How to Drive Impact With Action-Based Donations

Griff Bohm
May 15, 2024
5 min read
Full name
11 Jan 2022
5 min read

Donors have a variety of ways to support causes they care about. Alongside traditional one-time and recurring gifts, action-based donations are gaining traction. This innovative approach allows supporters to donate each time a specific action occurs, leading to deeper engagement and creating powerful fundraising opportunities for nonprofits.

Learn all about action-based donations, examples, and benefits of this donation format.

What are action-based donations?

Action-based donations are a fundraising method where nonprofits set an action and the donor can select the amount they’d like to give when that action occurs. Just like recurring donations, donors can cancel or adjust the donation at any time.

For example, if a supporter wants to contribute to climate change, a nonprofit could ask for action-based donations. The nonprofit could request $5 every time a donor fills up their gas tank or $1 every time they drive to work instead of using public transportation. This keeps the nonprofit top of mind year-round by connecting the donors giving to the the tangible outcomes that your organization hopes to create.

As another example, a local food kitchen could ask for action-based donations every time supporters dine out. Supporters could sign up to give .50 cents or $1 every time they eat out, regularly contributing the small sum to the organization.

action-based donation examples

Real-Life Examples of Action-Based Donations

To show you what action-based donation campaigns look like in the real world, here are a couple of examples.

The Fight Against Malaria Campaign

The organization High Impact Athletes (HIA) connects world-class athletes with high-impact charities. HIA is working with boxer, Dave Nyika, and nonprofit organization, Against Malaria Foundation (AMF), to fight against malaria. Dave fights on the card with World Boxing Council heavyweight title, Tyson Fury, and supporters have the opportunity to donate per punch that Dave lands on his opponent.

As shown below, donors have the option to choose between a one-time gift or an action-based donation based on the number of punches Dave lands.

action-based donation campaign

By involving supporters in this way, the boxer increases engagement for his match and for the Fight Against Malaria. Check out the campaign to see how you can engage supporters around a viral moment.

Defeat by Tweet

In 2020, the Defeat by Tweet campaign asked supporters to donate a small amount (between 1 and 10 cents) every time Trump tweeted. The campaign’s goal was to defeat Trump in the 2020 election cycle and build political power for Black and Brown progressive organizers. This campaign had incredible success raising over $15M from 60,000 new donors in less than 6 months.

In 2024, the Defeat by Tweet team is running a similar campaign to #DefeatMAGA. Every time Gaetz, Boebert, Jordan, Cruz, Hawley, and Greene tweets, each member of the community makes a microdonation to the portfolio of progressive political organizers.

The Benefits of Action-Based Donations

While action-based donations don’t offer the same sustainable income as recurring donations, action-based donations have a few distinct benefits.

  • Involve supporters in real-time: When supporters are giving based on an action, they’re donating in real-time, giving to those in need and consistently connecting with your cause.
  • Create viral moments that grow your donor base: By creating action-based campaigns around popular culture and allowing supporters to rally around these moments, nonprofits create prime opportunities for viral moments. Viral moments spread awareness for your cause, reaching more donors who can become life-long supporters.
  • Increase donations: While the donations are often small, ranging from 1 cent to $5, the donations are at a much higher frequency than standard recurring gifts and from many more donors. The combination of frequency and number of donors can lead to big results.

Best Practices for Action-Based Donation Campaigns

To help you have a successful action-based campaign, here are a few best practices to keep in mind.

  • Ensure the action aligns with your cause: While donating every time you fill up your gas tank makes sense for a climate change organization, it doesn’t make much sense for an animal rescue organization. Align the action to your cause for the best results.
  • Find an event, influencer, or partner: Find a partner that resonates with your mission that can help support and push your action-based cause forward.
  • Promote the campaign on social media channels: Promote your cause on social media and ask your supporters to promote it as well. This type of campaign lends itself to social media channels which can help build awareness for your cause.
  • Welcome new donors: Don’t forget to welcome and nurture new donors. A number of donors may find out about your cause from a friend’s social media post, so use their donation as an opportunity to educate and make them more familiar with your cause.

Get Started With Action Based Donations

Action-based donations offer a unique way for donors to get involved with your organization and connect with organizations on a more consistent basis. Use action-based donations to keep your organization top-on-mind and spread awareness of your cause.

To get started, explore Momentum’s Donation Pages. Compared to competitors, Momentum pages bring in 7X as many recurring donors. Momentum incorporates AI and behavioral research to help you create fundraising pages that lead to sustainable revenue.

Get started with Momentum.

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