A Blast From the Past: TuDiabetes.org Builds Support Through Community (February 2010)
FundRaising Success published its first issue in November 2003, which makes this our 10-year anniversary year. To celebrate, we'll be taking a look back at past issues throughout the year.
In 2007, an enterprising guy named Manny Hernandez launched TuDiabetes.org on the Ning platform to provide a way for diabetics to connect with peers. (Hernandez was diagnosed with diabetes in 2002.) In 2008, he founded and currently leads the Diabetes Hands Foundation — the nonprofit behind the community. Today, TuDiabetes.org (aka TuDiabetes.com) has more than 10,000 members connecting on a multitude of topics.
Hernandez spent significant time customizing Ning to meet his community's needs — turning on and off features, adapting the design, and more. The result is a site that doesn't feel generic. In fact, Hernandez learned so much he even authored the book "Ning for Dummies" (John Wiley and Sons, 2009).
So how does a small, grassroots organization raise money with this networking thing again? The site's homepage has at least three "above the fold" ways to donate and occasionally features the classic fundraising thermometer highlighting specific initiatives. Many of these donating options are built in to the site's masthead so they follow you wherever you go in the site. They follow most of the best practices for online fundraising — running campaigns, using banners, contrasting colors for donate buttons and more.
Sarah Durham is president of Big Duck, a New York City-based branding, marketing and fundraising firm for nonprofits. She serves on the boards of the National Brain Tumor Society and the New York Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).