Grassroots Fundraising |

Grassroots Fundraising 101: An Introduction

What is grassroots fundraising?

Grassroots fundraising is a broad term to describe fundraising strategies and tactics that motivate groups of people, who are passionate about your cause, to work together and encourage people they know to donate small gifts, like $10 or $25, that all add up to meet a specific goal or meet a need.

These efforts can harness the power of social media by going viral on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok. The most famous example of a grassroot effort is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge which raised $115 million and increased research funding by 187% for the ALS Foundation.

How is grassroots fundraising different?

The biggest difference is that grassroots fundraising is driven by volunteers. Traditional fundraising relies on staff or professionals. While nonprofits may start campaigns or provide the tools, these campaigns raise money by empowering individuals to gather donations on their behalf. Donors and volunteers encourage their friends and family to also contribute a small amount and  continue spreading the opportunity within their own networks of people online and in real life.

Watch our webinar on keeping grassroots donors engaged.

What are types of grassroots fundraising?

Successful fundraising tactics usually include some form of online giving. These online programs include peer-to-peer giving options, online donation forms, and easy ways to share your cause on social media.

  • Peer-to-peer: this strategy is used when raising funds to participate in runs, walks, or virtual events. Once your organization sets up an account, individuals can create personal fundraising pages to share with their friends and family.
  • Small-dollar gifts: organizations can ask their donors and membership lists to contribute small amounts to meet a bigger goal. This tactic works great on social media, such as Giving Tuesday, or through email campaigns.
  • Monthly or sustainer giving: an easy way to leverage grassroots donors is to ask them to make a small monthly gift. If a person makes a one-time gift of $10, ask them to contribute $10 each month. Over a year, that small ask adds up to a big gift of $120.

What tools do you need?

Grassroots efforts can be successful on a shoestring budget. The most important tool to have is an online donation platform, such as Anedot. This will allow organizations to set up donation forms that can be shared by participants or embedded on websites. Since email is the most successful grassroots fundraising strategy, email programs like Constant Contact are helpful. These programs are an inexpensive way to build your email list and target messages to different groups of supporters.