How to Use Venmo for Fundraising

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The world of mobile fundraising can be daunting to get started in if you don’t have anything set up, but if your organization is looking to take your mobile fundraising to the next level, using Venmo for fundraising could be the answer you’re looking for.

What It Is

If you aren’t familiar with Venmo, it’s a money transferring platform meant for people to send and receive payments from approved users. The app is being used for everything from roommates paying their share of the monthly utilities and splitting up the dinner check, to making in-app purchases and paying merchants. These transactions then show up in a Twitter-like news feed, but the transactions are secure and don’t reveal account information or the amount transferred.


How People Are Using It

Organizations that have explored uses for the platform have had to be creative with their strategy. While some have partnered with the app, most have found clever workarounds to get the app to work for them.

Venmo doesn’t allow ads, so simply throwing money at the app doesn’t work. Water Is Life, an organization working to provide clean water to people around the world, used a strategy to get around Venmo’s “no ads” rule. They monitored the global newsfeed and requested one cent from people who recently used the app, with a personalized message saying something like “one cent can’t pay someone back for pizza, but it can buy someone clean water for the day.” Not only did the user they request one cent from see this message, but anybody else scrolling through the app saw it too, creating “ads” on an app that doesn’t sell them. Plus, they kickstarted their fundraising efforts, one penny at a time.

There are other examples of people using Venmo’s simplicity and accessibility to turn a quick profit, like this college student on College Gameday earlier this fall. Your organization probably won’t fare as well asking for beer money, but promoting your handle in front of a lot of people could be a fairly effortless — and successful — strategy.


Why It’s For You

The best way to get people to do something you want them to do is to make it as easy as possible. If you want people to visit a place more often, build a better road. Venmo is like a newly paved, well-lit road to donation city. Provide the potential donor with your account name, and they can search for you in the app and pay you whatever sum they choose. Or, if you want to be a little more aggressive with your fundraising, send requests for micro-payments to people in the community (much like Water is Life did, as we discussed before). It couldn’t be more simple, and as easy as promoting a Twitter or Facebook account. In fact, you should be including your Venmo handle alongside your other social media handles on marketing materials.


Draw inspiration from the successes that others have had in using Venmo. Whether it’s just the start of your mobile fundraising, or it’s something you’re incorporating into an already established strategy, Venmo is a great tool for anybody in the fundraising game. To get help on making an account for your group, Venmo has an easy how-to for getting started.

venmo for fundraising

Austin Heineman

November 2, 2016

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