Using WordPress for Youth Organization Fundraisers

It can often seem like every organization in the neighborhood is raising money for something. And while people may want to contribute to youth organizations, most households only need so much wrapping paper or fancy popcorn. Instead of working harder to raise money with the same old fundraisers, youth organizations might consider setting up their own WordPress website for online fundraising.

Think about a local high school marching band, which comes with a lot of expenses. Uniforms, instruments, food for long practice sessions, and travel to football games, parades, and competitions can add up to a lot. Local school systems and band parents may need some outside help to cover costs.

The band kids could sell candy, popcorn, donuts, or gift items from catalogs. Those are all traditional fundraisers. Or, they could stand out by creating unique online fundraisers that are fun and a lot more convenient than “door-to-door” sales efforts.

WordPress provides all the tools any youth organization needs to set up online fundraising. You don’t have to be super tech-savvy to use them, either. Check out five options to raise money on WordPress below.

1. Sell one-time products or tickets

If you want to sell simple products or tickets that supporters might purchase just once, the Pay with PayPal button is a great way to go. You can add a Pay With PayPal button to any page on your WordPress site. You don’t have to set up a merchant account or create complex shopping cart procedures. Once the button is on your site, WordPress and PayPal handle the rest — all you need to do is provide a product for someone to buy.

Once someone clicks the Pay With PayPal button, they can log in to their PayPal account to pay with any payment method they have set up. Or they can pay with a debit or credit card.

This option is great for youth organizations that aren’t selling a lot of items or don’t fundraise often — for example, a recreational baseball league that only runs one major fundraiser a year or sells tickets only to the end-of-season championship games.

2. Create ongoing product sales

If you want to create an ongoing fundraising stream in the form of an online store, then you should integrate WooCommerce with WordPress. You can quickly create product pages and integrate several payment options. That’s helpful if your organization already has a payment provider of choice because you can streamline deposits and account efforts.

Some examples of product sales that can work via WordPress and WooCommerce include:

  • A school or recreational sports team selling hats and shirts with the team logo 
  • A church youth group selling handmade items to raise money for ongoing missions
  • A children’s theater group selling posters and other memorabilia from shows

3. Sell tickets to recurring or multiple events

WooCommerce also makes it easy to sell tickets to a variety of events. You can add ticket sales to any page on your WordPress site, so you can sell tickets directly on a blog post about the upcoming church Christmas concert. And you can create and sell different ticket types, so a children’s theater could create VIP packages or sell better seats at a higher price.

WooCommerce offers everything you need to manage ticket inventories, deliver tickets digitally, and create QR codes to streamline check-in at the actual event.  

All you have to do is create a page that details the event, set up ticket types in WooCommerce, and market the event. Send people to the page to buy tickets by sharing links on social media, putting information up on the screen during church, or adding it to signs and programs at organizational events.

Here are a few types of events you might consider selling tickets to:

  • Concerts
  • Talent shows
  • Plays or musicals
  • Pancake breakfasts
  • Spaghetti dinners
  • Silent auctions
  • Games and tournaments
  • Festivals

4. Accept donations right on your WordPress site

You don’t always need something to sell to engage in online fundraising. Getting people to donate does generally require that you ask, though. And it helps if you make it easy for supporters to follow through monetarily.

A WordPress site makes it easy to do both. You can add a Donations block to a page so people can click to quickly donate to your online fundraising efforts. This block lets you accept payments via credit and debit cards.

While you can technically add the block to any page and accept donations anytime someone feels like giving, it helps to combine the block with an actual fundraiser.

For example, a church youth group might want to go on a mission trip. They could create a WordPress site to keep the congregation and others up-to-date on their efforts. Before the mission trip, the site could contain pages about what the youth hope to accomplish, who they want to serve, and why they need help. The Donations block lets people move from that story directly to providing funds.

Youth groups might also create a WordPress site for general use. It could be used to publish lessons and study materials, schedules, and important dates and pictures, and stories from past events. Any time a fundraising need arises, they could create a page related to the effort and add the Donations block.

5. Use WooCommerce for raffle-style fundraisers

Remember that hypothetical high school marching band from the beginning of the article? What if a local hotel wanted to help but didn’t have the cash flow to fund uniforms? Instead, it offers an all-inclusive resort package for two that the band can auction off.

Lottery for WooCommerce makes it easy to run contests, giveaways, and raffles. This is generally a better option for organizations that plan to offer multiple raffles throughout the year. If you’re just selling tickets to a one-time raffle, look back at the Pay With PayPal option above.

Here are just a few ideas for using this for online fundraising:

  • Entice people to buy products with a giveaway. Everyone who makes a purchase this month might be entered into a giveaway for a free product or another prize.
  • Run a 50/50 raffle. In this type of raffle, the amount of the prize depends on how many people purchase tickets. If you sell tickets for $1, for example, and 1,000 are purchased, that’s $1,000. The 50/50 means the organization keeps 50 percent and 50 percent is given to a lucky winner. In this case, the prize money would be $500.
  • Raffle off prizes donated by others. Ask local businesses, members of the organization, and people in the community to provide items that can be raffled off. Sell tickets to the raffle online and then have the system pull random numbers to give away each prize.

When you use WordPress for fundraising efforts, you can get as creative as you want. Whether you’re raising money for a youth sports team, church group, or school club, WordPress can be a great place to start. And when you have a WordPress site, people can follow along with what your organization is doing, making them more likely to jump right in with donations the next time you ask.

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The WordPress.com Team

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