Online Fundraising Academy: Cultivating a Fundraising Army

Online Fundraising Academy: Cultivating a Fundraising Army

In GlobalGiving’s fourth session of the Online Fundraising Academy, we invited Marshall Bailly, the Executive Director and Founder of Leadership Initiatives, to share tips for cultivating a strong donor network. In 2014, Marshall and his team raised more than $260,000 through GlobalGiving. He has built relationships with a core group of donors that regularly support Leadership Initiatives via various promotions. He has developed a comprehensive strategy for campaign outreach and communications, including local donor mobilization in Nigeria, where Leadership Initiatives operates.

Session Recording:

Session Notes:

Leadership Initiatives (LI)

  • Partners with local government and business leaders in Nigeria to provide promising individuals with entrepreneurial, leadership and project management training.
  • Founded in 2004, LI started small and then over time slowly built up its donor network. Their strategy was to first approach the people they knew and then build their network out from there. To create a strong donor network, you first must create strong “buy-in” opportunities for donors.

Donor Committee: You can’t do it alone!

  • Because fundraising has to meet both short term and long term goals it is important to create a group of supporters to help develop goals and support the organization’s growth.
  • The donor committee consists 7-8 individuals who help raise money and set a fundraising agenda. Initially the committee included mainly long-time friends of the organization, however, it has since branched out to include board members, dedicated donors, and corporate partners.
  • Create a one-month, six-month, one year and five year plan for where you want your fundraising goals to be. Additionally, make sure the plan has reachable goals to motivate your committee.

Donor Captains

  • Donor captains allow you to share the fundraising burden by finding new donors.
  • By bringing new people into the organization, donor captains take on a leadership role and become part of the team.
  • In 2013, LI had 10 donor captains who were each in charge of getting at least 10 people to donate, and in 2014, LI had over 20 donor captains for five separate matching events.
  • Donor captains create an atmosphere of friendly competition to encourage one another to raise the maximum amount of funds available.

LI’s five donor network leader types:

  • Social Leaders – Individuals who know a lot of people. Ultimate goal is to create a generation of donors who stay connected and fundraise with LI over many of years.
  • Specialty Type Donors – Individuals with jobs that can help you get special services and connections to improve your organization.
  • High End Donors – Individuals who typically donate $1000 or more. Through constant contact you can help them become stronger donors. Build up trust, allow them to provide their input, and help them find pride in the work they’re supporting.
  • Corporate Sponsors – Organizations that donate $1000 or more. Find corporations who have a vested interest in the work or community your organization is involved in, and who is interested in partnering with you.
    • Make sure your corporate sponsors know how much you value them and how much their contributions mean to your organization!
  • Business Alliance Program Students – Partnered with high school students who raise money to help each Nigerian business partner receive skills training and additionally work to solve a few of the developmental problems. In exchange, each student receives help with SAT training, scholarship and college entrance essay assistance, and letters of recommendation. LI then continues this partnership with students as they enter college and later the business world.

Tips to note:

  • For every donor LI gets, they also have at least 20 who say no.
  • Don’t keep chasing “white whales” – at some point, you cannot continue to chase people who are uninterested in your story. Instead, chase those who care and really want to know more about your organization. Follow up and work with people who care, as they are the individuals who will transform your organization.
  • It is a learning curve – you won’t always succeed on the first try, and that is okay! Keep trying, keep learning, and remember that you will make it.

It’s a challenging environment!

  • Each organization is fighting for their share of local donors. You must find out what really matters to your donors.
    • Success stories must connect emotionally, and the call to action must be distinct for your individual donor captains and your individual donors.
    • Put a face to the problem – donors can talk/skype to people on the ground
  • LI created a comparison chart showcasing how LI is different from other organizations and why donors should give to LI rather than to other similar organizations.

Develop a path forward

  • Separate your organization out of the mix by communicating a focused, distinct mission.
  • Differentiate your organization through outcomes, emotional storytelling, progressive posture and unique business models.
  • Elevate your organization as a leader in your field. Continue to lift your reputation by better leveraging endorsements from GlobalGiving and other partners.
  • Prioritize your audiences; make sure they know how much you appreciate all they do, and that your organization is where it is because of them.

Make your supporters lives easier:

  • LI has found better ways for donor captains to fundraise and get donations from donors: Paypal card readers, Bank of America Debit Cards, reporting forms where captains can report funding expenses and funds raised
  • Provide online materials for donors for each fundraising event
  • Easy access to matching day project pages. For instance, it’s easier to say rather than Both pages go to the same place, but the first link makes it easier for donors to remember where to go.
  • Created a graphic explaining GlobalGiving’s donation benefits, making it easier for donor groups and captains to show potential donors why GlobalGiving is beneficial.

Question & Answer

Q: Are newsletters a good way to recognize donors?

A: First we make sure our donors want to be mentioned. Some donors do want to be mentioned, while others prefer to remain anonymous. If donors don’t mind, it’s a great way to recognize their contributions.

Q: How do you mobilize international donor captains?

A: We will start by finding a captain who has either a credit card or Paypal. We then will normally have everyone on the ground in Nigeria pool their funds, and then the captain will donate all of those funds on the card or through Paypal. We find people who have been assisted by our organization and really want to give back. That individual will most likely want to continue the cycle of transformation in their community and can reach out to friends and family in their network, creating a culture of giving back.

Q: How do you recruit people to be a part of the fundraising/donor committee?

A: Each year we’ll send out emails to top donors, letting them know that because of their commitment to the organization we want to challenge them to not only give more, but to also invest more in the organization by joining the donor committee. I then will set up calls or meetings  with individuals, explaining the duties of the committee and the different sub-committees.

Microsoft YouthSpark Bonus Day – April 14, 2015!

Microsoft YouthSpark Bonus Day – April 14, 2015!

GlobalGiving is excited to announce the next Microsoft YouthSpark Bonus Day – April 14, 2015!

The campaign will run on and from 09:00 am EDT until 23:59 EDT with one consolidated leaderboard on announcing donations, bonus prizes, and matching funds. There will be $100,000 in matching funds and 5 bonus prizes. Donations will be matched 50% up to $1,000 per donor per project.  Bonus Prizes will be awarded to projects/microprojects with the most unique donors.

To learn more, register for a Webinar here:

How to join YouthSpark

April 7th is the deadline to submit your eligibility to participate in Microsoft YouthSpark April Bonus Day.

Joining YouthSpark

Ebola 100% Matching Campaign

Ebola 100% Matching Campaign

On April 1st at 00:00:01 EDT (see what time this is in your city) and will match eligible donations 100% while funds last for Ebola focused projects. There will be $100,000 USD in matching funds on and £15,000 of matching funds on

The fight to eliminate Ebola and rebuild after the crisis is long from over. After reaching zero cases of Ebola, Liberia recently announced a new case in the country. Sierra Leone continues to fight the outbreak, with the president recently announcing a three-day lock-down for the country. Guinea struggles with civil unrest while the number of cases is increasing.

We invite organizations, who are working on Ebola related efforts, to participate in the match campaign.

The Ebola Match Campaign is running concurrently on the and websites! This is a fantastic opportunity for all eligible partners to gain additional funding, gain more exposure, and offer your UK & US supporters a direct and relevant way to give to your project while also gaining country-specific tax benefits. If your projects are not currently on both GlobalGiving US and GlobalGiving UK, now is the perfect time to cross post!

  • If your project is currently listed on and you would like to cross post your project to GlobalGiving UK‘s site, let us know here.
  • If your project is currently listed on and you would like to cross post your project to, let us know here.

The US & UK campaigns will start at the same time, however please note that there are different match funding pots available, different leaderboards (found on the and websites respectively), and different terms and conditions.

To make things a bit simpler, we have created a quick comparison table of the two campaigns to help with your campaign planning and communications.  The full terms and conditions for each campaign are included below.


Online Fundraising Academy: Creating a Campaign Strategy

Online Fundraising Academy: Creating a Campaign Strategy

Maureen Dugan, Executive Director of Arlington Academy of Hope, and her team raised $115,000 in matching campaigns on GlobalGiving in 2014! After participating in GlobalGiving’s first Online Fundraising Academy in 2013, Maureen returned for the third session of the Online Fundraising Academy to share her advice and insights with this year’s cohort.

Session Recording:

Session Notes:

Build Consensus

  • Explain the benefits of a GlobalGiving partnership to your board of directors and supporters

    • Besides Bonus Days, GlobalGiving offers a variety of technical tools and feedback which aim to make your organization more successful

    • Discuss details with your board so they understand things like GlobalGiving’s 15% fee (Learn more about it here)

  • Create a Q&A: Give your board and supporters written answers to common questions that they can use to address concerns from their networks, friends, and families

    • You will find that people often have similar questions, so this will help to minimize confusion, build excitement, and inform your base on how they get best get involved and share information with others

  • Get your base to be enthusiastic supporters

    • Let them know how you expect them to participate – ask them to get on board and help you, and also let them know how they can help make the most out something like a Bonus Day

Make a Plan – Focus on Who to Target

  • Regular donors – If they don’t usually donate through GlobalGiving, ask them to help specifically on a Bonus Day to raise a larger amount of funds for a specific project.

  • Lapsed donors – For donors that haven’t given in the past few years, this is an opportunity for them to rejoin your donor base.

  • Board of Directors members – Ask them to give, but also to be ambassadors for your organization and project

  • Friends, Neighbors, Colleagues

  • Write template messages for each group that they can then share with their networks, friends, and colleagues

  • Don’t hesitate to send updates throughout the day, letting donors know where you are in relation to your goal, and how they can help contribute to get you over your goal


  • Set a fundraising goal for the day

  • Use email, Facebook, and Twitter

  • Use succinct and compelling messaging to highlight why Bonus Day is important, stress the urgency of giving now, why your donors matter, and why you need them to participate to raise this bonus money

  • Be consistent, but be different!

  • Show local efforts

  • Time messages – 1 month out, 1 week out, day before

Minimize Glitches

  • Occasional glitches will happen – wrong website, project, or day. It’s okay!

  • Create and use the link to your project page in all messaging to minimize confusion. Paste a hyperlink to your project page in all of your messages and on your website.

  • Some donors require more explanation, and some might not do online giving. That’s okay too!

  • Have your Q&As ready.

You don’t have to do it all – figure out what is most important for your organization and what’s doable for you right out of the gate. The resources will continue to be available, and as you’re ready you can begin trying more new things.

Question & Answer:

Q: If you have several projects active on GG, should you choose just one for the Bonus Day?

A: We tend to use just one project per Bonus Day to minimize confusion. It pays to recommend one project, rather than have donors try and choose a project. In your messaging leading up to it, focus on that one project and provide the link to that project page in all your communication.

Q: Is it better to use a microproject for a Bonus Day?

A: It depends on how big your microproject is. Microprojects must have a fundraising amount between $250 and $10,000, but some organizations raise more than $10,000 in one Bonus Day, so it depends on how much you plan on raising. Learn more about microprojects here.

Q: What is the cost of Facebook promotion and have you seen success?

A: It depends on how many people you strive to reach. We typically will spend $100 on promotion and narrow it down by geography and age that best represents the people interested in our organization, as well as to people who have “liked” our organization and their network. We usually will post for specific things like Bonus Days.

Q: What kinds of questions should we have answers for?

A: For your board – generally more internal and financial answers related to GG, such as why it’s worthwhile to fundraise through a third party and why GG charges a fee. General public questions typically include: Can I write a check for Bonus Day? Does the Bonus Day donation have to be on the GG website? How will you know if I gave? Will you add my email to your email list? Can I support another one of your projects? What is GlobalGiving?

Q: If our organization is receiving funding from a foundation, is it appropriate to ask their staff members for donations?

A: It depends on your relationship with that foundation. A Bonus Day might not be the best place to initially invite individuals to give. Instead, you should start a relationship with them and invite them to give in a more personable way. If you host events in their area, invite them to attend, staff can then decide as individuals if they want to give to your organization.

This post was written by Destiny Nobles, Program Team Intern.

New Feature: Referrals and Campaigns

New Feature: Referrals and Campaigns

You asked. We listened… and delivered! Check out the new additions to your GlobalGiving dashboard. Based on your feedback, we are excited to launch a new feature that will give you the ability to see the campaigns in which your organization has participated. And, for the first time, you will also be able to see the number of times your organization has been referred to a potential GlobalGiving corporate partner!

screenshot dashboard