Exacerbated by our country’s economic problems, non-profits are even more hard pressed to not only sustain their current donor base but to generate new donations. Now is the time to embrace fundraising programs for non-profits that move past selling raffle tickets, seeking direct donations or organizing expensive fundraising events.

The most successful passive fundraising strategies involve creating a program around a product or activity that consumers were going to do, or purchase anyway. And even more effective when supporters do not have to open up their check books (yet again) for a separate or specific donation. E-Scrip is one of the largest passive fundraising programs for schools, utlizing the power of grocery shopping to generate donations. Everyone needs to grocery shop. Isn’t it great that a donation is made by such a basic activity, without costing the consumer any additional dollars.

Better yet, passive fundraising programs can generate donations without competing for the donation dollars. Schools can offer E-Scrip AND other fundraising programs. The key is to offer programs that are based on a consumer activity or product they would purchase anyway. Consider then creating a passive fundraising program with travel as the consumer activity or product.

Everyone loves to travel, and many people do still travel even in these challenging times. What if a family’s holiday vacation generated a donation to your non-profit? Travel is a fun, and often necessary, product that consumers are likely to purchase anyway. It makes sense then to create a fundraising opportunity from a non-profit’s supporter base through travel.

Local travel agents are sometimes willing to work with a school non-profit group to create a small travel program or group cruise to generate revenue back to the non-profit. Cruise lines often offer generous discounts for a group cruise and then donate a free cruise for auction. Larger non-profits may want to look for a company that offers a more comprehensive program that would be able to provide that travel for, and pay a donation from, all types of travel from a member or supporters life such as a hotel stay for a business trip, a family vacation to Hawaii, or going to a conference. To find a program that works for your school’s or non-profits needs just Google travel as a fundraiser.

Such a program generates donations simply by attaching the travel as a fundraiser concept to the travel they had to or wanted to take anyway. Travelers could book their travel with other online travel providers but then their non-profit would not receive a donation.

The travel as a fundraiser strategy is a “passive fundraising” program that generates streams of income without exerting the same resources and revenues as an event fundraiser. The travel as a fundraiser concept uses the force of consumerism to create on on-going revenue stream. A new revenue is generated with a minimum of the non-profits’ resources, time and energy. The viral nature of this fundraising strategy is compelling. Everybody knows somebody who is travelling, will be travelling, or needs to travel.

What makes this even more powerful is that is that it is not limited just to volunteers or supporters of the non-profits. The companies that the supporters work for can use the tools, local businesses that want to help can use the tools for their travel needs; all of this generating donations back to the non-profits. The travel as a fundraiser concept can (and should) be shared via social media. If a non-profit supporter with 600 Facebook friends shares the program virally, the benefit to the non-profit will be exponentially greater!

Providing supporters, their families and friends, and extended networks a way to “give” as they purchase items that are part of their life, such as a travel, is an incredibly powerful fundraising strategy. Supporters can have a weekend getaway, a romantic vacation, a family holiday or even a honeymoon knowing that they are helping make a difference for your non-profits. Imagine yourself on a summer vacation to Europe (or Hawaii, or the Caribbean). Now envision that donation going back to help support your non-profit. Doesn’t that make you smile? When was the last time a fundraiser made you feel this happy?