How to Make Your Fundraising Efforts Go Viral

  1. […] We’re Reading, Week of 1/18 From A Small Change… How to Make Your Fundraising Efforts Go Viral Jason at over at A Small Change discusses “the holy grail” of online […]

  2. […] A Small Change can help “Make Your Fundraising Efforts GoViral.   Non-profits of all sizes […]

  3. […] There’s a great post on the “A Small Change” blog about making your fundraising efforts go viral. […]

  4. Thanks for the tips. I think we’ve got this down, just need a good sneeze now.

  5. Fantastic advice. This article deserves to go viral! :) I love the term “sneezers” btw; gross but true.

  6. DonationPay says:

    ‘Sneezers’ is a great term and perfectly captures the desired outcome of a viral marketing campaign!

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