Debunking Five Myths of Online Fundraising
If we look at the places individuals visit online every day, their favorite charity is probably not among them. However, they do visit their employers’ Web sites and they might take action for a nonprofit their company supports. They likely edit their personal pages or blogs every day, and they’ll even publish about a cause that inspires them. They also visit their friends’ blogs and personal pages, and may post, e-mail chat or tweet about their favorite charity.
The individuals engaged in these conversations include some of your strongest, most vocal advocates, and each of them is willing to evangelize your organization’s mission. They have established bonds of trust with their personal networks. Why, then, would you ask them to leave a site they trust and go donate on yours? If they’re willing to evangelize for you, they also might be willing to host a donation form for you. So, why not take the donation form to where the conversation is already happening?
Airline ticket sales provide a helpful reference for this point. It is possible to buy tickets on an airline’s Web site, but it is more common to buy them from one of many “portals,” such as Expedia.com. Millions of people buy their tickets on travel sites because they have an existing affinity for those specific sites. Airlines don’t care where people buy their tickets, so long as they’re being sold.
Similarly, you can reach out to your network of supporting organizations, partners or even the personal sites of individual advocates and turn them into donation engines for your organization. The coming year is an opportune time to look beyond your Web site and consider how you can more effectively leverage the broader Web to build new relationships and increase online giving.
Myth No. 4: Technology is not the problem.
Most online fundraising tools have a few things in common: They’re expensive, they’re difficult to deploy, it’s hard to change anything once deployed and they only work on a single Web site. Because of this, many nonprofits have extremely limited online efforts. As discussed earlier, organizations then mistakenly “blame” poor results on their marketing programs — or even on the donors themselves.