By Kaley Aposporos, Content Writer at GoFundMe Charity


In the nonprofit industry, we often hear the phrase “every dollar counts” or “together, we can make a big difference.” And there’s a reason for that. Time over time, we’ve seen what nonprofit  communities can do when we rally together to support a cause.

As large donors tighten their spending, you may be wondering how to get charity donations during a global pandemic. It may be time for your nonprofit to reevaluate your fundraising strategy and learn how micro-donations for nonprofits can make a significant difference.

Why are small donations important?

When thinking about donation amounts, it’s important to look at the bigger picture. While big donors can have a significant impact on your organization, you should also focus your efforts on small donors. This way, your nonprofit isn’t relying on one source of revenue.

To give you a better sense of why you need a diversified fundraising strategy, let’s take a closer look at donations during the coronavirus pandemic. During tough economic times, big donors may cut back on charitable giving, which can leave your nonprofit in a deep financial crisis. If your fundraising strategy already incorporates small donors, you can benefit from the people who still want to help but may only be able to donate in smaller amounts.

Not only do small donations can help you reach your fundraising goals but they also present a great opportunity for long term growth. By encouraging small donations, you can attract first-time donors and re-engage previous donors. The more you’re able to attract and engage donors, the more likely they are to become lifelong supporters, advocates, and volunteers.

Four tips to encourage more micro-donations

First, we need to first understand who is donating to your nonprofit to understand why we should focus on generating small donations. To help you better understand GoFundMe Charity donors compared to traditional nonprofit donors, we published a Social Fundraising Data Report for Nonprofits. GoFundMe Charity donors tend to:

  • Skew younger––early 50% of donors are millennials or Gen Xers
  • Make smaller donations when compared to donors of traditional nonprofit organizations––just over 68% of donations were $50 or less

These data points highlight how important it is to encourage small donations. Millennials and Gen Xers are typically making less income while shouldering the financial burden of car payments and student debt. Despite these financial setbacks, they are still donating to nonprofits––just at smaller increments. They will only get more generous with age as they earn more disposable income, which is why it’s crucial for you to build relationships with new and existing donors. If you start small and encourage micro-donations now, you’re setting your nonprofit up for long term success.

1) Tell supporters exactly what their donation will support

In the nonprofit sector, transparency is key. People don’t just want to know that their donation is helping a broader cause. If you’re raising funds to support an after-school program that prepares kids in low-income areas for college, consider sharing their stories. If you’re running a food pantry, gather testimonials from recipients and detail how many pounds of food were donated. These tactics humanize your nonprofit and show your donors exactly what their donations are going towards. Often, these personal stories and visual aids will help potential donors connect with your nonprofit and encourage more donations.

2) Be sure to thank all donors

Make sure to express your gratitude to all donors once they make a contribution, even if it’s a five dollar donation. By taking the time to acknowledge donor generosity, your nonprofit can increase donor retention and encourage recurring giving.

The next time you fundraise for your cause, you can reference your donor database and determine who is most likely to give a second, third, or fourth donation. GoFundMe Charity’s robust analytics tools make it easy to track donor information and segment your outreach, making it easier than ever to engage more donors than ever. See why hundreds of charities are choosing GoFundMe Charity to raise funds for their cause.

3) Run smaller fundraising initiatives

If you have an ambitious fundraising goal, potential donors may be intimidated or believe that their contribution won’t make a difference. According to this GuideStar article, there’s a psychological reason called the completion effect that helps explain this phenomenon. When we complete a project, our bodies trigger the release of feel-good hormones. Simply put, the closer we get to completing a goal, the better we feel. Consider this when asking your donors to give to your cause—you may be surprised how quickly you meet smaller fundraising goals. Keep in mind that you can always increase your fundraising goal as your fundraiser progresses.

To put this idea into action, try running smaller fundraising campaigns to leverage the power of the completion effect. Donors will feel more satisfied knowing that their $30 donation helped you reach your goal of $1,000. The same donor, if looking at a $10,000 fundraising goal, may feel less inclined to donate because they feel like their donations aren’t making a difference in completing your goal. By running smaller fundraising initiatives, your nonprofit will appeal to smaller donors who want to help you reach your goal.

4) Contextualize the value of a donation 

If you work at a nonprofit, you’re likely very familiar with the daily operations or distribution of funds. But, think about your nonprofit from the eyes of a potential donor. What’s the difference between a five dollar donation and a fifty-dollar donation?

Try framing your donation in various increments to encourage interested donors. For example:

  • A $10 donation will cover the cost of 15 face masks
  • A $15 donation will cover the cost of 25 face masks
  • A $25 donation will cover the cost of 50 face masks

This not only frames the value of a donation in a tangible way but offers different tiers of suggested donation amounts.

These suggested amounts allow donors to visualize what kind of impact their donations can have and ultimately encourage more donations. If donors are able to understand the value of their donation as it relates to your cause, they will be more likely to donate.

How to get micro-donations through crowdfunding

With a global pandemic prompting mass nonprofit event cancellations, it’s time to focus your efforts online. Your nonprofit can raise more money, engage more donors, and customize the donation experience from start to finish. GoFundMe Charity makes it easy to get started in minutes—with no signup fees or subscription fees—so that you can keep more of your hard-earned donations.

How Micro-Donations Can Make a Big Impact for Your Nonprofit