Top fundraising ideas for grassroots success

It’s a great time to be a grassroots fundraiser. The Internet, online social networks, fiscal sponsorship, and an uptick in enthusiasm for DIY projects of all kinds mean that, in many ways, it’s easier for individuals to raise money now than ever before.

That said, this is also an age of information deluge, and it can be tricky to weed through all the fundraising ideas out there to find what will work best for you.

ioby is all about helping people get their neighborhood projects off the ground, and that includes a lot of fundraising. Below, we’ve compiled our top fundraising ideas into a handy list.


Fundraising ideas

But what is ioby? (aka: Why should I listen to your fundraising ideas?)

ioby is a crowd-resourcing (crowdfunding + resource organizing) nonprofit that helps local leaders implement and grow their ideas for bettering their neighborhoods, one block at a time, all across the U.S. Since 2009, we’ve helped to fund over 1,000  grassroots projects with more than $3  million in crowdfunded cash.

We’re the nation’s leading platform for citizen-led, -designed, -funded, and -implemented community improvement projects. In the short term, we’re delivering resources to grassroots leaders. Long term, we’re fostering stronger civic infrastructure and positive, lasting change in our country’s neighborhoods.

We do this in a few major ways:

  • Our platform. On the ioby website, you can post, promote, and fundraise for your project.
  • Our resources. We help you every step of the way. Read our guides, attend our webinars, and talk with our knowledgeable staff to make sure you feel confident and comfortable at every stage.
  • Our sponsorship. If you need a nonprofit to receive donations on your behalf, we’re happy to help.

Okay. Now that I know you’re awesome, what advice can you give me?

We’re glad you asked! Here’s a list of the Top 7 Fundraising Ideas we’ve collected over the years :

1. Build a team. We know this is your brilliant idea for bettering your neighborhood, and you deserve credit! But our experience has shown that teams raise money about six times faster than individuals. So before anything else, we recommend you find at least three other awesome people to embark on your project with you.

2. Be specific. Potential donors want to know exactly where their money’s going. Instead of just asking for funding to build a community garden, spell out that you need $300 for a tool shed, $100 for soil, and $75 for a wheelbarrow.

3. Set a reasonable target. “How much should I ask for?” is one of the questions we hear most. Of course, it all depends on your project, but remember that the less you need to ask for, the more likely you’ll be to achieve full funding. Our Leader Toolkit   lays out every step of the budgeting process.

4. Know your donors. You’ll need to tailor your campaign marketing to appeal to them specifically. Does your target audience work with kids? You can safely use education jargon. Are they local sports fans? Go to some games. Are they on Twitter? If not, don’t bother Tweeting about your project night and day

5. Tell a sticky story. By sticky, we mean “sticks with you.” Making sure your fundraising language is authoritative, focused, and dramatic (and/or funny) will make your story memorable and your project stand out. Find more tips in our  Leader Toolkit.

6. Shout out your deadline. Donors are more likely to give to projects with urgent funding needs. Plus deadlines keep you and your team accountable.

7. Plan more, work less. This is the old ounce of prevention, no less true in fundraising than anywhere else. To get started planning, let’s get started talking! Tell us your big idea for improving your neighborhood.

Great. But I’ve also heard some fundraising ideas that didn’t sound so lovely…

Perhaps you’re referring to the Top 3 Fundraising Myths?

1) You need a glamorous, never-been-done idea. Not so! People raise real money for ordinary things all the time: community gardens, neighborhood murals, after-school programs… You just need to have an achievable idea, do some planning, and put some time into it.

2) Most crowdfunding campaigns fail. Well, it depends on where you’re looking. Kickstarter’s full-funding success rate is about 40%; Indiegogo’s is about 12%. At ioby, we’re sitting pretty at 80%! The difference? We think it’s all the resources, support, and coaching we offer our leaders to help them succeed. Here, you won’t be tempted to just set up a page and let the money roll in (because trust us, it won’t). We help you market your campaign on and offline to build donor interest and trust—then you’ll see the Benjamins.

3) Fundraising campaigns annoy people. Okay, this can be true, but not when they’re done right! People love giving to causes they care about. If you use ioby to get your project off the ground, you’ll learn about how to work with your donors to keep them happy, engaged, and giving.


Cool, I’m getting the hang of this fundraising thing! What should I do now?

  • If you’d like to learn more about what ioby is and does, see our About page. To read about the small fees we charge to stay in business (we’re the best fundraising deal on the Internet!), see our Fee page.
  • If you already have a project in mind, visit our Idea page to tell us about it and get the ball rolling.

We hope you’ve found these fundraising ideas helpful, motivating, and maybe even enjoyable to read. As always, we love to hear your questions and comments—please drop us a line.


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