Leveraging Influencers to Raise Money for Your Nonprofit

In the digital age, many people look to influencers to make decisions about the brands and products they use, especially with the younger generations. Marketers have leveraged this fact and found success with influencer marketing campaigns, which is expected to reach $13.8 billion in 2021.[1]

Influencer marketing isn’t limited to brands and products, however. It can be a powerful tool for charitable organizations and charitable nonprofits to tap into incredible audiences that value philanthropy and social responsibility. By partnership with an influencer, a nonprofit can boost fundraising campaigns and collect donations to reach a fundraising goal.

What is Influencer Marketing

At its basic level, influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that leverages product endorsements and product placement from people who have a solid social media following and considerable influence in their niche.

Influencers have the ability to persuade, and they can use that to push products or take on brand ambassador roles. For nonprofits, an influencer can raise money and awareness for nonprofits to realize a fundraising goal.

Nonprofits often have challenges reaching Gen Z and millennial audiences, especially in the digital age. These generations are less likely to attend a professional fundraiser or similar fundraising methods. An influencer can cut through the noise and reach the audiences most likely to align with the nonprofit’s mission, which can significantly impact fundraising efforts and capital campaigns.

Benefits of Influencer Marketing for Nonprofits

Here are some benefits of using influencer marketing as part of the digital marketing strategy for charitable nonprofits.[2]

Influencers can:

  • Help you reach a new audience
  • Provide authenticity to campaigns
  • Turn followers into lifelong brand advocates
  • Create backlinks to your website
  • Develop fundraising ideas
  • Host capital campaigns
  • Receive donations from supporters
  • Build a social media following
  • Enhance a professional reputation
  • Spread the word about charitable efforts
  • Facilitate corporate sponsorship
  • Gather followers to team fundraise
  • Support nonprofit advocacy
  • Reach the younger audiences immune to traditional advertising
  • Gain press coverage for event fundraising or sports fundraisers
  • Promote charitable giving

Types of Influencers

Top-tier influencers have 200,000 to 1 million followers. These are typically celebrities or public figures that built a following through more than just marketing. Though harder to partner with, these influencers may be more likely to get on board with a charitable nonprofit and fundraising events.

Middle-tier influencers have 50,000 to 100,000 followers, which is ideal for charities looking to grow a brand. These influencers are likely to want partnerships with nonprofits to help their own reputation and have an excellent following and reach for your fundraising organization.

Micro-influencers have one to 45,000 followers, which isn’t a huge influence, but their followers are typically more passionate and invested in their recommendations. This could mean more individual donations for your event fundraising.

There are several things to consider in choosing an influencer for a partnership. Both the influencer and the brand need to consider the impact of each other’s reputation – you reflect on each other, especially as a charitable nonprofit.

The tier of the influencer isn’t as important as aligning with an influencer who shares the nonprofit’s values and mission. Influencers with a niche for activism or philanthropy may fit better with the charity.

The goals of the campaign also matter. If you’re going for reach and awareness for a charity auction or fundraising, a middle-tier influencer may be more valuable. If you want more engagement with the brand overall to boost online fundraising efforts, then a micro-influencer may have more impact with the small but passionate audience for charitable giving.

Many influencers use multiple social media platforms, so it’s important to consider which ones they’re most active on and whether they speak to your target audience. Keep in mind that influencers can gain new audiences for your brand, however, so don’t be afraid to partner with one on an unfamiliar platform.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, make sure the influencer genuinely cares about your cause. Influencer marketing thrives on authenticity, so you want a creator that will show passion in their content creation to represent your cause in a positive way.

How to Create a Fundraising Partnership

Once you’ve chosen the ideal influencers, follow them from the nonprofit social media account and engage with their posts by liking, commenting, and sharing. You’ll not only build a relationship, but you’ll get a feel for the way they approach their craft.

Once you’ve spent some time on social media, contact them using an email address or direct message on the social media platform. Email is generally more professional, but be sure to include a link to the website and social accounts and give them the option to contact you there as well.

In the message, mention who you are, what you’re looking to do, and how you think they can help. Be clear about what you think they have to offer and include links to collect donations from supporters.

If the influencer agrees to a partnership, take some time to get to know each other better and lay out clear expectations for both parties. The influencer and their online fundraising content will be connected to your brand, so you want to ensure that you’re putting the best face forward.

Once the influencer has published a post, like and share it with your own followers.

Boost Your Nonprofit Fundraising Campaign with Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a powerful tool for virtually every industry, but it offers unique benefits for nonprofits. Partnering with the right influencer can boost your fundraising efforts and attract loyal and passionate advocates for your cause. Choosing the wrong influencer can damage your image, however, so be sure to make a careful selection and work with the influencer that will portray your brand and your cause in the best possible light and gain fundraising success.


[1] https://influencermarketinghub.com/influencer-marketing-statistics/#:~:text=From%20%241.7%20billion%20in%202016,reach%20%2413.8%20billion%20in%202021.

[2] https://mediatrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Harnessing-the-Power-of-Influencer-Marketing-For-Charities-RH.pdf