Is passive fundraising right for my organization?

Published on 20 May 2021 by Auctria

After the event fundraiser concludes give your supporters an opportunity and easy way to continue donating without using their checkbook or credit card. Shopping is a year round activity, let your charity be the recipient while your supporters are making ordinary purchases.

Is passive fundraising right for my organization?

Whether we’ve registered it or not, we’ve all been exposed to passive fundraising. Sometimes referred to as “set it and forget it” programs for gift card, grocery, and/or catalog purchases, these programs have likely crossed the path of many a parent or nonprofit donor.

What do they mean? How do they work? And, is passive fundraising a right fit for your organization?

That all depends on how you manage your program.

Certainly the “set it and forget it” model is a fantasy that’s too good to be true. If someone promises you it’s that easy, it would behoove you to walk away and look for another partner.

There are a multitude of shopping programs available. Generally they work something like this: your donor/supporter signs up for the program and has to click certain links to get a portion of the money they spent designated back to your cause. These programs are critically important right now because they provide a way for people to give back to the causes they care about most without having to make a donation out of their pockets. They are already shopping online and won’t have to pay extra for the items they purchase to benefit the organization they’ve chosen.

Motivated to Give

Even now donors are still motivated to find ways to give. The Nonprofit Leadership Center states that, “Even amid a public health pandemic, recession, civil unrest and a divisive political climate, a recent study by Fidelity Charitable found that 43% of donors plan to continue supporting their usual charities.”
When selecting your shopping program be sure to keep in mind that you will have to market it to your constituents. You may do this by including it in your newsletters or by making it a stand alone feature on your website, via emails, and social media campaigns. Keep in mind that marketing best practices say you may need to make between five to seven touchpoints with the shopping program in order for your donor to act. Other great ways to get this information in front of your donors is to promote it at events (virtual or in-person) and to use it as a follow-up communication.

Shopping and Contributing to Your Cause Year Round

If we take a look at all of the potential opportunities for holiday shopping we can see that it isn’t limited to just the winter season:

  • January: New Year's Eve & resolutions
  • February: Valentine's Day & Presidents’ Day
  • March: St. Patrick’s Day
  • April: Easter
  • May: Mother's Day & Memorial Day
  • June: Father's Day
  • July: 4th of July
  • August: Back to School
  • September: Labor Day
  • October: Halloween
  • November: Thanksgiving
  • December: You know the drill here

These holidays provide an excellent opportunity to capitalize on an online shopping program that will benefit your nonprofit, school, team, club, or faith-based organization every month of the year.

Ordinary Household Shopping Contributing to Your Cause

Outside of the holidays, how many times do you buy gifts for birthdays, graduations, baby showers, weddings, anniversaries, and everything in between? How much are you spending on average?

Beyond those purchases, how often do you shop online for household items, sports equipment, clothing, pet supplies, grocery delivery, books, hobbies, toys, and entertainment? What does your monthly budget look like for those items?

What if every time you bought cat toys and dog treats a portion of your purchases benefited the ASPCA? What if every time you purchased window cleaner and paper towels it gave back to a food pantry? What if every time you bought a pair of sneakers it helped cure breast cancer?

Gift Cards: and you can double dip

Forget about outdated gift card programs. There is a new way to fundraise with gift cards that is hassle free, and you can double dip.

If you’ve been in the fundraising industry for any amount of time, (and especially in the education sector) you’ve likely run into Scrip programs for gift cards. A simple internet search will lead you to the myriad of complaints that customers have dealt with in the past when it comes to dependability within these programs.

The issues are incredibly frustrating because gift cards seem like a real no-brainer for the fundraising industry. Donors are shopping 24/7/365 for friends, family, and colleagues--even more so due to store closures or limited capacity of occupants during the pandemic. Largely due to that fact, and the nature of increasing online shopping, gift card sales are soaring worldwide and are predicted to break $400 billion dollars in 2021 according to Statista.


ShopRaise offers a new way for your nonprofit, school, team, club, or organization to capitalize on this growing trend.

When you incorporate a shopping program into your fundraising mix, you create the opportunity for your donors to give generously without spending an extra dime out of their pockets.

Curious to know how ShopRaise works?

Integrate ShopRaise into your donation platform including your website and social media. You can contact your donors to let them know that when they are conducting their everyday shopping, they have the ability to give back to your cause without paying anything extra. The ShopRaise program is free to you and free to them.

The double dip comes in when shoppers purchase an online gift card (with simple and easy delivery to their inbox) and can then use them to shop at our 1,000 participating stores–which will donate a portion of every purchase back to your cause. That’s multiple donations to your organization without your donor having to spend anything extra from their pockets!

It’s a fast, simple, and easy way for you to generate bread and butter donations to keep your nonprofit steady and earning. We’ve got to get creative and find new and meaningful ways for donors to give meaningfully to the causes they care about most.

As everyone gets through the rest of the holiday rush, now is a great time to capitalize on gift card sales and add ShopRaise to your fundraising suite.

ShopRaise provides you a free and easy way to earn unrestricted funds for your organization every time your supporters shop. We also create customized marketing campaigns for you to take care of the heavy lifting. With as little as one hour per week you could be well on your way to earning every time your donors purchase online--all without them having to spend anything extra. What could be easier than that?

Special thanks to ShopRaise for sharing the facts about passive shopping fundraising.