Step 4 (continued). Online Giving

The Internet is becoming an essential tool for fundraising. The Internet can allow you to fundraise in many ways including:

  • Gaining additions to your mailing list through the "sign our guestbook" feature
  • Researching information about potential donors, particularly foundations and corporations
  • Giving people a chance to donate online
  • Communicating your mission and information about activities to members and potential members
  • Networking with other organizations
  • Sending out e-newsletters to your members to keep them informed

Keep in mind that creating a Web site often means a significant amount of money upfront and requires monthly maintenance to keep it interesting and up-to-date. For that reason, it is important to check with staff and board members to make sure you have the resources (money, staff time, and staff expertise) to proceed.

Online giving is one form of fund-raising over the Internet that is becoming increasingly popular. There are several varieties including:

  • Electronic fund transfers. Once a donor gives written authorization, credit card or checking account information is put into the organization's database. The information is relayed to a processing company that ensures that there is enough money in the donor's account to cover the pledge and then transfers the pledge. Cost of installation of this system ranges from $1500 to $2000, and transactions are typically $2-$4.
  • Giving sites. In these "philanthropy portal" Web sites, donors can make gifts to a number of organizations all on one Web site. Visitors also find out about volunteer opportunities with the organization, so this a great way to recruit more volunteers as well. However, the research has shown that these Web sites bring in fewer donations than your organization's own Web site.
  • e-commerce. These sites gather together a number of retailers and donate to charity part of the proceeds from customers shopping online. Typically, about 5% of the proceeds go the charity. If you choose this option, your organization should be careful in picking the right Web site and consider the retailers and audience involved and the type of publicity your organization will receive.
  • Online charity auctions. Many nonprofits are turning to this strategy, after seeing the success of other online auction sites. You can sell more items of varying prices, and the auction can last for a longer time and attract more people.

As these techniques of fund-raising are relatively new and donors still have safety concerns, online giving has not become a major source of funding for many organizations. Still, these options are worth considering because they are likely to become more lucrative in the future.

Citation: See Resources, Works Cited #23

Additional Resources on Online Giving

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