Fundraising Online --
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
I wrote back and offered the basics for obtaining e-donations.
to be added to our free newsletter e-mailing list)
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.
Before you talk about donations,
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
When asking for $$ be bold and direct, not "Oh, by
the way, as long as you're joining, you might consider giving."
Make clear what you are
asking on the donations button/link (eg. Donate, Join, Membership,
focus on why people should give in one
sentence or slogan. It should be a "people" need, not an "organization"
need. The more pressing the need is, the better. ("Help now to raise
$5,000 so that these kids can ________ ). The more urgent the need,
the more successful your on-line donations will be.
On the giving page,
Provide pre-set $$ 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
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
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
For more information or assistance contact
Marc Lee at 877.320.2299 (toll free).
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