Campus Community Fundraising

Increasing engagement and accountability between students and community organizations through virtual fundraising

Students sitting at a table collecting dollars or selling baked goods to benefit a nonprofit is a familiar sight to anyone who’s walked across a college campus (pre COVID-19). Students and campus organizations raising money to benefit community organizations is a time-honored tradition, but COVID-19 has necessitated a transition to more virtual fundraising. As students begin returning to campuses this fall, collection jars and bake sale tables may begin to return as well — but should they? Funds collected by students often wind up in jars in their dorm room or in personal accounts, creating messy opportunities for misplaced donations and accountability issues to donors and recipient organizations

Community engagement programs and nonprofits could benefit from a system that allows for more oversight, transparency and direct accountability. In this blog, we’ll cover how university community engagement programs, students and nonprofit organizations can work together to leverage the GivePulse platform for campus community fundraising, providing meaningful ways to give back and impactful opportunities for collaboration. We’ll also provide tools and templates to help you get started on your own community fundraiser. 

How Campus Community Fundraising Works

Community fundraising between campus groups and nonprofit organizations works best when everyone is involved: 

  • Nonprofit organizations set up a fundraiser and connected account. Funds raised go directly to their organization and they’ll have access to all donor information for reporting and stewardship.
  • Students set up a peer to peer campaign connected to that organization’s fundraising page, learning critical skills in project management and communication while making an impact for a cause they care about. 
  • Community engagement programs track the dollars raised via GivePulse’s Impact system, ensuring students get service credit for the time they’ve invested and dollars they’ve raised, and are able to provide oversight for branding and language. 

A great example of campus community fundraising in action is at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where a local nonprofit organization, Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach, transitioned an in-person fundraising event to an online peer to peer opportunity with students at the university. In previous years, students collected dollars from cars stopped at traffic lights or set up tables around campus. This year, participants were instructed to sign up, create their own peer to peer campaigns with goals and fundraise completely independently. Through this fundraiser, Matt Talbot’s Kitchen & Outreach was able to raise thousands of dollars to support those without housing in their community. 

Leaderboard for Matt Talbot's Virtual Huskers Helping the Homeless fundraiser
Student organizations and individuals raked on the campaign leaderboard by how much they raised 

Matt Talbot Kitchen relied upon the ease and impact of peer to peer fundraising. Peer to peer fundraising allows groups and individuals to have their own fundraising pages where they’re able to tell their story and connection to the cause, while all dollars raised go directly to the organization they want to benefit and count toward their overall campaign goals. Tools built into the peer to peer fundraising experience encourage students to raise more than they otherwise would by setting goals, tracking live progress and showing how groups and individuals rank in their fundraising progress on the campaign leaderboard. Every user on GivePulse has access to these features and is able to start using it after a few simple set-up steps. 

Getting Started

For Community Engagement Programs

Campus engagement programs can start offering community fundraising opportunities by engaging with existing community partners. The best way to do this is by messaging current community affiliates to let them know about the funding opportunity. We’ve provided some templates and guides to help you get started in our Community Engagement Fundraising Toolkit. 

Access the Community Engagement Fundraising Toolkit

After connecting with community partners to identify fundraising opportunities, you can help students set up and run a successful campaign with the GivePulse Peer to Peer Fundraising Guide. 

Download the Peer to Peer Fundraising Guide

Community engagement programs can also amplify fundraising opportunities on their GivePulse page and across their network, whether by creating a spotlight that features the event or by promoting an event to the top of the group’s events page. 

GivePulse spotlight for the Huskers Helping the Homeless event
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln created a spotlight to amplify Matt Talbot’s fundraising event on their GivePulse page

For Nonprofits

To start accepting donations, nonprofits simply need to set up fundraising on the GivePulse platform. This takes about 5 minutes and ensures that you never miss an opportunity for donations. 

Access the step by step guide to start accepting donations

After setting up a donation opportunity, we encourage organizations to reach out to their partner campus programs to let them know about the fundraising opportunity for students and campus groups. 

For Students

For students interested in fundraising for a nonprofit organization, a great place to start is to search for them on GivePulse or your university’s GivePulse page. If a group has enabled peer to peer fundraising, all you need to do is click “Help Fundraise” and set up your page. 

Donate Now and Help Fundraise buttons on GivePulse page

If you don’t see a Help Fundraise button on your organization’s page, or can’t find a group or event listing for the organization on GivePulse, contact your community engagement program coordinator, the nonprofit admin or email

Peer to Peer Fundraising Post-Pandemic

Peer to peer fundraising fosters important learning opportunities and outcomes for students, as they are encouraged to coordinate communication and marketing efforts, group participation, and work with community organizations to help meet their direct needs. The peer to peer fundraising tools provided to them through GivePulse can facilitate this learning in an environment that allows them to see the impact of their work while assuring accountability to recipient organizations and donors.

In the post-pandemic world, peer to peer fundraising is still the best option to create fundraising opportunities for students to benefit nonprofits they care about. Whether you’re a community engagement coordinator, a nonprofit administrator or a student, peer to peer fundraising is a better way to facilitate philanthropy between the community organizations in need and campuses who want to give back. Take advantage of the tools and partnerships that exist in your GivePulse community to make the greatest impact possible. 

Questions? Learn more about GivePulse’s fundraising tools or set a meeting with a success manager.