NET GAIN Make Donors Feel at Home on Your Homepage
By HARRY GRUBER
The philanthropic playing field has become increasingly competitive, and many nonprofits struggle to earn their fair share of charitable giving. Instead of just soliciting donors, today's savvy organizations partner with them to generate gifts and, ideally, lifelong giving.
Smoothing the playing field requires an ongoing affinity between the donor and the cause. This type
of experience escalates an individual from basic involvement to having a strong emotional connection that results in taking action to provide financial or volunteer support. The Internet increasingly has become a powerful tool to harness that connection and empower your organization, allowing it to provide instant feedback, communicate frequently and make its communications targeted and personal — three elements essential to create a positive donor/organization relationship.
One of the main reasons donors fail to move from casual involvement with an organization to a more involved relationship is that bad interactions with the organization keep them from experiencing the emotional fulfillment of giving.
Maybe their past donations weren't appropriately acknowledged, for example. It's imperative that donors know quickly and with certainty that their gift was received — and are continuously reminded of its impact. This is one area where the Internet can help enhance your relationship with donors.
Let's say a donor has been mailing a donation of $25 each year for several years, and then one day makes a $100 donation online. If he continues to receive a mailed request for his annual $25 donation — with no acknowledgement of his online contribution — he might fail to feel connected to the organization because it seems like it's not connected to him.
A better scenario would be that an online donation instantly is followed by a thank-you e-mail, informing the donor how the gift will be used and its social impact.