Three Keys to Online Ease
May 9, 2006
By Abny Santicola, editor, FS Advisor
A major fundraising event held in memory of a famous author and newspaper advice columnist provided the genesis of an online fundraising program at the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, an organization devoted to funding myeloma-specific research.
In order to support online donations for its September 2002 Ann Landers Race for Research in Chicago (held in memory of Landers, who died from the disease), the organization added a "Donate Now" button to its Web site. A promotional campaign through direct mail and e-mails to those people whose e-mail addresses were in MMRF's database helped drum up support. Between September 2002 and December 2002, the organization raised about $21,000 online for the event.
MMRF's online donations grew from $68,000 in 2002 to $154,000 in 2004. And then went up again in 2005 to $200,000. Scott Santarella, executive director and CAO of the organization, credits MMRF's marketing push with the success. "We would send e-mails out as reminders to people for our annual appeals, for Mother's Day, for memorial donations, for events, whatever we had happening. We began to attach all of our promotional pieces with the opportunity for people to go on the Web site and donate electronically," he says.
The top three keys to the organization's success include the following:
1) Strong database. Santarella says MMRF's database has 125,000 contacts, 75 percent of whom it has e-mail addresses for, which makes keeping in contact with them easier.
2) Donor education. MMRF has focused on educating donors that they can donate online, especially for memorial donations, which Santarella says drive online giving.
3) In touch with technology. "The nature of our organization has been one where we've really embraced technology and have, from the very beginning, utilized the Internet as our major mode of communication," Santarella says. The organization sends out an e-mail newsletter once a week, in addition to e-mail blasts for events and programs in different parts of the country.
"It's really been a combination of very strong promotional marketing efforts and an education of our database -- that it's safe to donate online, and it's a real efficient way to donate," he adds.
The organization does corporate dinner auction events, and Santarella says he hopes to incorporate auctions into MMRF's online fundraising.
Scott Santarella can be reached via www.multiplemyeloma.org.