Online Fundraising
October 4, 2021

6 Ways for Nonprofits to Increase Fundraising ROI with Online Charitable Gaming

As an organization that relies on donations, you want to ensure that your funds are contributing to the cause as much as possible. Seeing the impact of their donation can be a powerful motivator for donors. However, in order to raise funds, you need funds. This is why Return on Investment (ROI) is important—it allows an organization to ensure that it is not wasting money on fundraising activities with poor ROI. 

Usually, when a nonprofit hosts an event and there is a huge turnout, it’s common to call the event a success. But is this usually the case? Knowing the ROI of the event eliminates guessing. There are a few ways nonprofits can aim to increase their ROI. In this article, we will focus on increasing ROI through online charitable gaming. 

Related: An Introduction to Online Gaming-based Fundraising for Nonprofits

What is fundraising ROI?

Fundraising ROI refers to how much it costs you to raise money. For instance, if you want to raise $1, you need to spend less than $1 on that activity or you will be losing money. This means that the less you spend, the better the returns. 

It's important that for each fundraising activity you do in your nonprofit, you calculate the ROI. This is how you will be able to know which activities are the best. For example, if a walk-a-thon raises $5 for every $1 spent. And an online charity raffle brings $10 for every $1 spent, then it's clear you are better off focusing on online raffles. 

How to measure fundraising ROI

To calculate ROI, make sure you consider all the costs associated with the fundraising method. Make sure you include staff time as well. 

So, as an example, let's say the amount raised was $100,000. And you spent $30,000 on that fundraising event, it means your ROI is:
= [($100,000 - $30,000)/$30,000] x 100
= [$70,000/$30,000] x 100
= 233.33%

Types of fundraisers

While there are plenty of fundraising ideas, they are usually grouped into two—online and offline. The one you choose depends on your goals and resources. Let’s look at some of the most popular fundraising ideas.

  • Virtual auctions: These are probably among the most popular virtual fundraising methods. You can sell just about anything at the auction. The success of a virtual auction is dependent on how well you define the rules for your participants, promote your auction items online, and set up competitive bidding options.
  • Online charitable gaming: This type of fundraiser has become very popular in recent years. Some of the key reasons being that they are easy to organize and have great ROI. Examples include Catch the Ace and 50/50 draws. In an online 50/50, ticket sales are held through a dedicated website. The concept is similar to that of a normal raffle but instead of a pre-decided prize, the nonprofit organization or charity equally splits the total amount collected from the sale of tickets (which are a form of donation) with the winner. The donors earn a chance to win large sums of money which makes 50/50 draws very appealing. This simple, easy, and cost-effective method of raising funds far outpaces traditional fundraising efforts, making it the smarter choice for savvy nonprofits.
  • Direct solicitations through mail and phone: Although not as popular as before, you can send letters or emails to your donors asking for donations. If you have a team with great sales skills, phone solicitations can also be a great way to get donations. 
  • In-person events like galas, marathons or talent shows: These are the conventional, go-to options for most nonprofits. Unfortunately, they are costly to organize. And as witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns can make this form of fundraising very challenging to execute.

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How charitable gaming can help nonprofits increase ROI

Regardless of what the cause is, online charitable gaming has proven to be one of the best ways to raise funds. Let’s look at how charitable gaming can help you increase your fundraising ROI. 

1. Huge cost savings

When you are running an event in person, you have to book a venue, hire security, hire volunteers, decorate the place, buy food, and so much more. All this costs money. But when it's an online charitable gaming event you are organizing, there is no venue to book, food to buy or any other such overheads. The savings are amazing! 

This leaves you with funds for other activities that really count—one of which is marketing. Without a proper marketing budget, you will fall into what’s called the Nonprofit Starvation Cycle, a state in which the organization lacks the infrastructure to survive. 

2. Better planning and allocation of resources

You would be amazed at the amount of data you have at your fingertips when you run a charitable event online. You can get data on who is taking part in the event, how much they are donating or how they are learning about the event. This allows you to make plans based on facts, not assumptions. It also enables you to allocate resources more intelligently. For example, if you see that most of your donors are coming from TikTok, you might want to add more effort there and focus less on Facebook, which may have been your first choice for marketing. This also means you will be able to maximize your reach while reducing your expenditure.

3. Better targeting

Digital fundraising allows you to take advantage of digital advertising with platforms like Facebook, Instagram or YouTube. Remember, not everyone who can donate is your ideal donor. Digital advertising allows you to target your campaigns to primarily be seen by the people who are likely to give to your cause—your ideal avatars. This is good for your ROI as it enables you to optimize your ad spend and media budget.  

4. Save on donor acquisition 

Online charitable gaming helps you to avoid paying twice to get the same donors. That’s because when people decide to take part in your online charity raffle or sweepstakes, they give you plenty of information, from their email address to their name. All this information plugs into your donor database which you can then use to contact them later. You can slowly nurture them and get them to commit to your cause. This allows you to ask for more donations later without any more expenditure on acquisition. 

5. Easy testing and quick implementation

The fact that it's so easy and quick to set up an online charitable game means that you have the chance to test what strategies will work best. For example, you might try a 50/50 raffle this month and a sweepstakes the following month. The setup costs for both these events would be minimal than if you were to do them in person—where you would still have to book a venue, run marketing campaigns, pay security, etc.  

6. Benefit from easy sharing

After people enter your charitable game, you can then also ask them to share the event with their friends and family. It’s easy and it takes about a minute. With enough shares, you can reach millions of people without spending another extra dollar on advertising. For the best results, you can also consider incentivizing sharing. 

If you are like most non-profits, you have limited resources. Implementing a strong fundraising program that yields good ROI and attracts donors is key to the success of your nonprofit. Online charitable gaming is an easy way to multiply your ROI and achieve your fundraising goals. 

How to increase fundraising ROI with online charitable gaming - infographic

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