Is internal resistance to DIY keeping you from your next revenue stream?

Nonprofit Management and Leadership September 6, 2017 By Kevin Wolfe

Many DonorDrive clients are generating substantial income through Personal Campaigns or complete Do-It-Yourself fundraising  programs. But we’re hearing that some organizations (maybe yours included?) are facing resistance from within that’s keeping them from starting a program. If you’re finding this opposition inside your organization, we thought it might be helpful for your plea if you had some straightforward answers to the most common questions from boards and executive staff.

Will a DIY Program generate income?
Yes. The average DIY campaigner generates five times more than an event participant does in DonorDrive. And nonprofits are finding it a great way to keep lapsed event donors involved with the organization.

Will it cannibalize our existing events?
Unlikely. We're seeing event participants create their own Personal Campaigns and then come back to do events the next year. Your strongest supporters will likely do both. Sometimes staff that owns a signature event can feel threatened by DIY. But this is a new revenue stream and not one designed to cannibalize their event.

Will it require extra staff?
Not necessarily, but that depends on your budget. The success of DIY depends what resources you’re willing to put into it. You can set up DIY, promote it well and your supporters will start using it.  But organizations that raise over a million dollars annually through DIY in DonorDrive have dedicated staff to it.

 The average DIY campaigner generates five times more than an event participant.

Is the DIY phenomenon really growing?
Very much so. Your supporters live in a world where they have so many choices. They expect that same freedom in their fundraising. Given the opportunity to set up a wedding campaign and take donations for your organization in lieu of gifts, a supporter can generate substantial revenue and feel they’ve personally had a big impact on the cause.

Are there better options than DIY right now?
Every major nonprofit has a DIY program or is in the process of setting one up. There’s an understanding that DIY is now a necessary offering in their fundraising portfolio. Perhaps more important to remember: not embracing DIY will certainly result in dollars lost, especially as every supporter grows to expect it as an option.

What if it fails?
As a rule, a well-planned, well-run DIY program has the potential to become a succesful new revenue stream for your organization. Making a strong effort to let your supporters know they can create their own DIY campaigns is often all you need to do to get them up, running and a resounding success.

There’s really no valid reason that a nonprofit doing peer-to-peer fundraising should not be offering DIY fundraising to their supporters. Compared to starting a new signature event, DIY will cost much less and can take off much faster.


So what’s DIY?
Do It Yourself fundraising allows your supporters to create their own campaign around a life event like their wedding, their participation in a marathon, or riding their bike across the country. They then fundraise through a fundraising page just as an event participant would. Since they initiated this campaign (as opposed to joining in with a campaign initiated by your organization) they typically raise a lot more. DIY requires minimal effort from the organization and can be quite successful like Ray’s ride which generated $77,000 for MDA. Need more information on DIY? The links below will take you to some great articles:

• Great stats on the success of DIY with DonorDrive clients.

• Why DIY is not crowdfunding.

• Consultant Lin MacMaster explains why DIY is vital for revenue.