To the Point: Online Fundraising in Six Easy Steps
3. Buy some software.
Next, you need software to raise money online. Now, don't panic. Creating the technology infrastructure for online fundraising is relatively straightforward. Just be sure to do your research and talk to your colleagues about their experiences. First, you need an e-mail service provider. An ESP allows you to create, send and evaluate the effectiveness of your e-mail fundraising effort. There are rules about sending bulk e-mail, so choose a vendor carefully. In particular, be sure to use an ESP that has relationships with the different Internet service providers to ensure that your messages get delivered.
Next, you need a donation-processing tool, like Network for Good's DonateNow, which will allow you to accept credit card donations on your Web site. It also gives donors the assurance they need that their credit card information is secure. There is variability in the cost and functionality of both of these tools. To learn which tool best fits your budget and needs, visit Idealware.org.
4. Determine your evaluation protocol.
To justify your investment in an online fundraising program, you want to have a method for evaluating success. Here are some metrics you might want to track to assess whether or not your program is working: number of donations received, number of dollars raised, open rates, clickthrough rates and bounce rates.
5. Put it in someone's job description.
It may sound obvious, but unless you have a person or team dedicated to managing and executing your online fundraising program, you're unlikely to succeed. Determine a workflow for every campaign, and be sure that the key steps in the process are assigned to a member(s) of your team.
6. Fix your Web site.
Just as you would clean your house before inviting guests for dinner, you should clean up your Web site before starting an online fundraising program. Think about it. Your Web site is the first thing your prospects see before deciding to donate because you direct them there! Make sure your site is clean, i.e., isn't cluttered with a list of every program success you've ever had or every press release you've ever written. In addition, make sure it's obvious how to make a donation to your organization. (Think big and colorful donate buttons!) For more on best practices, visit fundraising123. org/article/four-steps-more-donations.