From Buttons to Blogs
When you assess the sophistication, innovation and e-commerce prowess of Web sites in the nonprofit sector, it’s hard to accept the fact that e-giving accounts for only 1 percent to 2 percent of all funds raised by U.S. charities.
Not so long ago, online fundraising simply meant being able to accept credit card donations through a Web interface.
But nonprofits realized, with the help of sister direct-mail fundraising practitioners and Web-marketing innovators, that people won’t give unless they’re asked. And so charities started building … and building … and building: content-rich Web sites fit with action centers (to voice opinions to elected officials), e-stores (to purchase branded merchandise) and fully equipped donation pages (to pledge gifts safely and easily).
Direct mail, telemarketing and special events, among other means of fundraising, are still largely outperforming e-mail. But most nonprofits have discovered a few interesting things.
First, online donors are younger than those of direct mail, and they’re more likely to volunteer and take action on behalf of your organization than are older contributors. Secondly, the average donation is consistently and markedly higher online than via other channels, ranging anywhere from $35 to $120 depending on the campaign.
Lastly, with e-mail newsletters and action alerts, charities are proactively stewarding “supporters” — those coveted individuals who are interested in your organization’s work, but aren’t quite ready to give — long before they ever think about donating.
Here, in this special cover story, you’ll find stories of your colleagues navigating the seemingly uncharted territory that is nonprofit fundraising on the Web. After reading about them, please drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us about your own successes — and failures.
AGED TO PERFECTION
Faith-based charity finds funds and cadre of young donors online.
Not surprisingly, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has relied heavily on direct-mail- responsive older donors since its foundation in 1983. What is surprising is how many younger donors it’s found online simply by overhauling its Web site and launching an e-mail outreach campaign.