3 Tips to Engage Families in Your Org’s Fundraising Efforts

By: Debbie Salat

When it comes to creating a strong base of support for your nonprofit, one of the best strategies you have at your disposal is to not just engage individuals in your mission, but families. After all, by engaging a donors’ entire family in your fundraising efforts, you’re bringing in far more support than that single donor could offer. 

On top of that, you have the opportunity inspire children with your mission as they’re growing up, engage a greater number of community members, and create more memorable fundraising experiences.

This all sounds pretty great, but the burning question still remains: how exactly can you boost involvement and engagement in your fundraising efforts among families? To help you crack the code, we’ll be take a look at the following tips for more successful family-based fundraising:

  1. Encourage individuals to get their families involved.  
  2. Host family-friendly events and campaigns. 
  3. Thank families for their support. 

From effective fundraising ideas to donor recognition best practices, these strategies should put you on the path to better inspire, entertain, and engage families in your mission.

  1. Encourage individuals to get their families involved. 

This one sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how tricky it can be to prompt your supporters to share your mission with family members. Part of the problem is that your supporters may not be engaged enough in your mission—while they care enough to occasionally donate, they aren’t in a position where they would passionately be advocating for your cause to friends and family. 

In order to overcome supporters’ apathy and initiate advocacy, nonprofit storytelling can be a powerful tool to infuse into your outreach materials. In particular, creating compelling calls to action and engaging donors in the ongoing efforts of your organization can help to galvanize them, get them on their feet, and encourage their families to pitch into the cause. 

Additionally, effective nonprofit storytelling can provide your donors with an idea of the kind of language they can use to inspire their families’ support. Here’s a glimpse at a few ingredients that make up the secret sauce to storytelling

  • Leverage real and specific stories, people, and statistics to demonstrate your impact and bring your mission to life.
  • Use narrative elements, like a protagonist, challenges, and your nonprofit’s journey.
  • Personalize and humanize your messaging with donors’ names, supporters’ personal details, and a friendly and warm tone.
  • Use tactile details to appeal to readers’ senses.

Be sure to use multiple channels and different content types to maximize the effect of your storytelling efforts! For example, you can use social media, email, and your website to send written impact reports, video messages about campaign updates, and other materials. The idea is to get your existing supporters so excited about your fundraising efforts and your mission that they share these opportunities with their loved ones.

  1. Host family-friendly events and campaigns. 

If you’re hoping to engage families in your fundraising campaigns, then it’s easy to just throw out the advice of using “family-friendly fundraisers.” But what exactly makes an event or campaign “family-friendly?

Our approach is to strike a balance between engagement for adult donors and children, finding fundraising opportunities that your older supporters will enjoy and children can attend or help with. 

Here are just a few examples of fundraising ideas that come to mind: 

  • Popcorn fundraisers. Popcorn fundraising is a classic product fundraising idea that involves inviting people to sell and buy popcorn on behalf of your organization. This simple, delicious fundraiser is not only easy for families to engage with, but rewarding for donors. Children and parents will be eager to share the bags of kettle corn, cheddar popcorn, or whatever other flavors they’ve ordered—all on behalf of a charitable cause.
  • Bake sale fundraisers. There are few fundraisers as quintessential as a classic bake sale. This sweet campaign invites families to bake, sell, or buy desserts on behalf of your organization—an easy request that many adults and kids alike would be happy to fulfill. 
  • Fun run fundraisers. If you want to get your supporters on their feet with a more active fundraiser, then a fun run could be a great way to engage families around your community. Just be sure to set up an easy-to-follow, smooth track so that young children won’t stumble as they run, walk, or skip through your event!
  • Game night fundraisers. A game night is a great event to bring the families together for an evening of simple fun and competition. For a small entrance fee, families can go head-to-head and enjoy tournament-style rounds of bingo, parcheesi, and other classic games in the pursuit of prizes—including bragging rights!
  • Cookie dough fundraisers. Cookie dough sales are another timeless product fundraising idea where families can sell or buy their favorite cookie dough flavors while supporting your charitable mission. For best results, we suggest seeking out the help of a cookie dough fundraising provider, such as ABC Fundraising, to facilitate long-distance delivery, ensure the dough is stored properly, and equip you with the infrastructure and products to host the most successful campaign possible.

As you’ll notice, these fundraising ideas vary quite a bit in style and structure. However, the quality that unifies them is the fact that they provide opportunities for donors of any age to jump in, enjoy themselves, and participate with their loved ones!

  1. Thank families for their support. 

As any seasoned fundraising professional will tell you, donor recognition is an essential part of the fundraising and stewardship process. As is said in this Fundraising Letters article on donor thank-you letters, sending thank-you messages “kick starts your donor relationship and sets you up for future engagements with that supporter.” 

Of course, there are several different ways that you could go about thanking and acknowledging your donor families. You might: 

  • Write and send out classic donor thank-you letters. Be sure to personalize your messaging, such as using donors’ names and other donor data from your database to make your supporters feel like they’re being genuinely acknowledged. 
  • Create an online appreciation page. Create an spotlight section on your website’s homepage or create a unique page to shout-out and thank you supporters. You can include a gallery of photos, videos, and other forms of media to engage families that click onto the page and remind them of their experience with your organization.
  • Send video messages. Video messaging can be an especially powerful and engaging way to thank your supporters. With the power of video, you can easily broadcast your gratitude and share valuable content with many supporters at one time, bringing families together to watch your heartfelt messages. 

The bottom line is that acknowledging your donors’ support, no matter how small, shows that you truly appreciate their involvement—which can greatly affect a family’s decision to participate in future campaigns. 

Getting parents, children, and other family members to come together and engage in your fundraising campaigns is no easy task. But with these crafty and effective fundraising strategies, you should be in a far better position to create generations of support for your mission and rally families together around your mission.

Scroll to Top