Focus On: E-philanthropy: Upping Your E-appeal
Are you making the most of the Internet? If your organization is like many nonprofits, it might be time to rethink your online strategy.
Instead of thinking of the Internet as a sideline area rife with additional expenses and hassles, “all nonprofits should be thinking of it as a core tool,” according to Sheeraz Haji, CEO of GetActive Software in Berkeley, Calif.
This can be a major leap of faith when, for most nonprofits, online fundraising still represents a very small portion of revenue. Nick Allen, president of Donordigital, a San Francisco-based online fundraising agency, estimates that online fundraising might account for only 1 percent to 4 percent of an organization’s donations.
“But,” he says, “it’s doubling every year,” adding that that trend will continue as more Americans get broadband access.
“[Online fundraising is] another way to approach the donor,” he says. “Use it to increase response to other channels.”
But, Allen adds, “Be realistic about adding online. … Local social-services organizations should not expect to raise any significant money online, but they should still have a presence. At a minimum, everyone should have a Web site and an e-mail newsletter.”
“The immediacy of e-mail is its greatest asset to fundraisers,” asserts consultant Karen Gedney, of Karen Gedney Communications Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y. “You can respond immediately to news events with an e-appeal.”
Gedney has done copywriting for some recent e-mail campaigns for the International Fund for Animal Welfare and recounts how two news-based appeals “got a great response.” In the first case, an e-mail was tied to hit just when a story about the relocation of 24 Bengal tigers in New Jersey made national news. In the second case, Gedney says, “We sent an e-appeal right after The New York Times ran a front-page story on the cruelty of the Canadian harp seal hunt. You could never do this before with direct mail — by the time the donor received your package, it would be old news.”