Online Giving vs. Online Fundraising
This month’s topic — understanding the difference between online giving and online fundraising — is one of my favorite subjects! If I ever meet you at dinner party, don’t get me started …
In the beginning: Online giving
For many fundraising organizations, the first step to becoming digital is to create a Web site. Think of this Web site as the public lobby to your digital organization. A few questions: Is it tidy? Is it inviting? Is there a friendly receptionist?
After you complete your Web site, you’ll soon feel the pressure to change it. Most of my clients have told me that they plan to redo their Web sites in 2009. They only advice I provide here is to create your Web site using technology that is easy to change. It’s not going to be very dynamic if you have to call a computer programmer each time you want to modify it. Simple, inexpensive tools like WordPress.org are surprisingly powerful.
What fundraising organization’s lobby would be complete without a place to make a donation? Similarly, your Web site should have a quick and easy way to make a donation to your cause. Start with simple, inexpensive portal solutions like Network For Good in the U.S. and CanadaHelps.org in Canada, and upgrade from there once your needs become more complex.
It surprises me how hard some Web sites make it to leave a gift. In your lobby would you hide the stack of donation forms behind the plant? Of course not, you’d place them prominently on the front desk. Perform this test: Find someone who has never been to your Web site. Ask him to make a $10 donation online. Then observe, use a stopwatch and count how many clicks it takes. I’m willing to bet you’ll be surprised by the result.