Disaster Relief Fundraising: 5 Ways to Do It | CharityHowTo

Disaster Relief Fundraising: 5 Ways to Get Smarter with Your Crisis Fundraising Efforts

Depending on your nonprofit organization, you may be - at one point or another – tasked with fundraising quickly. 

Whether it’s a crisis, a natural disaster, or something else entirely, disaster relief fundraising is something that plenty of organizations depend on. 

But crisis fundraising comes with its own sets of challenges, apart from standard nonprofit fundraising. 

So, it’s time to get smarter with your nonprofit disaster relief efforts! And we’re helping you do it with these 5 ways to increase your crisis fundraising efforts: 


The Challenges That Come With Disaster Relief Fundraising:

But before we get to ways to increase your crisis fundraising, we need to know what we’re up against. 

Because, as we mentioned before, disaster relief fundraising comes with its own set of challenges. And knowing what those are beforehand can help you get smarter in how you choose to raise funds to aid in a crisis! 


Challenge #1: Your Organization Needs Action Quickly

With “regular” online nonprofit fundraising, you have more time to nurture your supporters and donors. This is crucial because who wants to be “sold” to as soon as they find out about a business or a nonprofit? 

So having nurture campaigns like nonprofit email newsletters, posting to social media, and publishing content to your blog goes a long way in warming your supporters up.

Once they are warmed up, then they’re more likely to make a donation. 

But with disaster relief fundraising, you need action quickly. There’s not as much time (if any!) to warm new potential supporters up to your organization.  

So working that into your fundraising strategy is crucial to getting the revenue you need to make more of an impact. 


Challenge #2: Your Organization, Unless You Specify Otherwise, Needs Monetary Donations

When disaster strikes or when a crisis unfolds, people want to help. But a lot of the time, people think it’s a great idea to donate goods and food items. Things like clothing, blankets, canned goods, and the like all start making their way to organizations. 

But, often, those aren’t the donations your organization needs. 

Your nonprofit needs monetary donations because you don’t know exactly what you need until someone on the front lines tells you. 

So your nonprofit needs to offer monetary support wherever it’s needed, rather than only offering items that might not be needed. 


Challenge #3: Many Scammers Come Out of the Woodwork to “Raise Money”

As nonprofit organizations, we’re all about making the world a better place! 

Unfortunately, some people aren’t as kindhearted. A lot of people prefer to take advantage of disasters or crisis events. 

And they start coming out of the woodwork to scam people out of their money. Not only does it make people less trusting of all nonprofits, but it keeps people who need the support from getting it. 

Keep this in mind as you develop your nonprofit disaster relief fundraising strategy!


5 Ways to Increase Your Crisis Fundraising Efforts

Now that we know what challenges to keep in mind when it comes to crisis fundraising, we can tailor our strategy to be prepared for it. 

Here are 5 ways to increase your nonprofit’s disaster relief fundraising: 


1. Reach the Right Audience Using Social Media Ad Campaigns

When disaster strikes, your nonprofit has to act quickly. You can (and still should!) use your social media platforms to inform followers about your campaign. But organic content does have its limitations. 

More and more, followers aren’t seeing organic content due to algorithms and their behaviors on the platforms. 

But using social media ad campaigns, like Facebook ads for nonprofits, is a great way to make sure the right content reaches your audience. 

You can target what content you want to prioritize. So you can make an entire fundraising campaign solely for your crisis fundraising efforts. 

And you can target who you want to reach, based on their interactions on your nonprofit social media page, their interests, and their behaviors. 

It’s a quick way to reach out to supporters who are already following you and to new supporters who may not even know you exist yet! 


2. Get In Touch Super Quickly with Text-to-Donate Disaster Relief Fundraising

Did you know that 90% of text messages are read in about 3 minutes? That’s super important when it comes to disaster relief fundraising! 

Not to mention, the average donation size for text to give fundraising is a whopping $107.

So utilizing this nonprofit technology trend is one major way to increase donations during a crisis! 

And you can learn more about text to donate fundraising on our sister site! 


3. Launch a Disaster Relief Fundraising Email Campaign Based on Previous Donors

Again, since we’re acting quickly, you need to reach out to supporters who already know, like, and trust your nonprofit. 

That’s a fantastic way to increase your crisis fundraising efforts because you won’t have to walk them back through the donor journey. 

Launch a fundraising email campaign and send it to the segment of your email list that has donated in the past 6-12 months. 


4. Collaborate with Organizations on the Front Lines

This is a perfect way to make sure the people on the front lines are getting what they need. You can collaborate with them and ask them point-blank – what is it that you need most? Do you need food items? Clothing? Anything in particular? 

You can also ask them if it would be better to have monetary donations rather than physical goods. 

Going based on a collaborative partner who is actually there is a great way to make sure anyone who is in distress gets what they need.

5. Be Transparent About Where Funds are Going

Since scammers come out from everywhere to try advantage of horrible situations, you have to double down on building trust from your supporters. And you need to do it quickly! 

One of the best ways to do that is to be completely transparent about where funds are going. 

That can be specific copywriting, or even an entire section dedicated to where your nonprofit is sending funds on your online donation page. 

Maybe you create a nonprofit video to embed on your donation page. You can either showcase your collaborative partner or your own staff and volunteers that are on the front lines. 

Either way, give your supporters information about this right away! That will quickly build their trust in your organization. And you’ll be more likely to receive more donations. 

Disaster relief fundraising comes with its own set of challenges. But knowing those challenges and building your strategy around them can help you find success in your fundraising efforts.

Try using these 5 tips to help you build your strategy around those challenges, too!


Want more related to this? Check out these training videos! 

FREE Nonprofit Webinar! How to Use Gratitude to Build and Strengthen Relationships with Donors and Supporters

How to Meet and Exceed Your Next Fundraising Goals: Fast Track to Fundraising Success

Virtual Donor Engagement: How to Connect with and Engage Your Donors Through Virtual Experiences


Topics: how to fundraise, fundraise