Online Fundraising
July 1, 2021

Online Charitable Gaming: A New Generation of Fundraising

Change is the only constant. Over time, with changing situations, needs, priorities and technologies, the ways and means of fundraising and donating have evolved, and so have end goals. Today, for most nonprofits the goal of a fundraiser is more than just raising money—it’s also about developing relationships, building a supportive community and fostering engagement to attract new donors and retain existing ones.  

Factors such as creativity, innovation, growing adoption of technology, greater penetration of the internet, mobile devices and social media have collectively given rise to a new generation of fundraising via raffles, virtual stores, auctions, live streaming various events, peer-to-peer fundraising, and more. The pandemic was a key catalyst in this shift and as with most businesses, it drove nonprofits and charities to go virtual.

The pivot to virtual fundraising

The impact of the pandemic on fundraising has been noteworthy: 62% of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) and charities that converted to a virtual fundraising event saw success and are said to be 10% more likely to be raising at or above their original fundraising goals.  

As the importance of going virtual increased over the past year, many nonprofits and charities struggled to keep up. Some key challenges highlighted were donor engagement, donor fatigue, recurring giving, donor retention and fundraising technology.

To solve these challenges, a multichannel approach to fundraising is the way to go. More and more nonprofits are noticing the benefits of running an online raffle, organizing a peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns and implementing charitable online gaming events.

Related: 5 Digital Trends in Nonprofit Fundraising

Raffles, sweepstakes, and online lottery: Fundraising with charitable online gaming

Virtual fundraising is not new. Until a few years ago, it was limited to simply having an online donation page on the website and running virtual auctions or stores. With the shift in donor demographics (in 2020, 13% of donors across North America were millennials and Gen Zs) and large-scale adoption and advancement of technology, the giving and fundraising landscape is undergoing a major transformation in recent times. A diverse donor pool begs the need to redefine donor personas and get creative with engagement strategies to maximize the lifetime value of donor-nonprofit relationships.

According to The North American Gaming Almanac report, 2019-2020 edition, the charitable gaming market in North America is worth approximately $2 billion and is growing at a rate of 3.4%.

In the world of online fundraising, raffles and sweepstakes have proven to be strong performers staying steadfast even during the pandemic. In 2020, across North America, 47% of donors choose this medium, making it twice as effective as a fundraising tactic when compared with more traditional and established events like auctions (24%).

Related: Fundraising 101: Difference Between Online Charity Raffles and Sweepstakes

3 ways your nonprofit can benefit from charitable online raffles and sweepstakes

1. Increase engagement, drive acquisition, and retain donors

The potential to win millions makes online raffles and sweepstakes a very attractive opportunity for donors. When implemented with the right technology and supported with a solid go-to-market strategy and promotional plan, it can help engage new donors and boost donor acquisition while re-engaging lapsed donors.

2. Reduce operational costs and increase return on investment (ROI)

Running a fundraising event online (versus in-person) means less operational costs and administrative work, access to a highly secure virtual environment, cost savings on printing and purchase of stationery items, efficient collection and distribution of funds, and the ability to reach a wider audience geographically and demographically at minimal cost. What’s great about online raffles is that it helps level the playing field for nonprofits and charities of all sizes.    

3. Get access to real-time reporting

Latest technology in online raffles ensures faster turnaround from sales to the actual event to choosing a winner. It also makes the process of adhering to regulatory and licensing frameworks very easy and fosters transparency with accurate data management and real-time reporting, which can also be used to inform decisions and plan future campaigns.

What are the types of online raffles associated with charity?

There are a few different types of online raffles. The most popular ones are:

  • Sweepstakes: These are the most common form of online contests/raffles. By participating, donors stand a chance to win a range of prizes (may include cash, house, car, etc.). This works as a good option for nonprofits that are on a budget as the prize can be decided beforehand.
  • 50/50 draws: These are similar to a normal raffle, but instead of a pre-decided prize, the nonprofit equally splits the total amount collected with the winner. Usually, there is no minimum amount to participate, and the donors earn a chance to win much more, making 50/50 draws very appealing.
  • Catch the Ace: This is known by many names—Chase the Ace or Queen of Hearts are just a couple of them. It is a weekly online and offline multiple-draw lottery that runs for up to 52 weeks or until the Ace is discovered. The winner selected in each draw gets a chance to win a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of tickets from one draw as well as the progressive (cumulative) jackpot by choosing one playing card from a single deck of 52 playing cards. If the card selected is not the Ace of Spades, that card is removed from the deck and the progressive prize portion of the ticket sales for that draw is rolled over into the progressive jackpot for the next scheduled draw.

Scale up your fundraising game

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Looking ahead, advancements in technology and social media will continue to transform the space of philanthropy, allowing nonprofits to seamlessly scale operations and fundraise globally. The success and outcomes, however, would depend on how well organizations are able to adapt their online campaigns and event strategies to maximize impact for social good, drive engagement and attract donors all year-round. The giving experience is changing; are you ready?

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