Successful Fundraising Campaign Examples: The 7 Best Nonprofit Examples

March 27, 2020
5 minutes

Successful Fundraising Campaign Examples: 7 Best Fundraising Campaigns for Nonprofits During COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread, stress within the nonprofit sector increased and deepened. But as these examples of successful fundraising events showed, resolve and planning also crystallized, giving us some incredible successful fundraising campaign examples. But the struggle is no surprise—nonprofiteers have been facing enormous challenges forever.

During the COVID season of unprecedented separation, hoarding, and fear, nonprofits kept moving the progress of missions across the world. We've heard your calls that this wasn't easy, that pivoting so sharply gave you metaphorical whiplash, your worried voices saying that approaching donors with additional asks and taking traditional fundraising efforts online seemed impossible.

In the days following shut-ins and shut-downs, we also witnessed the nonprofitsphere fire up like it's never done before. Nonprofits planned their best nonprofit campaigns & fundraising ideas shone brightly, lighting the direction that giving is going.

7 best fundraising campaigns: Kick-ass nonprofit fundraising campaign examples during COVID-19

Check out these innovative, exciting & successful charity fundraising campaigns that stared down COVID-19 fundraising challenges—and won!

1. DigDeep's World Water Day fundraiser campaign (updated for 2021)

With their initial 2020 goal set at $90,000, DigDeep quickly blew past that by relating their water-focused fundraiser campaign on the need to have water for handwashing. This tactic allowed DigDeep to exceed even their second goal of $120,000, meaning they more than doubled their World Water Day contributions from 2019 to 2020.

In 2021, DIGDEEP took it even further and doubled their 2020 goal—and then smashed that by over $10k!

DigDeep's World Water Day 2020 Campaign Site

2. CFTK dance marathon online fundraising campaign (updated for 2021)

CFTK has been dancing for 21 years in support of UNC Children's Hospital. In 2020, not only were there worries of COVID-19 contamination, but campus was closed down and students were gone. By digging into virtual fundraising ideas and pivoting to a virtual dance marathon online fundraising campaign and expanding social media outreach, CFTK was able to brighten the lives of sick children considerably. Watch their reveal video to see how much CFTK was able to raise through their new virtual dance marathon format.

3. charity: water's COVID-19 crisis donation campaign—the pick of the best water donation campaign examples

charity: water connected a water crisis donation campaign to the spread of COVID-19 using a quiz that brought to life the urgency caused by a lack of water around the world. If you’re looking for donation campaign examples to do with water, charity: water is the gold standard.

charity:water's COVID-19 crisis campaign site

4. Beyond Blindness' Destination Independence Virtual 5k Walk—one of the top virtual fundraising advertising examples

Beyond Blindness (previously Blind Children's Learning Center) took quick action to protect vulnerable members of their community by taking their 16th annual walk online. Weekly workouts on Facebook Live, as well as professional footage of students completing the walk kept donors engaged, making it an excellent example of the best fundraising advertising examples. There’s no doubt that walking is one of the best summer fundraising ideas, and Beyond Blindness has totally embodied that with its Destination Independence campaign.

A screenshot from Blind Children's Learning Center's Virtual 5k Walk

5. Epilepsy Foundation Texas' #EFTX Virtual Walk to End Epilepsy—another example of successful donation campaigns around walking

This virtual peer-to-peer campaign is one of the most unusually engaging successful donation campaigns, with t-shirts to earn and discussion questions to answer live during the walk, which the nonprofit asked all donors to stream on the platform of their choice.

Epilepsy Foundation Texas' Virtual Walk to End Epilepsy campaign site

6. Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Extra Life campaign—our choice of the best gaming fundraising campaigns for nonprofits

This one is big. It's an outlier, meaning we're not going to tell you, "It's easy! You can do this in 20 minutes with your smartphone!" Backed by, the annual Extra Life campaign is already partly and remains as one of the best fundraising campaigns for nonprofits around gaming. But COVID-19 led CMN to turn the 2020 campaign into a 100% virtual event, Extra Life United: Online Edition. Check it out if you want your mind to be boggled.

Extra Life United 2020 Online Edition campaign site

7. Basset Hound Rescue of Southern California's Virtual Spring Games—#1 most successful fundraising campaigns for hounds

Jumping right into the spirit of social distancing, BHRSC took their annual Spring Games virtual with video and photo challenges for donors, like a talent contest, costume contest, and even a social distancing photo challenge! Raising money for a dog rescue may sound unrelated to something as global as coronavirus, but BHRSC reminded supporters that pet rehoming and owner surrenders increase greatly in times of recession.

We have to wonder if these happy hounds are aware of their contribution to one of the most successful fundraising campaigns during the COVID-19 crisis!

Basset Hound Rescue of Southern California Virtual Spring Games 2020

Successful nonprofit fundraising campaigns: key takeaways

The secret to successful nonprofit fundraising campaigns is organization and patience. As with most aspects of the nonprofitsphere, there's no magic spell to make a fundraiser successful—it takes time, practice, and a willingness to identify what we can do better next time.

The examples listed above relied on teams and technology working together, creativity, and ab openness to the wild, weird, and wonderful.

These are nonprofit capital fundraising campaign examples that prove nonprofits can make their missions happen in the midst of mayhem. You can, too.

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