A fundraiser is all about achieving a goal or fulfilling your mission. Usually, you start from nothing and work your way towards something. By setting a target you give volunteers and donors alike a tangible understanding of what they’re out to accomplish – the milestones and tasks of the everyday – and how they’re supposed to organize a strategy around it. One tool that’s been used for that purpose at least ever since its invention in the 1700s is the fundraising thermometer.

Achieving goals with the fundraising thermometer

It really boils down to a simple concept. You place the target amount at the top and color the tube in various degrees as your mission’s piggy bank gets heavier with funds.

The pros of a fundraising thermometer?

The purpose is to provide motivation and incentive to your volunteers, plus a touch of transparency to your finances. It invites your donors to have a peek behind the curtain and see how their money is stalking up to serve a good cause. Additionally, you can come up with a quirky or creative design for your campaign thermometer. It will raise spirits up in the long run.

The cons of the donor thermometer?

Publicizing your campaign by using one will certainly not harm your PR, but the mercury thermometer archetype tends to be a bit overused and, on account of that, ignored.

In the past, neighborhood churches and schools were displaying a large wooden board version of the fundraising thermometer to attract attention. As expected, the concept lent itself to a little bit of Internet polishing over time. Nowadays, fundraising thermometer widgets and savings apps grace the charts.

Nonprofits and charities can now trace the heart beats of their campaign easier.

The Fundraising Thermometer – Is Your Campaign Running a Fever?

You’d probably want to answer that question in the affirmative. As mentioned above, the goal is to reach the tip of the thermometer where donations run high and boiling hot. Below are some tools specially designed for the purpose.

Fundometer – A Fun Savings App

Fundometer for a fundraising thermometer

Being organized and planning a fundraising strategy top to bottom goes a long way. However, easier said than done. There’s always turning points along the alleged straight way, unexpected events from something as small as a flu epidemic among the volunteers to a global financial crisis sinking the nonprofit market into temporary inactivity.

For that, you should always keep an eye on your fundraiser and safely store its progress, preferably somewhere untouchable, like for example the Cloud.

Apps are the latest gizmos to pave your way into every corner of our lives. Including fundraising. The Fundometer, for example, is designed to help you create a digital thermometer for your goals and keep count of your savings.

You can let donors or the general audience in on how the fundraising is going by sharing its progress. Also, you can keep track of the people who contributed so you can send thank you notes and invitations to events you might be planning in the future. You can purchase unlimited thermometers for $3.99.  You can also add the Fundometer widget for iOS 8 devices.

The WordPress Thermometer

Olimometer measuring up as the best fundraising thermometer

If you’re using a WordPress medium for your nonprofit’s online profile or for a particular fundraising event, there’s no scarcity of free WordPress fundraising widgets to choose from. Some of them display note-worthy features like PayPal integration and customized skins. To serve our purpose, we’ve filtered the mass of options down to the gold and silver winners that also feature a fundraising thermometer as their core concept.

The Donation Thermometer runs a simple shortcode to display a classic thermometer image measuring the amount of money donated. You can customize the images by playing with the fill and text colors. In addition, you are given the freedom to choose if you want to display the target, amount and percentage raised.

The Olimometer. This WordPress fundraising thermometer is a level up from the Donation Thermometer. It offers PayPal and StayClassy integration. It won’t limit you to one thermometer. Plus, the customization panel is definitely more varied.

Excel Thermometer Chart

Excel template fundraising thermometer

Considering YouTube tutorials have covered both the basics and the depths of how to create a goal thermometer in Excel, we won’t delve into the technicalities here. However, we couldn’t afford to skip this option because it’s simply one of the most complex and useful methods of tracking your progress. Consequently, here are some of the pros of charting your financial goals in Excel:

Diversity – ‘Fahrenheit to Celsius’, Excel templates come in overwhelming numbers. Choose to your eye’s delight.

Learn from past experience – Keeping track over an extended period of time will help you look back at which days you’ve raised more money, analyze your movements for those days, and see if you can correlate anything you did differently to the success or failure your campaign registered.

Unstick from the Basic

In our constant search for originality, we’re now reinterpreting the concept of the fundraising thermometer by ditching the classic, tried-and-true Fahrenheit design. Instead, we’re launching a quest for the most innovative goal thermometer idea. The following ones are customizable on your fundraiser’s central theme.

It Sells Like Hot Pie

A round apple pie as a fundraising thermometer

It should be the new motto for your custom fundraiser. For example, if you’re selling bakery products to raise money, why not employ a pie graph as an alternative to the classic thermometer? There’s a multitude of pie charts online. However, we’d rather enjoy the physical sight – and, above all, smell – of an actual apple-pie.

Let your donors know the rules. Your pie pan is empty. It will only fill once you achieve the financial target for that day. With each donation, you add a slice of pie on the tray. If a passer-by simply can’t resist the temptation, he can make an appropriately huge donation just to have a slice of the pie. Then all the better. By the end of the day, your pie pan might be all leftover crumbs. However, you will have satisfied your donors with a good treat and your piggy bank with a full belly.

A Christmas with Hot Temperatures in the Thermometer

Snowman Christmas Bulb as a fundraising thermometer

Christmas has come and the time of cheer and goodwill is upon us all. The actual thermometer might be showing freezing point temperatures outside, but you can’t allow your team’s spirits to sink low at a time like this.

A beloved symbol during the holiday season is the Christmas tree. Your nonprofit can make a small investment in purchasing one in order to use it as a fundraising thermometer. This involves stringing up one light or a bulb or a candy bar every time someone makes a donation. A bare Christmas tree is a depressive sight. No one with any Christmas spirit in them would pass the chance to make a small contribution to see it lit up by the time Santa Claus comes into town.

For the grand finale, and once you’ve reached your financial target, crown it with a tree-topper.

How Does Your Fundraising Thermometer Read?

At the end of the day, whether you are a school or church fundraiser or a nonprofit with a social mission, your volunteers and donors will enjoy the fundraising thermometer idea simply because it operates as a beacon of hope. It does more than measure your progress. Ultimately, every dollar pushing the bar a little bit higher towards the peak is proof that gestures of kindness are not an obsolete trend.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6