In this digital age, nonprofits are getting more creative than ever with their creative fundraising efforts. The most recent example is Uber’s collaboration with the ASPCA to raise awareness and funding for cat adoption. We have already written about why Uber is a good model for nonprofit organizations. However, the app-based car service may have even more insight than we initially thought.

On October 30, National Cat Day, Uber took the Internet by storm with its announcement that users would be able to make a donation and receive a visit from a car full of kittens. Customers donated $30 for the privilege of a 15-minute cuddle session, every dollar of which went to the local animal shelters that had supplied the cats. Kitten deliveries were available in Austin, Chicago, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington. The event was so popular that it was nearly impossible for many people to even see the little felines. Disappointed users received a message that all kittens were “currently cuddling.”

The total number of donations is still being calculated, but individual cities are reporting success. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the event drew in more than $1,000 for the Washington Humane Society. Most importantly, Uber Kittens was highly newsworthy, drawing articles from The Washington Post and other high-profile publications. Even if people weren’t aware of their local animal shelters before, the kittens likely helped these organizations to reach a new audience.

Creative partnerships, such as the one between Uber and the ASPCA, can lead to increased donations. The two organizations leveraged the best parts of each one and combined them for an unforgettable event. Uber allows customers to find a driver with a click of a button. Animal shelters have cute animals. Combine them, and you’ve got real-time kitten delivery. What’s not to love?

Creative fundraising on Uber Kittens.

Whether you choose to work with another organization in fundraising efforts, or simply make the most of what you have, creativity can often lead to great things. Eleventy Group has some additional ideas about how to make this work. According to the website, there are two central aspects to creating a unique fundraising event. First, it should be different from common strategies such as runs and walks. Second, it should be thematically tied to your nonprofit’s mission.

When you work with cute animals it’s relatively obvious how to make your event unique, but every organization has something special to use. Eleventy Group points out Movember, an annual event that raises awareness about prostate cancer and other men’s issues. If you’re not familiar with Movember, the idea is to grow a mustache all month. According to the website, the community has raised $559 million and funded more than 800 programs in 21 countries. It also notes that 4 million mustaches have been grown across the globe.

Planning innovative events is a great way to raise awareness and funds for a cause. With tools like donation management software, new contributors can become lifetime givers.