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Unlocking Fundraising Online -- 11 Keys

Not long ago a friend wrote, "I need some decent information about non-profit fund raising over the web. I'm sure it's a good idea sometime in the future, but when? We are now taking donations by credit card, but not significantly. Lots of people are visiting our site, up to 4,000 a day. A couple of people a day "register" or sign up to receive our newsletter or be on an e-mail list. Are we doing something wrong?"

I took another look at the website in question. It had attractive graphics and was seemingly well organized. But I couldn't find any place to make a donation, online or otherwise! I might have missed it. I did about twice the hunting most folks would do (which is not much!).

I wrote back and offered the basics for obtaining e-donations. (Click here to be added to our free newsletter e-mailing list)

Before you talk about donations, it's important that your website overall have a human face. People give to people.. Add photos of people to your site that are a fixed size so that they can easily be changed every 3-6 weeks. Keep the photos small and colorful, with lots of different faces.

Add two forms to your site, an online poll and a feedback form. Don't require e-mail addresses from either one. The poll will help you track the interest level in your site and give people a reason to return and view the results. The feedback form will let folks know that you're interested in "hearing," not just in "telling" or "getting."

Make your donations option easy to find. Preferably you will have a button or some kind of link to the donations option accessable from every page on your website.

Make clear what you are asking on the donations button/link (eg. Donate, Join, Membership, Help.) When asking for $$ be bold and direct, not "Oh, by the way, as long as you're joining, you might consider giving."

Raise Capital Funds Using The Internet

On the giving page, focus on why people should give in one sentence or slogan. It should be a "people" need, not an "organization" need. The more pressing the need is, the better. ("Help now to raise $5,000 so that these kids can ________ ). The more urgent the need, the more successful your on-line donations will be.

Provide pre-set $$ amounts from which to choose. Let people press the button of their choice to select a donation of $25 - $35 - $50 - $100 or whatever the best range for your organization is.

Be sure donating is entirely online and automatic. If you don't have the resources to build your own online giving option, there are a couple of excellent packages you can purchase at a reasonable price that can just drop into your web site.

If you are doing an event with lots of PR, make sure the media folks know the need, the urgency, and the opportunity to give online. This is VERY important and will help bring in new donors.

E-mail all of your supporters to invite them to see the new rollout of your new site when it's ready with lots of images of people. But even more important, ask your contacts to tell or e-mail someone else about the site and encourage that person to visit. Be sure the new site includes items 1 - 6 and don't launch until it does. (You can't declare another rollout just because you've redone the presentation of the Giving opportunity.)

Don't expect immediate results. It takes 6-12 months of effort to acclimate an organization and/or its donors and/or web visitor prospects to online giving.

Whenever you get a gift on-line, try to create a human connection out of it. Follow up every gift with an e-mail thank you, and more! Every gift on-line giver should also receive a personal phone call that is, literally, "Just to say thanks." And that means collecting phone numbers, or researching them.
For more information or assistance contact
Marc Lee at 877.320.2299 (toll free).

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